Back to School: College Moving Checklist

  • What you want to have for starting/going back to college (taking the current time/situation into consideration)
  • Might have to work from dorm room
  • Good desk, chair, laptop, lamp (all important for working remotely)
  • Subject to lockdowns on campus
  • How to create your own workspace in a dorm

For students heading back to college the past few years, it was pretty easy to know what to expect. Freshman knew that they had to stock up on all the essentials while being limited to the shared two-person room and communal bathroom. Returning students might have made the change of upgrading from a dorm to an apartment, seeking out hand-me-down furniture or making trips to IKEA. There would probably be some planning with parents, and bribery of siblings and roommates to help get moved in, and then students wouldn’t have to worry about moving out until the end of the school year.

However, 2020 turned out a little different than expected. The outbreak of COVID-19 brought uncertainty into all education systems. The end of the 2019-2020 school year saw the introduction of COVID-19, and the dismissal of students and professors from campus, classes moving online, and graduations either being cancelled or going virtual.

Now in July, administrations are still working on their plans for the 2020-2021 school year. Rising freshman, who in the past would be spending their final summer before college excited and eagerly looking forward to moving on campus, now may be just as anxious as they were waiting for their acceptance letters. As of now, many colleges have still not released a timeline for students moving into or returning to campus for the fall. Students need to prepare for the possibility of further social distancing orders, quarantining at school if sick, fewer in-person class offerings, or completely returning home to transition back into online learning.

At TNT Moving Systems, we understand that the 2020 fall semester is going to be different for everyone, but planning ahead will ensure that you are prepared to succeed no matter how COVID-19 shapes the school year. We wanted to help students prepare for the upcoming school year with a COVID-proof, college move-in checklist that’s good to go whether you’re moving back into your college apartment, are a freshman heading into your first dorm, or taking on a hybrid semester of remote and in-person learning.


Dorm Checklist

Due to limited space in dorms and college apartments, roommates typically work together to limit unnecessary overlap of items brought into shared spaces. With the pandemic, you may want to re-consider what items should be shared or kept personal to limit the spread of germs.


Bedroom Supplies

  • Under-the-bed storage trays
  • Storage bins
  • Small refrigerator
  • Microwave
  • Desk storage
  • Hangers
  • Curtains and rod
  • Desk lamp
  • Trashcan and bags
  • Bed risers
  • Over-the-door storage hanger
  • Bulletin board and push pins
  • Dry-erase wall calendar or board
  • Portable fan
  • Clock
  • Closet organizer


Linens & Laundry Supplies

  • Sheets and pillow cases (2 sets)
  • Towels (3 of each – bath, hand, and face)
  • Pillows
  • Mattress pad
  • Comforter
  • Blankets
  • Throw blanket
  • Laundry basket
  • Laundry detergent, stain remover, fabric softener
  • Delicates laundry bag
  • Lint brush
  • Mini sewing kit


Kitchen Supplies

  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee mugs
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Plastic cups
  • Dish soap
  • Scrubber and sponges
  • Small dish towels
  • Foil
  • Paper towels
  • Disposable forks and spoons
  • Small silverware set
  • Can opener
  • Oven mitt
  • Pot & pan
  • Bowl, plate, and cups
  • Ziplock bags
  • All purpose cleaner
  • Food storage containers


Health & Toiletries

  • Antacids
  • Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Aspirin
  • Cold/cough medicine
  • Vitamins
  • Bandages/antibiotic ointment
  • Cough drops
  • Shower caddy
  • Shower shoes/flip-flops)
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Hairstyling products
  • Bath and face soap
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Dental floss
  • Brush and comb
  • Hairstyling products
  • Hairstyling devices
  • Razors and shaving cream
  • Lotion
  • Face moisturizer
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Toilet paper


Personal & Miscellaneous Items

It’s more important than ever to ensure that you have everything you need in case of an emergency. Keep your valuable belongings like emergency contacts, medical insurance information, and ID’s in a safe, but accessible space. It’s also a good idea to take photos with your phone of your ID’s like your driver’s license and your medical insurance cards in case they are lost or misplaced.

  • Umbrella
  • Small toolkit
  • Weekend bag
  • Car registration & insurance
  • Medical insurance card
  • Driver’s license
  • Student ID
  • Social security card
  • Debit and credit card
  • Emergency contacts
  • Bicycle
  • Bike lock
  • Combination lock
  • Safety pins
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Adhesive hooks


Basic food list

Many schools are planning to implement more to-go and delivery options to students, and limit close-contact, seated dining options. For students with dining plans and without, it’s important to have snacks and food options in your room. Fresh fruit and vegetables are great to have on hand, but will spoil over a two-week period, and if you have a meal plan, these are typically things you can snag from a dining hall instead. With the possibility of having to quarantine at school, we recommend that you stock up on non-perishable foods that will last.

  • Canned goods like soups, fruits, beans
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Frozen foods
  • Popcorn
  • Chips
  • Sodas
  • Bottled water
  • Electrolyte-based liquids like Pedialyte or Gatorade
  • Cereal
  • Granola bars
  • Condiments
  • Juice boxes
  • Peanut butter or almond butter
  • Bread
  • Fruit snacks


Remote Learning in the Dorm

Although some colleges plan to return physically in the fall, classes may be susceptible to quarantine periods in the case that a teacher or student is exposed to COVID-19, or administrations implement stricter distancing rules. In either case, ensuring you have the right equipment to learn online is vital.



