University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Packing & Move-In Checklist

Packing & Move-In Checklist

You got the acceptance letter, now get all the dorm gear you require to make your first year a success!

Here you'll find a curated list of college-ready items to pack for campus moving day based on your college's official recommendations. We've also included items from other schools' suggestions and expert advice we've compiled from around the web. All of our recommendations are based on a balance between quality and value.

The checkmark next to an item indicates that it is included as an official recommendation from your school.

All Items Official Items Extra Items Expand All

Laptops

ASUS ROG
Power User (Windows)

Powerful laptops aren't just for gaming. If you're a computer science, engineering, or math major, then you'll need the extra power these machine provides. This ASUS laptop packs ridiculous power into a thin frame. Six-cores and 8GB of dedicated graphics card memory will have your simulations, CAD, and machine learning algorithms humming along. There are a few different buying options, so here's a link to the series.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says...

Meets minimum specs for first year students

Power User (Mac)

Macs are known for their performance when working with graphics and video. If you're an art, visual graphics, or design student, you're likely going to need the extra power that the MacBook Pro provides. These are great for keeping you connected to all your Apple devices and won't leave you short when it comes to working with the large photo and video files.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says...

Meets minimum specs for first year students

Standard User (Windows)

If you're like most students, you need a computer that lets you write papers, submit assignments, browse, stream and work on group projects. If that sounds like you, then a Lenova Yoga series laptop is probably what you're looking for. These consistently get high ratings for college students. The touch-screen is nice for group projects when people are reaching over your shoulder to show you something. Make sure you keep the weight down because you'll be taking it everywhere. Probably the most important thing that many people forget is the importance of a Solid State Drive (SSD) - this is what lets your computer boot up so fast. This series will fit your basic laptop needs. There are some different buying options, so here's a list to a few solutions.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says...

Meets minimum specs for first year students

Standard User (Mac)

If you have an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and you love all things Apple but only need a laptop for basic browsing, submitting assignments, email, and watching videos, then a MacBook Air is probably what you're looking for. Keep in mind that universities sometimes require software that may not be compatible with Macs. Most of the time, they'll have work-arounds but it's best to check with the school if you're thinking about an Apple.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says...

Meets minimum specs for first year students

Electronics Stuff

Power Strip
Electronics Essentials

This Electronics Connections Starter Pack gets all your devices connected. WiFi is great, but during midterms and finals everyone on campus is using the same WiFi making it slow to a crawl. Having ethernet connections makes sure you can get your work done - make sure to buy an ethernet cable for each item you need (laptop, gaming system, smart TV).

  • Laptop Cable Lock
  • Power Strip / Surge Protector
  • Ethernet
  • HDMI
  • Extension Cord
  • Coaxial

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says...

Power outlet strip with surge and
cord fire protection

Roll over image to zoom in HP DeskJet 3755 Compact All-in-One Wireless Printer with Mobile Printing, HP Instant Ink & Amazon Dash Replenishment ready - Stone Accent
Printer

With limited space in a dorm, you need a printer with a small foot print. There are smaller printers than this one, but this also has the ability to scan and copy. Having a scanner can be a life saver when your parents ask you to sign some paperwork and send it back to them. This printer is both wireless and includes a USB cable if your dorm doesn't allow wireless printing.

Monitor

You'll want a laptop so you can carry your machine with you to class, labs, the library or study groups. So you may not need a monitor, but extending your laptop display to a second monitor is nice when working between multiple programs.

Noise Canceling Headphones

College is a noisy place! There's no way around that - people screaming through the halls, shouting outside your window, there's always something loud going on. Noise canceling can help you keep the craziness out while you go to your quiet place. Noise canceling headphone reviews can be contentious... people are really passionate about these things. There are very expensive brands, and if you can afford $350-$400 for headphones, then check those brands. But the Cowin E7 and E7 Pro have over 10,000 reviews on Amazon with a score over 4 stars. That's really good! They won't be perfect, but at one-quarter the cost of the designer brands, these are a great option for a college student.

