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How to Prepare for College: The Perfect Dorm Packing List for Girls

Do you have a daughter heading to college? This dorm packing list for girls includes everything she needs for an organized and stylish space. Help her prepare for this exciting milestone.

We’ve helped all of our Simply2Moms kiddos prepare for their first year of college.

And believe us there was a big difference between our boys and girls.

Both of us helped our boys get ready for college dorm life first and found it kinda hard because they didn’t seem to care as much.

With our oldest, we were trying to balance giving them space with the urge to go skipping through the aisles of Walmart with them buying everything in sight.

But with our girls…now that’s when we started having a little more fun because our girls were planners.

They made their own shopping lists on Amazon that they shared with us.

And sent us TikToks of the latest must-have college dorm room necessities.

I think both guys and girls are nervous and excited and apprehensive and just not sure exactly what they really actually need.

Then they deal with all those feelings in different ways.

Our boys avoided preparing for college and our girls over-prepared.

However, you may find the opposite is true of your student as we’ve experienced.

But we moms have to stick together and help each other!

And today we’re going to help you get your child ready for this bittersweet milestone!

One of the most important things you can do to help her transition to college is to help her pack.

There are so many things to think about, and you want to make sure she has everything she needs to feel comfortable and confident in her new space.

That’s why we’ve put together the perfect college packing list for girls.

We even have a free printable PDF packing list to help keep you organized!

Some of the items used in this post include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no added cost to you. You can read our full affiliate disclosure policy here.

What Should Girls Pack for College?

student standing in front of dorm room on move in day

Girls tend to want to bring a ton of stuff with them to their new home away from home.

As we all know college dorm rooms are notoriously small.

You want her to be comfortable but also make sure that everything fits in the limited space she has.

Before you go shopping or order anything online check with your student’s college to see what’s included in their dorm rooms, as well as anything that isn’t allowed.

You can usually find the dimensions of the dorm room as well as the furniture provided on the college website.

This information is really helpful to know ahead of making any purchases.

Your student can also coordinate with roommates for things that may be shared in their room.

A refrigerator, microwave, TV, area rug, vacuum, and extra seating are items that she probably can share the cost of with a roommate.

This guide is just that…it’s a guide.

You know your daughter best and as with any checklist, modifications can be made based on what your student prefers.

We want you to be able to help your daughter make sure she has a comfortable and stress-free start to her college experience.

How Many Clothes Will Girls Need to Pack for College Life?

small college dorm closet with hanging organizers for shoes and clothing

How many clothes your daughter needs depends on a lot of different things.

But remember if the rooms are small so are the closets.

If your student is an athlete or likes to work out she’ll need clothing and equipment for that.

Is she joining a sorority? If so, then she’ll need dressier outfits. Possibly even formal don’t sell that prom dress just yet!

She will need to determine what types of clothing to bring.

However, she may not need her winter clothes just yet.

My daughter started with a couple of hoodies and light jackets and then packed sweaters and her heavier gear to take back to campus after fall and Thanksgiving break.

student sorting clothing into bins on floor

Using organizers in closets and drawers is a great idea to make the best use of space.

We found these organizers were great for clothing:

What Do You Need to Organize a Girl’s Dorm Room?

cubby storage cube shelf with bins next to a rolling cart for storage in a small room

In a small space it’s so important to be organized otherwise your student will be living in chaos all year.

I shared my best tips for organizing a dorm room, when Gavin, my middle son, lived in an extra small room!

Girls may have a few extra needs. LOL

If possible purchase items that are multipurpose like shelves or carts that can also be used as a bedside table.

These are some of our favorite organizing items for gals:

Get our complete printable packing list here so you can check it off as you shop and pack.

How to Decorate a Girl’s Dorm Room

girl sitting on bed looking at photos while hanging collage on dorm wall

You want your daughter to feel comfortable in her new space so bringing a few decor items from her room at home is an excellent idea.

Another way to decorate a girl’s dorm room is with photos of family and friends.

Just be sure to check with housing about the best way to hang any wall decor because you don’t want to pay a damage fee at the end of the year.

There are lots of lightweight wall decor ideas such as posters, flags, tapestries, LED lights, or even removable wallpaper.

girls room with photos of raised bed next to window

Students spend lots of time in their rooms so why not make them as cozy as possible?

Since the bed is the biggest furniture piece in a small room make it a feature with pretty bedding, throw blankets, and pillows.

Lots of activities happen in these spaces from hanging out with friends to studying to eating and sleeping.

Other ways to make a girl’s dorm room stylish and comfortable are:

Anne’s daughter came up with a super cute boho look for her college apartment and lots of her ideas would work great in a dorm room too!

