What to Bring with you to School

Not sure what you will need during your first year here at Iowa? Don’t worry, we have you covered! This list will help you figure out just what you will need for your first year living on campus.

Keep in mind, however, that you will (most likely) be sharing the room with someone else, so think small! Also, you may want to communicate with your future roommate to decide who will bring what shared items (for instance, the refrigerator, TV, and futon).

PDF iconPrintable Ultimate Packing List

The Essentials:

  • Appropriate clothing—think in terms of a number of items of lighter clothing, which can be layered as it gets colder and shed as it warms up. Bring hats, gloves, and boots for winter.
  • Academic supplies (backpack, pens, notebooks, etc.)
  • Alarm clock
  • Bathrobe, shower shoes, and a small bucket for carrying toiletries
  • Bedding: blankets, pillows, and sheets (all beds require extra-long sheets, 36" x 80"). Please visit the UH&D-endorsed linen program.
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Clothes hangers
  • Cable TV cord (if bringing a TV)
  • Desk lamp
  • Fan
  • Flashlight
  • Laundry basket/bag, detergent, and supplies
  • Towels, washcloths, and toiletry items
  • Toiletries (shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, etc)

Useful, But Not Essential

  • Picture frames, bulletin board, calendar, posters
  • Futon for extra seating
  • Ethernet cords
  • Video game systems
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Computer, laptop or tablet
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Refrigerator (not to exceed five cubic feet and nine amps. No personal refrigerators needed in Mayflower or any room with supplied kitchen). For information on renting a refrigerator and microwave from an independent company, please visit the Micro Fridge rental program.
  • Select small appliances 
  • Bicycles and/or moped/motorcycle/motorized vehicle

Not Allowed:

  • Alcohol, alcohol containers
  • Candles, incense, toaster ovens, or grills
  • Firearms, fireworks, or explosives
  • Halogen lamps (all styles)
  • Pets, except fish
  • Space heaters
  • Illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia

Electrical Appliances in Your Room

All appliances must be in good working order. Do not overload electrical outlets with adapters or extension cords. All extension cords must be UL approved. Rooms are not wired to permit the use of any large electrical appliances including room air conditioners (unless supplied by the university), large refrigerators (over five cubic feet and/or drawing more than 9 amps), space heaters, etc. Halogen lamps are also prohibited. For safety reasons, we recommend using only appliances with an auto shut-off feature.


The university does not provide insurance for student belongings. Students and/or their parents should consult their current homeowner's policy to determine if a student's belongings are covered through a current policy. A renter's insurance policy can be purchased as part of a homeowner's policy or you can purchase insurance through companies specializing in property insurance for college students.

The university does not assume any liability for loss, damage, or theft to the personal property of the resident, except as may be caused by negligent acts of its employees. If you believe that a loss was due to negligent acts, contact your area coordinator.SaveSave