Flash Drive

There are lots of options for storing files on the cloud - your school might even have dedicated storage. But there is something to be said for having your files physically in your hand. Professors don't like to hear that you didn't finish your paper because the WiFi was down. This 128 GB drive should be adequate for most students' needs but if you're a graphic / image / video major, you may want to consider upgrading to more memory or even consider an external hard drive.

Portable Charger

Portable chargers are one of those things that you don't think about until you need one. This one has enough juice to power multiple times and has lots of excellent reviews.

Printer paper

You're printer won't do any good without some printer paper - and this is a lot cheaper than printing in the media center.

Wireless Mouse

A laptop mouse gives you more control over your interface with your laptop. This mouse works with Mac and Windows through Bluetooth and the battery lasts 24 months - you'll be half-way through college by the time you need a new battery!

Network Switch

Your room might only have one or two ethernet connections. If you want to connect your laptop, your gaming system and your smart TV, then you'll need a network switch. This switch allows you to connect four devices to the hardline network. Most campuses don't allow Wireless routers so this might be your only option for sharing network.

External Hard Drive

An external hard drive isn't for everyone, but if you plan on taking a lot of programming, graphic design, video editing, or computer aided design(CAD) courses, then you might want to think about getting one. It's easier to have an external hard drive and smaller laptop. If you try to get a huge drive on your laptop, it'll end up being really heavy.

Gaming System

Video games are a fun way to spend some down time. But Time Management is the most important skill you need at college - so don't get sucked into playing too much.

Classroom Stuff

Pens
Classroom Essentials

This Classroom Starter Pack has everything you need to succeed in the classroom - well... you'll still need to show up, pay attention, work hard and all that... but these essentials will help you on the way.

  • Calculator
  • Pens
  • Mechanical Pencils (with refills)
  • Highlighters
  • Colored Pencils
  • Notebooks
  • Binders (with filler paper)
  • Index Cards
  • Permanent Markers
  • Stapler
  • Scissors
  • Loose Leaf
  • Sticky Notes
  • Three Hole Punch
Laptop Backpack

Backpacks are essential. There are a lot of styles and purposes out there. Make sure you select on that is water proof - you'll find yourself on the way to class when the skies open up. Also, you'll be carrying your laptop most places you go, so make sure the backpack is designed for your size laptop. Here is one with over 5,000 reviews and a score over 4 stars. It's a good option - waterproof, has a lock and fits a laptop under 17" - but your backpack will be with your wherever you go so spend some time thinking about what you want!

General Dorm Stuff

Game Night Essentials

Yeah we know you're there to get an education... but it's important to kick-back and laugh in between study sessions. This Game Night Starter Pack has some ideas for ways to bond over pizza and soda (pop).

Rug
Area Rug

Dorm floors can get cold! An area rug will help keep your feet warm. They also prevent that echo sound in an empty room. Find a rug that reflects your style! Check your particular room for the size that fits - it will most likely be 6x9 or 8x10.

Black-Out Curtains

Campuses can be very bright at night and you'll need a dark room to get some rest for that early exam. These curtains black-out the light and give you the darkness you need to get your beauty rest!

Lampat LED Desk Lamp, Dimmable LED Table Lamp Black, 4 Lighting Modes, 5-Level Dimmer, Touch-Sensitive Control Panel, 1-Hour Auto Timer, 5V/2A USB Charging Port)
Desk Lamp

With limited desk space, your lamp needs to take as little space as possible. It's also important to have a dimmable light so your late night study sessions don't keep up your roommate.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says...

must be single-bulb and not halogen

Desktop Fan

It's going to get hot in your dorm. This will keep things cool.

Bionaire BW2300-N Twin Reversible Airflow Window Fan with Remote Control
Window Fan

If you don't have air conditioning, a window fan is a must. Even if you do have AC, you may want to let the springtime air into your stale dorm room. This fan can exhaust and intake, making it perfect for cooling or just circulating air.

Samsung Electronics UN32N5300AFXZA 32" 1080p Smart LED TV (2018), Black
Television

You can't fit a big screen into that tiny dorm room. A 32" will be good enough for all your friends to binge watch your favorite series or lay waste to them during a weekend long video game saga. The thing to look for with TVs is that it's a 'Smart' because you want to have access to your TV apps directly - you don't want to occupy your laptop with casting. There's nothing wrong with watching GoT while writing that term paper - we won't judge!

Dry Erase Board

This dry erase board is great for keeping track of long term assignments, grocery lists, notes for your roommate or reminding yourself to call your parents.

Electronic Photo Album

Bring your family and friends to college with you - at least their photos and videos. This album plays both video and photo and can use a USB or memory card.

Gift Card Essentials

Gift cards are a great option for college students. When you get cash, it just seems to disappear without even realizing what you spend it on. Having gift cards will make sure you spend that money on what you really want!

Wall Fasteners

If you want to hang anything on your walls, you'll need these. This variety pack will get anything you have up onto your wall. Cover it from top to bottom!

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says...

Non-damaging, temporary
adhesive for posters and wall art

Curtain Rod and Curtain for Closet

A curtain (and rod) for your closet is a great way to hide away things right before your parents show up and ask if your dorm is neat.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says...

For Hinton James, Craige,
Ehringhaus, Avery, Parker
and Teague.

Laptop Board

Laptop boards are great for sitting in bed and working on your laptop. This one has a wrist rest and place to put your phone and mouse.

Bedroom Stuff

iHome iBT29BC Bluetooth Color Changing Dual Alarm Clock FM Radio with USB Charging and Speakerphone
Alarm Clock

This alarm clock is perfect for getting you out of bed for your 8 o'clock. It has FM radio so you can listen to the campus station and Bluetooth for streaming from your phone. Add a charging port for your phone and this little guy has everything you need, plus you can customize the color to match your room décor.

LEPOWER Clip on Light/Clip on Lamp/Light Color Changeable/Night Light Clip on for Desk, Bed Headboard and Computers (Silver)
Bed Lamp

You're going to need to read in bed... it's going to happen. When it does, you'll want to make sure you have a dimmable light so that you don't keep everyone awake. This one has two light settings and two dimming settings and is flexible enough to reach around your pillow!

Bedding

You're going to spend a lot of time in your bed - studying, reading, sleeping, playing on your phone. So make sure you get a comfortable bed set. Your bedding is the first thing people will notice when they walk in your room so let your personality shine here! Here's a link to a search that gives lots of ideas for bedding sets. The set you select should have everything you need (fitted sheet, flat sheet, quilt or duvet cover, pillow covers, etc.).

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says...

Sheets for Twin XL (mattress size
is 80” long, 36” wide, 6” deep)

Blanket

An extra blanket can keep you warm during all night winter study sessions. Everyone's style is different but here's a link to a variety of blankets and throws.

SafeRest Twin Size Premium Hypoallergenic Waterproof Mattress Protector - Vinyl Free
Mattress Pad

Don't think of a mattress pad as saving the mattress from you, think of it as saving you from everyone who came before you! This will let you fall asleep without worrying about what you're laying on.

Bed Risers

Bed risers can help you get more storage under your bed (check out our Campus Arrival Storage Essentials for some under-bed storage solutions). These are basic but get the job done.

Bedside Table

You're going to spend a lot of time in your bed - reading, doing homework, playing on your phone. This little table attaches to your bedside giving you a place to put things so they don't get lost in your covers and then flung across the room when you throw the covers up trying to find them.

Kitchen Stuff

Dorm Kitchen Essentials

You probably won't get lucky enough to find yourself in a college apartment, so you'll only need the very basics for heating / re-heating small meals. This Dorm Kitchen Starter Pack has you covered.

  • Travel Mug
  • Salad / Cereal Bowls
  • Plastic Cups
  • Plastic Reusable Containers (Microwave Safe)
  • Flatware / Silverware
  • Plates / Soup Bowls (Microwave Safe)
  • Plastic Storage Bags
  • Water Pitcher w/ Filter
  • Collapsible Colander
  • Can Opener
  • Scrubbing Sponge
Apartment Kitchen Essentials

This Apartment Kitchen Starter Pack has everything you need if you're lucky enough to have a kitchen in your college apartment. You may want to consider a meal delivery service - they're reasonably priced and take the hassle out of figuring out dinner.

  • Travel Mug
  • Salad / Cereal Bowls
  • Plastic Cups
  • Plastic Reusable Containers (Microwave Safe)
  • Pots & Pans
  • Flatware / Silverware
  • Plates / Soup Bowls (Microwave Safe)
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Knives
  • Plastic Storage Bags
  • Water Pitcher w/ Filter
  • Collapsible Colander
  • Can Opener
  • Scrubbing Sponge
Snack Essentials

You'll need some tasty distractions to keep you going. Here are some ideas for you to keep your energy up while reading through your notes late at night.

Toshiba EM925A5A-SS Microwave Oven with Sound on/Off Eco Mode and LED Lighting, 0.9 cu. ft, Stainless Steel
Microwave

This microwave is small enough to fit comfortably in your dorm room. The most important thing about this microwave - you can turn the beeping sounds off. Which doesn't sound like a big deal until you're trying to make midnight popcorn while your roommate is sleeping with a midterm the next day! It's the little things.

Haier 3.2 cu ft Refrigerator, Stainless Steel 2-Door for Dorm, Garage, Camper, Gameroom, Basement or Office with Separate Freezer Compartment for Cold Food Storage and Frozen Meals
Refrigerator

This fridge has lots of space for it's little size. The thing to look for with dorm refrigerators is the separate door for frozen items. The single door models won't keep your frozen dinners cold. And most important... you can fit a 12" pizza box in there!

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says...

Max size: 2’ X 3’ X 1’ or 6 cubic feet

Coffee Maker

The dining hall has coffee, but it's all the way across campus... you need coffee now! Most schools allow Keurig machines in residence halls because they don't have an exposed heating element. But even if a Keurig is not explicitly prohibited, it's a good idea to ask a residence expert if you are allowed to bring them. And once you get the go-ahead, don't forget to load up on K-Cups.

Water Bottle

Your school should definitely have a water refilling station near your room. If not, ask why they don't! You can get anything from economy Nalgene bottles to designer vacuum sealed. Here's a list of some well reviewed reusable water bottles. Helpful hint - customize your water bottle by adding stickers!

Bathroom Stuff

Medical Supplies Essentials

You're gonna wake up some days not feeling 100%. On those days, it's good to have some supplies to get you back on your feet so you don't miss too many lectures and assignments.

  • Thermometer
  • First Aid Kit
  • Ibuprofen
  • Antacid
  • Cold Medicine
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment
  • Bandages
  • Acetaminophen
  • Facial Tissue (Kleenex)
Toiletries Essentials

Don't forget your toiletries. Everyone likes different smells and flavors so we don't have any product recommendations. But here's a list of toiletry kits that will give you an idea of the kinds of things you need to remember along with some other bathroom essentials.

  • Toiletry Kits (shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, razor, shaving cream, comb, toothpaste, lotion, cotton swabs, chapstick, floss, mouthwash, etc)
  • Hand Towels
  • Nail Care Kit
  • Brush
  • Loofah / Sponge Poof
  • Plunger / Cleaner

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says...

Wash cloths, Personal toiletries

Toiletries Travel Bag

This bag will let you bring toiletries form home and keep them organized hanging in your closet.

Haundry Mesh Shower Caddy Tote, Portable College Dorm Shower Caddy Bag 8 Large Pockets Camping Gym Bathroom
Shower Caddy

You definitely want a mesh shower caddy - don't even bother with the hard ones! This will dry quick. This is also big enough to fit everything you need (including a towel). It comes in Pink, White, Blue, Light Blue and Black.

Towels

It can be cold in the winter walking from the bathroom back to your room, so why not splurge a little and get these extra soft and warm towels. They come in a variety of colors, but one thing to remember is that if you want to use bleach to get your towels extra clean then you may want to consider white.

Bathrobe

It's going to be cold walking back from the showers to your dorm room. A robe will help keep you warm. Plus... there's something just plain cool about robes.

Shower Flip Flops

Dorm showers are nasty! You need flip flops to keep the funk off your soles.