Here are some more ideas for making a small dorm room feel cozy and more like home.

What Bathroom Essentials Should You Pack for College?

vanity area in college dorm room on move in day

Before getting bathroom items you’ll need to figure out what style bathroom your daughter will have in her dorm.

Some dorms have suite-style rooms with a bathroom that’s shared with suitemates.

Others are set up more traditionally with a hallway-style bathroom area that a bunch of rooms share.

And some lucky freshmen get a single with their own bathroom.

Once you know the type of bathroom then be sure to check out if your daughter will need a shower curtain and hooks or any other necessities that are not provided by the school.

Here’s a list of bathroom things she’ll need:

In addition to their toiletries, we both put together a first aid kit/medicine chest with everything they might need.

Get more details about what to include in a portable first aid kit here.

What Bedding Must Haves Do You Need in a Dorm Room?

raised bed with white bedding and long dust ruffle in college dorm room

College students spend a lot of time on their beds.

Not only do they sleep there but they study, read, or watch tv on their beds too since their dorm rooms leave little space for those other activities.

All of our Simply2Moms kids agreed making sure your bed is comfortable is super important.

Those dorm mattresses aren’t the best quality so don’t skip any of these must-have items to make your daughter’s bed cozy:

Extra Items Girls Will Appreciate Having for College

tower fan, refrigerator with coffee station on top and garbage can in college room

Small dorm rooms tend to get stuffy so having a fan is really helpful.

Tower fans are great because they take up little floor space or a clip-on fan would be fantastic too. (see what I did there?) LOL

A power strip surge protector is a must-have because college students have lots of electronics in one tiny room.

An overnight duffel bag is convenient for weekend trips home or visiting friends.

Having the right supplies is the key to making sure life in the dorms is comfortable and organized.

Other Dorm Room Supplies: Kitchen, Laundry, Cleaning

corner of room styled with shelf system over mini fridge and microwave

Most freshmen are required to get a meal plan and eat in the cafeteria or other places on campus.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t want to make a quick meal while studying or grab breakfast on the go.

Depending on the space in your daughter’s dorm, you might also want to set up a small kitchen space using this inexpensive hack.

Here are some other dorm supplies that may be needed:

School Supplies Needed for College

dorm room desk decorated and organized

We recommend holding off on getting any school supplies other than their laptop until they’ve attended their first classes.

Professors are notorious for changing textbooks from what’s listed on the class syllabus.

Ask us how we know.

I may have spent $700 on books for my first son before he started classes his freshman year only to find out he only used one of them!

Here is a list of school supplies to buy before classes begin:

We’ve included some common school supplies in our free printable PDF packing list, but every student and college is different when it comes to this category.

Preparing for college can be overwhelming, but with this packing list, you can help set your daughter up for success and create a comfortable living space that reflects her style and personality.

Now that you have everything you need for her dorm, be sure to check out all our tips to make move-in day go smoothly and don’t forget to get these move-in day essentials.

Resources and Shopping Links

Visit our Amazon Storefront Dorm Shopping List for all our favorites for a college dorm.

Or for specific items, shop from the images below.

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Click on any image to shop items from this post

collage of product images girls need for college

Sources: refillable dish wand | plugin air freshener | storage bags | garbage can | cosmetic organizer | bed rest pillow | dorm cleaning kit | box fan | set of slim hangers | plastic dishware set | silverware set with caddy | shower shoes | memory foam mattress topper | hamper | twin xl comforter set | throw blanket | fabric drawer rolling cart

collage of must have product images for girls dorm room

Sources: 3-tier metal rolling cart | extra long bed skirt | mattress protector | power strip surge protector | stick vacuum | desk drawer organizers | shower caddy | laundry kit | over-the-door hook | weekly planner | desk lamp | overnight duffel bag | twin xl sheets | desk vanity mirror | towel set | command hooks | dresser drawer organizers | Brita water dispenser

Happy packing! Please share our packing tips with friends and family who are also getting ready for college.

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!

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Stacy Ling

Friday 21st of July 2023

Wow what a helpful list!


Friday 21st of July 2023

Thanks for checking it out!


Friday 21st of July 2023

You have been bringing back so many memories with my two sons.

I am happy my son who is a Professor doesn’t do that book change. He gets what stress it adds to the kids.

You forgot the kitchen sink🤣


Friday 21st of July 2023

It's funny how different it was packing for our girls! And please send our thanks on to your husband for not changing those books. Have a great weekend!

Rachel Harper

Friday 21st of July 2023

So many great tips. I’ll pass along a link on Sunday.


Friday 21st of July 2023

Thanks so much, Rachel!