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To bring or not to bring…we’ll help answer that question.
You and your roommate should connect on how to set up your room and what things you’re planning to share. After that? What to bring and how to make the space your own is really up to you! 
What Not to Bring

Residence Halls

Room Set up

There are a few basic things that we have seen students bring over the years to help their room feel like home.

  • Desk lamp/clip-on bed lamp – or both! Lamps are perfect for a shared space.
  • Fan – window fan or clip fan
  • Seating – many roommates plan to bring a futon, chairs, small couch or some type of seating to set up their room. Remember, what goes in does have to come out.
  • Surge protectors (UL approved) with a long cord.
  • Storage – storing containers under futons, ottomans with storage, storage crates – all of those things that can pull double duty work great in a shared space.
  • Microwave
  • Refrigerator (no larger than 4.6 cubic feet)
  • Rug – a 5×7 or 8×10 are the most common sizes. A doormat is also a great idea, especially in the winter!
  • Headphones – perfect for music and gaming when you don’t want to disturb others
  • Decor – our walls are your canvas – just make sure to use non-damage hanging strips! Plants are also a great way to add color to a space.
  • TV 

Bed and Bath

  • Bathroom basics – if you use something every day at home, you should bring it 
  • Bedding – pillows, blankets, sheets (XL twin), mattress pad
  • Shower caddy and shower shoes/flip flops
  • Toilet paper (suites only)
  • Towels and washcloths


Iowa has all four seasons – sometimes in the same week! Plan your wardrobe knowing you’ll need both warm and cold-weather clothing. Think about storage space, when you plan to go back home (great chance to switch out clothes for the seasons) and what you’ll need on a daily basis. In addition to your favorite clothes, here are a few things that might be helpful:

  • Robe – perfect for walking down the hall after you shower
  • Hangers – Every room has hanging space but hangers are not provided.
  • Slippers
  • Mittens, hat, scarf and boots 
  • Workout clothes including a swim suit – campus has some great pools!
  • A nice outfit or two for presentations, formal events, career fairs and interviews
  • Iron/steamer 
  • Laundry supplies – basket/bag, HE detergent, stain remover and anything else you typically use at home


All halls (except Wallace and Wilson) require a meal plan and ISU Dining’s food is completely awesome! But, it doesn’t hurt to have a few essentials on hand for late-night study sessions.

  • Basic utensils – fork, knife, spoon, bowl, cup, plate, mug
  • Can opener
  • Zip-top bags or small food storage containers for snacking on the go
  • Appliances – anything without an open flame is allowed. Toasters, toaster ovens, coffee makers, popcorn machines and other small appliances are all good. The full list of what is not allowed can be found here: 


Our custodians clean bathrooms every weekday (except in suites) and also keep dens and hallways clean. Cleaning your room is up to you and your roommate. Vacuums and other cleaning tools can be checked out from your hall desk. It’s also a good idea to have basic cleaning supplies for your room.

  • Dishwashing supplies – dish soap, sponge, dish towel
  • Cleaning supplies – basic wipes/cleaner for dusting and wiping down hard surfaces
  • Small vacuum if you do vacuum frequently
  • Small trash bags

Other Stuff that might be handy

  • School supplies – folders, notebooks, calculator, planner, computer, pens, pencils, highlighters, stapler, paperclips, sticky notes – things you’d typically use when you study
  • Bike helmet and lock if you plan to bring a bike
  • Documents – license, social security card, medical insurance forms, financial aid forms, vehicle registration if you bring a car and warranty information associated with electronics
  • First-aid kit
  • Tool kit – some tools are available for check out at your hall desk
  • Umbrella
  • Flashlight


Many of the things above also apply to apartments. Frederiksen is fully furnished and most SUV units are not. The apartment life will typically require a few more items than the halls:

  • Vacuum and mop
  • Bathroom cleaning supplies and toilet brush
  • Cooking supplies – pots, pans, hot pads, knives, cutting boards, etc
  • Dishwasher detergent/pods (Frederiksen)
  • Full-size trash bags for the kitchen
  • Common area furniture (in SUV unfurnished)
Living in a hall? Check out this video for a few ideas on what to bring.