Cleaning & Organization Stuff

Laundry Essentials

This Laundry Starter Pack has everything you need to keep your roommate from using nose plugs whenever you walk in. Don't forget the drying rack for hanging things that don't get quite dry and you don't want to fork over another dollar. Also, you're probably going to need a sewing kit at some point - pick it up now to avoid being in a tight spot when your button falls.

  • Laundry Pods
  • Stain Remover
  • Air Freshener
  • Clothes Drying Rack
  • Mini Iron
  • Travel Ironing Pad
  • Hangers
  • Sewing Kit
  • Hamper

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says...

hangers, iron and ironing board, laundry bag and detergent

Storage Essentials

Living in a dorm means that you have limited space. Staying organized is a must! This Storage Starter Pack has everything you need to stay organized and keep sanity in your dorm room.

  • Duffel bag for road trips or bringing dirty clothes home
  • Under Bed Storage (Plastic)
  • Under Bed Storage (Soft)
  • Under Bed Storage (Shoes)
  • Vertical Shelves for Closet
  • Lock for Gym Locker
  • Reusable Grocery Bags
  • Stacking Drawers
Cleaning Essentials

This Cleaning Supplies Starter Pack has items that college students need to keep their dorm clean... at least functionally clean.

  • Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
  • Windex Wipes
  • Kleenex Tissues
  • Dustpan / Brush
  • Waste Basket (and liner bags)
  • Dish Soap
  • Paper Towels
  • Air Freshener
  • Convenient dusters

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says...

Wastepaper basket,
plastic liners

Vacuum

You will make a mess - there's no way around that. But with this little vacuum you can get back to that term paper quickly. Cordless (wall hanging) vacuums are too expensive for what the average student needs. This is a perfect compromise on size, versatility and price. Plus, it has a spinning brush to get the nasty crumbs out of your rug!

Shark Steam Pocket Mop Hard Floor Cleaner with Swivel Steering XL Water Tank (S3501)
Steam Cleaner

If you're a bit of a neat-freak and the idea of germs crawling around on your floor bugs you out, then this steam cleaner is for you. It's small and simple but kills all those nasties without any harsh chemicals

Portable Safe

Don't leave your room unlocked! But if you want some extra security, a small safe is a good place to store all your important docs and cash. Plus if you go to the quad, gym or volleyball court, you can take this small safe along to keep your phone and wallet safe.

Cosco Shifter 300-Pound Capacity Multi-Position Heavy Duty Folding Hand Truck and Dolly, Green
Hand Truck / Dolly

If you already have a hand truck, you can skip this item - just remember to pack it. If you don't have one, these are very handy when moving all your gear from the parking lot to your room, and don't rely on the college provided bins... those get gobbled up like candy!

Outdoor Stuff

Outdoor Essentials

What's that large, bright object in the sky? You really need to get out of the library / dorm / lab and get some Vitamin D. This Outdoor Starter Pack has some great ideas for outdoor games and other essentials (like sunscreen).

  • Hand Warmers
  • Volleyball
  • Sports Disc (Frisbee)
  • Insect Repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Yard Pong
  • Cornhole
  • Hacky Sacks
  • Soccer Ball
Bike

Having a bike can be nice for trekking across campus. When you're late for class and need to get there quick - it can be a life-saver. Bikes come in a variety of styles and qualities - here's a link that will help you start your search. One thing to keep in mind... while they look a little peculiar, you can carry a 'folding' bike and take it up to your dorm room with you. It might make you sleep better at night knowing your ride is safe under your bed.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says...

Remember your helmet

Bike Lock

If you're taking a bike to college, you need to have a bike lock. Bike locks are dependent on your bike size and style. Most blogs recommend a D Lock, so keep that in mind. Also, many companies offer a warranty on your bike if it gets stolen, so look for that too but be sure to read the fine print on any warranties.

Outdoor Blanket

Great for hanging out on the quad or having a weekend picnic at a local park.

Soft Cooler

A soft cooler is great for taking snacks to the quad for some chill time. Also great for planning that tailgating party.