  • Laptop
  • Monitor
  • Noise-cancelling earphones
  • HDMI cord
  • Ethernet cord
  • Extension cord
  • Wireless mouse
  • Printer
  • Multi-port USB charger
  • High quality webcam


School supplies

  • Backpack
  • Agenda/planner
  • Pens
  • Loose-leaf notebook paper
  • Printer paper
  • Pencils and pens
  • Binders
  • Folders
  • Paperclips
  • Sticky notes
  • Highlighters
  • Ruler
  • Calculator
  • Stapler & staples
  • Dry erase markers
  • Index cards
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Whiteout
  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Hole punch


Be Prepared for Quarantine in a College Dorm or Apartment

In addition to your essential college packing list, this year you’re going to want to ensure that if you or a roommate contract COVID, or if your college implements remote learning that you’re prepared.

It’s recommended that you have at least 2 weeks of these supplies on hand. Stocking up for an entire semester might be impossible due to limited space, and it can lead to an overall shortage if every student attempts the same. Many items are still in high demand and low stock, so for those students in small college towns, trying to find these items at the wiped-out, local Walmart during move-in week might be difficult. You may want to seek out those items gradually before the move-in date.

Also, be mindful of your access to a personal car or public transportation. If you don’t bring a car to school and rely on public transportation, it might be worth taking advantage of the first move-in date to get big items like toilet paper and paper towels in your dorm room, and ensuring you have a stock of food ready to go if you’re unable to leave your dorm. Every student’s situation can vary, so knowing what you need and assessing each week will be important.


For health and safety:

The CDC recommends wearing a face covering in all public settings. You may want to have a supply of washable, reusable masks, as well as disposable masks, and ensure that you keep them easily accessible in your bag, backpack, and room.

Keep at least a 14-day supply of items that you use daily to clean and disinfect your home. It’s also recommended that you have personal health equipment on hand to track your temperature and manage the illness.

  • Reusable masks
  • Disposable masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Clorox/Disinfecting wipes
  • Lysol spray
  • Tissues
  • Thermometer
  • Oxygen meter
  • Prescriptions for 14-30 days
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Feminine products


For learning from home:

Getting work done during a pandemic is tough in general. Learning how to handle coursework online, meet with professors via Zoom, and studying for classes all in the same space, room, and desk, full-time plus living, sleeping, and possibly socializing all in the same space? That’s an impressive feat!

Students everywhere are navigating this new norm. After completing the last half of the spring semester remotely, students probably have a good grasp on what they need to succeed. Here are some recommendations for ensuring that you can get your work done comfortably, even if you can’t designate a workspace separate from your personal room.

  • Adjustable laptop stand or lap desk

The ease of moving your workstation from a desk, to the floor, bed, or couch  can make it easier to spice up your work day. A lap desk is light, small, and provides enough room typically for your laptop and a mouse, and can be found at big box stores or online for $15-$30. An adjustable laptop stand angles the position of your laptop to reduce eye strain, headaches, and bad posture, as well as increase available space on your desk for a keyboard or notebooks. Some of these stands also include extra laptop ports and cable organization. On the lower price end, these typically run around $40-$60.

  • Ergonomic desk chair

Some dorm rooms and furnished apartments come with a desk and chair. If you can’t sit in that provided desk chair for 3 hours comfortably, and your access to study spaces either in the dorm or the library may be limited due to COVID, then you will want to invest in a nice chair.

  • Blue light blocking glasses

All learning may go remote, and you don’t want to strain your eyes. Blue light blocking glasses reduce the strain on your eyes from electronic devices. If universities go online or reduce in-person meetings, this may mean more

  • Curtain rod

If you’re a lover of black-out curtains to attain the perfect sleep, then ensure you install a curtain rod over your window instead of taping up curtains. Bright, natural light for the daytime will help establish routine, and bring the outdoors inside, even if you have to work mainly from your room.


For entertainment:

The upcoming school year could very well equate to more time spent in the dorm or socially distanced, so keep yourself occupied and find creative ways to have fun.

  • Envelopes
  • Stamps
  • Craft supplies
  • Board games and puzzles
  • TV
  • Video games
  • Books
  • Compact additional seating (futon, bean bag, pouf, padded bench)
  • Hammock
  • Sports equipment
  • Weights


Preparing for a lockdown on campus with roommates

In addition to having all of your essential supplies on hand, you will also want to develop a game plan with your roommates, neighbors, and family. The CDC has a list of guidelines to help you prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak. In summary, you should:

  • Take preventative actions such as washing your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Disinfect and clean surfaces, shared objects, and high-frequency touched places like door or fridge handles
  • Stay at least 6 feet from other people
  • Wear a face mask when you go out in public
  • Take more precaution with those at a higher risk for severe illness (such as those with underlying medical conditions like asthma or lupus)
  • Be prepared for possible illness and choose a room that can be used to separate and quarantine the ill person
  • Know how to care for a sick household member or for yourself, and know when to quarantine
  • Have an emergency contact list for each member of the household
  • Stay informed about local COVID-19 activity from public health officials and school administrations
  • Know your on-campus resources so that you readily have access to information, health services, and other support

The CDC has also released guidelines specifically towards households living in close quarters. For college roommates, these guidelines might help you organize roles in the dorm room, such as electing a non-vulnerable roommate to be the essential errands runner.


TNT Moving Systems: Wishing You A Safe, Healthy, and Rewarding 2020-2021 School Year

To upcoming freshman and returning students: the fall 2020 semester may be uncertain, but your pursuit of higher education is valid and important, and we wish all of you a safe, healthy, and successful school year.

Contact TNT Moving Systems today for help with your next move at 704-523-1455.

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