If you buy a product or service through the links found on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more about Giving Assistant.

Prep for Move-In Day with Sam’s Club College Dorm Checklist

Prep for Move-In Day with Sam’s Club College Dorm Checklist

January 11, 2024 by Giving Assistant Editorial Team

College and university dorm rooms can be tiny, with most providing roughly 228 square feet of living area. The majority of rooms have a bed and a dresser for each student (a lamp and a trashcan, if you’re lucky). Add in a roommate (or two), and your living quarters just got even smaller. That’s why it’s crucial to make every inch count!

The key to making smaller spaces work is not to overstuff a room—a student can’t bring all of their precious belongings—so it’s best to stick to the items that help create the most comfortable living space for sleeping, studying, and enjoying college life. Sam’s Club is an excellent place to shop and save on back to school and dorm room essentials—it has virtually everything that a student needs to create a personalized home-away-from-home.

What is Sam’s Club?

Sam's club

Sam’s Club is a members-only wholesale club owned and operated by Walmart Inc., serving millions of shoppers through SamsClub.com. It also has roughly 600 locations across the U.S., Puerto Rico, and worldwide (you can find Sam’s Club in Brazil, China, and Mexico!).

How Does Sam’s Club Work?

There’s a way to test drive the shopping experience at Sam’s Club. The good news: Shoppers can create a guest account to shop and complete a purchase online when prompted to sign in at checkout. The bad news: These privileges last for only 24 hours.

You must sign up for one of the following Sam’s Club memberships to enjoy the uninterrupted benefits of shopping online and in-store at Sam’s Club: Standard ($45) or Sam’s Plus ($100).

Both membership levels come with one card (plus one complimentary membership to share with someone in your household). You can also add extra memberships for $40 a year.

Tip: Sign up as a new Sam’s Club member through Giving Assistant and earn 15% cash back.

As you make your college dorm checklist, we recommend adding these 23 must-have items to help make move-in day super smooth:

Sam’s Club Dorm Room Essentials: Bedding & Bath

1. Sheet Set

two sets of sheets and pillowcases

We suggest bringing two sets of sheets and pillowcases to college, so you’ll always have your bed covered when doing laundry. The super-soft, 100% cotton Member’s Mark 450-Thread Count Sheet Set is available in seven colors plus a Chambord print.

Why you’ll like these sheets: Dries faster than conventional options plus patented Flexi-Fit® stretch technology ensures the fitted sheets stay on mattresses, even ones up to 16″ deep.

A set includes one flat sheet, one fitted sheet, and pillowcase(s).

Tip: Double-check the size needed—college beds are generally Twin or Twin XL.

2. Comforter/Bedspread

Comforters lie on top of your bedsheets

Comforters lie on top of your bedsheets and provide warmth as you sleep. Twin and Twin XL bedspreads are ideal for most dorm room beds, and Queen sizes are a fit for twin beds with elevation (some students use bed risers for extra height).

We love the clean lines and color of IZOD Comforter Sets. Our favorites: IZOD Varsity (navy, white, and khaki) and IZOD Classic Stripe (a striped navy, white and red pattern).

Other styles include Buffalo Gray Plaid, Buffalo Blue Plaid, and Chambray Stripe. Each set consists of a bed skirt and sham, plus features planet-friendly, EcoPure™ comforter fill.

3. Throw Blanket

throw blankets

Comforters are for snuggling in bed, while throw blankets are perfect for Netflix marathons, reading at your desk, all-nighter cram sessions, and bonfires. The Member’s Mark Oversized Cozy Throw is ready for relaxation. Its reversible design helps you stay warm and comfortable, with high-pile on one side and super-soft sherpa on the other.

4. Comfy Pillows

two comfortable pillows

College students should have at least two comfortable pillows in their dorm room. We like the Beyond Cool Bed Pillow (2 Pack) for its exclusive cooling moisture management technology and design. It helps regulate body temperature by absorbing heat and releasing it for more comfort.

Ideal for all sleep positions, these jumbo pillows are made with moisture-wicking 300-thread count fabric and TruAlt™ down alternative polyester fiberfill to enhance comfort and support. You can also machine wash and dry these durable pillows with ease, unlike other options.

5. Towel Set

bathroom towels for college

An ideal number of bathroom towels for college is three of each: bath, hand, and face. That’s enough to keep fresh linens on deck that won’t clutter shelf space. The Finesse Zero Twist 100% Cotton 6-Piece Bath Towel Set is excellent for college students since it gets high marks for its durability and high absorbency.

We love that an OEKO-TEX certified factory manufactures these towels, which are “Made in Green,” using sustainable processes under socially responsible working conditions.

6. Shower Totet

communal dorm showers

Bring along a solid pair of shower shoes and this Honey-Can-Do Quick-Dry Shower Tote, and you’re ready to tackle communal dorm showers in style. This organizer’s breathable mesh fabric dries fast and has seven storage pockets to carry your bathroom essentials.

Sam’s Club Electronics for College Life

7. Laptop

lightweight laptop

Computer lab closed? It’s no problem when you have an ultrathin, lightweight laptop, like the ASUS VivoBook (at just 2.6 pounds!), by your side. College students tend to fare better with electronics that travel well, and this model certainly does the trick and so much more!

This high-performance laptop has:

  • A 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor
  • 8GB RAM of memory
  • 512GB of storage
  • Full-size backlit keyboard
  • Up to 10 hours battery life
  • An SSD Fingerprint Reader, and
  • Windows 10 Home (with a free upgrade to Windows 11 when available!)

