back-to-school.jpgAlthough it’s not time to pack up the sunscreen just yet, back to school has officially kicked off and it’s time to start prepping backpacks, lunch kits, and packing up your school supplies.

Buying all the gear you need for school can be stressful enough, but if you’re heading to University or College this fall, it can be overwhelming trying to get a handle on everything you need to get all at once.

That’s why having a central back to school or back to campus list is so important. Whether you’re moving into your first shared apartment or you’re heading for the dorm, there are must-haves you should pick up to make sure you’re new living quarters are both comfortable and feel like home.

Here’s a back to school checklist with all the products you’ll need if you’re heading to a campus near you this fall.


Sleep is important for so many reasons. With a good night’s sleep you’ll think better, feel better, and have more energy for activities other than studying. That’s why your new college or apartment bedroom should be at the top of your list when it comes to buying supplies for your new living space.

Even if you’re sharing a dorm or apartment with a friend or roommate, you’ll need these items to make your sleeping space your own.

Bedding and accessories

For your bed you’ll need the following:

Comforter or duvet

You can also opt for a bed in a bag to get bed sheets and comforter in one.

Pillows and pillow protectors

Cozy pillows help you get a better sleep.

Mattress Topper or Mattress Pad

If you’re staying in a dorm, the mattress may not be as comfortable as you’d like. Bring along a mattress topper or plush mattress pad and your bed will feel much better.

Sheet Sets

It’s recommended that you bring along at least 2 sheet sets: one to use and one to change to when your first sets need a wash.

Extra blanket

Wrapping yourself in an extra blanket can keep you cozy when you’re studying.

Sleep Mask

If you have a roommate that needs to get up before you do or you just want to block out the world, a sleep mask is a must have.

desk-organizer.jpgYour desk area

Having a well-organized desk is important in a dorm room or apartment. It’s your dedicated place to do projects or study, so you need to be sure you have everything you need in that one spot.

Desk Lamp

When you’re burning the midnight oil, a task lamp is important for staying focused.

Desk organizer

If the normal state of your desk is piles of papers, you’ll want a desk organizer to keep your important papers right where you need them.

Bulletin board

A bulletin board can hold your favourite photos, reminders, and other bits and pieces from your year.

Stationary and supplies

Pens, pencils, and note paper—you’ll need a little bit of everything to stock your desk.


If you’re in a small room in an apartment and you’re sharing your living space or you’re in a tiny dorm room, you will need to worry about storage space. Having the right storage keeps all of your clutter at bay.

Storage ottoman

Ottomans keep extra blankets, pillows or papers together in one well-hidden spot.

Wall Storage

A mirror that doubles as wall storage? The Grayson wall storage unit from Nexxt is great for a dorm or apartment.

Coat rack

If you don’t have a closet, a coat rack will hold all of your sweaters and jackets right by the door.


Odds are you’ll be sharing a bathroom with someone else during your time at school, so you may want to prepare by packing a bathroom bag full of things you’ll need for a shower.

Towels and washcloths

Bring a set of soft fluffy towels to your dorm or apartment and you’ll be able to wrap up and stay cozy after a brisk wake up shower.

Shavers and groomers

Pack a portable shaver or trimmer and you’ll always look your best.

Electric toothbrush

A dentist bill in the middle of a busy school year isn’t something anyone wants to have, so keep your teeth pearly white and healthy by brining along an electric toothbrush.


A communal bathroom means you’ll need a robe to wear when you go to and from your room.

Bathroom scale

Stay on top of your fitness program by bringing a scale along to school.

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A lot of what you bring along to your new kitchen will depend on whether you’re sharing or creating a kitchen in a dorm room or if you have to set up an entirely new kitchen in an apartment. Take a look at Stacey’s post on ‘What appliances should I bring along to my dorm room?’ for an idea of everything kitchen you should bring to the dorm. If you’re setting up an apartment kitchen, you may also want to bring:

Mugs, dishware, and cutlery

Paper plates are great in a pinch, but when you’re settling in, you’ll want your own dishes, cutlery, and mugs.

Pots and pans

You can’t cook unless you have pots and pans, so bringing along two pots and a frying pan is essential.

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Room décor

It might be last on the list, but room décor is what makes your dorm room or shared apartment cozy and feel just like home.

Area rug

You may end up with hardwood floor or vinyl under your toes every morning, so warm up with an area rug.


One task light does not a home make, so make sure you bring along an extra lamp or two.

Wall Clock

I highly recommend bringing along a wall clock. If you’re used to looking up for the time, you’ll appreciate having that touch of home.


Put at least one mirror on the wall of your dorm room or apartment and you’ll open up the space and give you a chance to check yourself out before you leave.

If you have this checklist handy when it’s time to shop online or head out for supplies, you’ll never have to worry you’ll forget something before you head off to school this fall.

For more on how to prepare for back to school, take a look at these topics.

What appliances should I bring to my dorm room?
My favourite appliances for back to school
The best laptops for back to school

Shelly Wutke

By , Editor Appliances and Home & Lifestyle

From blenders to laptop computers, I like to take everything I write and put a personal spin on it. As a Vancouver freelancer for 5 years, I’ve written for the Globe & Mail, The Vancouver Province, Chicken Soup for the Soul (grab your hanky, that one is a tear jerker), and on too many websites to list. My personal website is at and if you like Twitter, come find me and chat at @kidswap. 

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag