Preparing to move into a college dorm is often overwhelming. However, knowing what to bring beforehand can help you prepare better. Narrowing your options to the essentials ensure that you have everything you need, but you avoid packing things you don't need that take up space.

Basics

Bring basic items from home.
Bring basic items from home.

You typically need most of your personal items from your bedroom and bathroom, but with a few college twists for your dorm room. These items include an alarm clock, clothes hangers, towels and toiletries. Include a shower caddy for carrying toiletries back and forth to the shower, as well as shower shoes. A first-aid kit, sewing kit and flashlight all are useful in case of emergencies.

Furnishings

Items should provide comfort and optimize space.
Items should provide comfort and optimize space.

The typical dorm room has limited space, so finding furnishings that provide comfort without occupying too much space is key. Bean bag chairs and a pullout couch, depending on the layout of your dorm room, optimize both space and comfort. Remember to bring a bedspread, blanket, mattress pad, pillows, surge protectors, wastebasket, curtains, television and an electric fan. Including a plant can make your room feel more homey by adding a personal touch.

Snacking

Microwaves are often allowed in dorm rooms.
Microwaves are often allowed in dorm rooms.

You'll also need options for eating and snacking in your dorm room. Basic cookware such as plastic plates, utensils, mugs and cups, plus a can opener help. A small microwave oven can contribute to dorm room meals, and a mini-fridge can provide for late night snacking. However, be aware of cookware that your dorm may not allow. According to the University of South Carolina Move In Guide for 2010-2011, hot plates and electric fry pans are not allowed.

Studying

Useful study items are must-haves for a dorm room.
Useful study items are must-haves for a dorm room.

As a college student, you'll want to ensure you have items for optimized studying close at hand in your dorm room. These items include note pads, pens, pencils, paper and a backpack. Calendars and planners help with organization, and a message board is useful for writing down reminders of upcoming assignments.