Home Decorating The Must-Have Back-to-School Shopping Checklist

The Must-Have Back-to-School Shopping Checklist

The back-to-school shopping blitz is in full swing, and the multitude of choices for décor and necessities is dizzying. To keep yourself on track while shopping—and to prevent yourself from overspending—Annie has put together this handy, printable checklist you can use to make sure you’re dorm-ready with a few stops or clicks of the mouse.


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An allergy-blocking mattress protector. Trust us on this one: you’ll want to minimize contact with a mattress that hundreds of people have snored on before you or your kid.


A mattress pad for comfort on those old, lumpy school-issue mattresses.


A Continental pillowwhich Annie considers the perfect back, shoulder, and arm support for reading or studying in bed.


A high-quality, durable down or down-alternative duvet insert.


Two down or down-alternative pillows. Don’t even think about using the ones provided by the university or boarding school. For real.


Two sheet sets; one for the bed and one in the laundry. Annie notes, “Include instructions for how often to wash and rotate the sheets. This might seem simple, but when they’re away from home, students tend not to pay attention to these details.” Before you purchase, make sure the sheets will fit the twin XL beds used in most dorms. Choose any of these sheet sets, and you’re guaranteed a perfect fit.




Two duvet covers, for switching up the look of the room.


One quilt for warmer temperatures and easy wash-and-wear maintenance.


At least one throw for an extra layer of warmth while sleeping, or for cozying up in the afternoon with a favorite book.


A bunch of decorative pillows.  Many students like to push their beds against the wall and line up their pillows along it, for a sofalike effect when entertaining friends. Decorative pillows up the comfort and cuteness factor in a single step.


pouf or floor pillows. “Poufs are a dorm’s best friend,” Annie says. “You can use them as seats, night tables, or a place to drop your tote bag after a long day of classes. Floor pillows are great for when guests come over, and can be stashed under the bed when not in use.”


A cute laundry basket, with durable handles for what we hope will be frequent trips to the laundry room.


Colorful storage bins, for organizing everything from notebooks and desk supplies to electronics, bath essentials, and dorm snacks.


A roomy tote bag packed and ready to go with laundry-night essentials—detergent, stain remover, fabric softener, and coins. Get a tote made of indoor/outdoor materials, and it can double as a gym bag.


runner rug,  if you want to break up your side of the dorm from your roomie’s, or a 4’ x 6’ rug if you want to unify it. We recommend indoor/outdoor rugs  for worry-free maintenance and easy cleaning (check out our tutorial), but if your student is willing to commit to weekly vacuuming and prompt stain removal, anything goes.

Click here to download a printable checklist!

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