Foldable Chair

Take your seat with you! Perfect for hanging outside or taking to a tailgate.

SY COMPACT Travel Umbrella - Lightweight Portable Mini Compact Umbrellas-Factory Outlet Shop
Umbrella

The things to look for in umbrellas are the closed size (so it fits in your backpack), the number of ribs (so it holds up to the windy days), and the open size (so it covers your backpack too). This umbrella has extra ribs which provide extra support while also giving more coverage. It comes in a variety of colors too.

Flashlight

You're phone has a flashlight - but is it really bright enough to walk you home along the dark sidewalks and trails around campus? Plus, save your battery for texting and social media.

Beach Towels

Beach towels are good for going to the pool and laying out on the grass. Everyone likes different styles of beach towels but here's a link to a variety that is pretty standard.

Stuff to Upgrade & Refresh

Charging Block

You're gonna lose your charging block. These can be used for any phone, so it's a good idea to have a couple extras lying around.

Cell Phone (Apple)

Maybe it's time to upgrade your iPhone. You're going to be using it a lot while you're at college.

Charging Cable (Apple)

"Where's my charging cable?!?!" - Yeah, you need a back-up... or two.

Cell Phone (Android)

Even if it's not time to re-up your cell plan, it might be a good time to upgrade your phone. You'll be using it a lot.

Charging Cable (Android)

"Where's my charging cable?!?!" - Yeah, you need a back-up... or two.

Jacket

Don't forget a jacket. If it gets cold, bring a heavy winter jacket. Here's a link to some rain jackets because you'll be walking around campus a lot and you don't want to get soaked.

Casual Pants

You'll being wearing a lot of jeans - you might want to get a couple extra pairs.

Shoes

Even if you aren't planning on playing any sports or going to the gym, you're going to be walking a lot. You'll need a new pair of comfortable shoes. Also, depending on how much rain your campus gets, you may want to invest in a pair of rain boots.

Socks & Underwear

Your nasty socks and underwear look like swiss cheese and are barely holding together. Get some new stuff - who knows who'll see you while in your underwear.

Pillows

Your current pillows have drool stains and are completely flat. Get some fresh one.

Pride Stuff

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

You got into UNC, now it's time to show your pride. Here's a collection of T-shirts, hoodies, hats... even socks. Show your family and friends where you're headed.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Start tagging everything you own with your school logo - maybe even some things you don't own. Watch out Mom's SUV!

You can also pick-up mugs, blankets, cups, lanyards... however you want to show your pride.

Prohibited Items

UNC Specifically Prohibited Items:
  • No candles, incense, fireworks, weapons
  • No crockpots, instant pots or electric griddles
  • No halogen lamps or multi-bulb lamps
  • No pets except fish
  • No two-prong household extension cords - only three-prong extension cords are permitted
  • No items with exposed heating elements, such as hotplates or toaster ovens. Standard toasters are OK.
  • No items that exceed 1000 watts of usage.
  • No masking tape or products that damage paint or wall surfaces
  • You may not bring your own air conditioner. All rooms have either central AC or an air conditioner.
  • No self-built lofts. The beds provided can be lofted or bunked in most rooms and do not require any additional hardware. You may want to bring your own rubber mallet to help assemble.
The following items are generally prohibited on college campuses. Confirm with your school the status of these and any other items.
  • Space heaters & air conditioners
  • Hot plates, deep fryers, & toaster ovens
  • Water beds
  • Weightlifting equipment
  • Halogen lamps & oil lamps
  • Candles & incense
  • Weapons such as rifles, handguns, and knives
  • Cigarettes, e-cigs, & hookahs
  • Thermometers containing mercury
  • Chemicals such as propane, charcoal, gasoline, paint thinner, and lighter fluid
  • Fireworks & firecrackers
  • Pets & live plants
  • Hover boards
  • Swimming pools & hot tubs

Sources

Last updated on August 14, 2019. Recommendations are made based on official university guidelines and expert advice but may become outdated. Please consult university website for the most up-to-date guidelines before making a purchase. Commissions may be earned on qualifying purchases.
Report a mistake or suggest a new item.

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