Hot Microsoft 365 Offer: Purchase this ASUS at Sam’s Club and get 15 months for the price of 12 months on a Microsoft 365 Family subscription, up to six people, with Premium Office apps, 1TB OneDrive cloud storage, and a PC/Mac download.

8. Tablet

Apple iPad Pro

Tablets provide a lightweight convenience when laptops cannot, so if you’re looking for an easy way to take notes in class and record lectures to study later for tests, we recommend the Apple iPad Pro, one of the best note-taking media devices around.

Here are two of the latest models sold at Sam’s Club:

9. Portable File Storage

external hardware

Are USB flash drives still relevant? Yes. Like the PNY Pro Elite 512GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive, those small, portable memory sticks are still heavily used for storage, data back-up, and transferring computer files across multiple devices when e-mails and the cloud won’t do.

In search of a faster way to save, protect, and transfer files? Choose external hardware like the top-rated Seagate One Touch External Hard Drive; it is USB 3.0-compatible and works with Windows and Mac without the need to reformat. It is available in 2TB and 5TB models.

10. Headphones

Bose QC35 Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones

Study in peace and drone out distractions with a pair of Bose QC35 Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones. Highlights include Bluetooth and NFC pairing so you can connect wirelessly to your devices, plus long lithium-ion battery life, up to 20 hours of wireless listening per charge.

Hot Deal: Take $50 off these Bose headphones with Sam’s Club Tech Savings until 8/22.

11. Alarm Clock

Seiko Hudson Everything Alarm Clock

No wires to worry about with the cordless Seiko Hudson Everything Alarm Clock! Two AA batteries (included) power this space-saver. It has two-alarm and dual-light functions plus tells you everything you need to know to start the day off right: the time, date, and temperature.

12. Power Strip/Surge Protector

GE Surge Protector & Outlet Wall Adapter Kit

Like with any small area, power outlets can get scarce (especially if you have a roommate or more), which is why a power strip with surge protection is a must-have for a dorm room. We recommend choosing one that has USB outlets to charge mobile devices, and the GE Surge Protector & Outlet Wall Adapter Kit does not disappoint.

This kit comes with everything you need to stay juiced up: an 8-outlet surge protector with a USB charging dock and a 4-foot braided extension cord, plus a 6-outlet wall adapter kit.

Dorm Room Essentials: Organization

13. Storage Bins

Heavy-duty storage

Heavy-duty storage not only helps you transport your belongings from home to the dorm (and back) but also provides stackable storage space during the school year. We recommend the Tough Box Storage Tote; its snap-it lid has holes for padlocks to secure your possessions.

These storage totes are available in 27-gallon and 48-gallon sizes.

14. Laundry Hamper

Pittsburgh Steelers Collapsible 3-in-1

Laundry bags and hampers are a must for doom rooms to keep dirty clothes and linens out of the way and ready to wash. Logo Chair, Inc. Laundry Hampers function as a hamper and as a trashcan and cooler. Like this Pittsburgh Steelers Collapsible 3-in-1, the brightly colored, college- and pro-team sports logo themes really stand out in a room.

The containers can hold up to 13 gallons and flatten for easy storage.

15. Clothes Hangers

Deluxe Non-Slip Clothes Hangers

You probably won’t need all 60 of these neatfreak Deluxe Non-Slip Clothes Hangers. Still, we can’t resist the durability and nonslip material on the shoulders, pants bar, and accessory bar to keep clothes from falling off and collecting dust at the bottom of a closet. Strong enough to hold heavy garments, coats, and suits, these hangers also have lingerie hooks and a swivel neck.

16. Storage Organizer

Vertical 12-Cubby Shoe Storage Organizer

Storage organizers help maximize the small spaces of dorm rooms. Some hang inside closets and over doors, while the neatfreak Vertical 12-Cubby Shoe Storage Organizer fits nicely in a corner. This one has 12 cubbies for shoe storage and accessories, plus a top shelf for smaller items, like sunglasses and keys. Use the bottom drawer to stow away hats, scarves, and socks.

17. A Travel/Duffel Bag

travel bag

Road trip with the roomies? Nightly gym runs? Home for the holidays? You know what’s essential for all of these excursions: A travel bag like this High Sierra Rossby Convertible Duffel. This bag is made with air mesh and PU coated Recyclex™ fabric created from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and comes with a detachable toiletry kit.

We also love the added convenience of a duffel bag with detachable handles that can seamlessly transform into a backpack with tuck-away straps.

Sam’s Club Dorm Room Décor & More

18. Desk Lamp

smart desk lamp

Cram for exams without disturbing the roomie with a smart desk lamp, like the Lorell Task Light. The adjustable shade can bend forward and up to 180 degrees, so you can easily change the direction of its shine. The light has a dimming switch and three brightness levels, plus a device slot and a USB charging port at the rear of the lamp base to keep your devices fully charged.

19. Full-Length Mirror

full-length, freestanding mirror

Before heading to class, give yourself a thorough once-over in a full-length, freestanding mirror. We like the Holly & Martin Swain Leaning Mirror because you can hang it horizontally and vertically, plus place it against a wall or wherever else you like perfecting your appearance.

20. Wall Art

Mechanical Gear Clock

Wall art, such as posters, photographs, and other pops of your personality, can turn a drab dorm room into an atmosphere you enjoy coming home to. We love this Mechanical Gear Clock; not only does it decorate blank spaces nicely, but it also helps you keep track of the time.

21. String Lights

String lights

String lights make dorm rooms cozy, bright, and colorful, plus help set the ambiance at night (and during social gatherings). One or two strings can transform a small space beautifully.

Our recommendation: Atomi Smart 24′ LED Color String Lights have a 22-year, 25,000-hour lifespan (whoa!) and operate with a smartphone app (compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa!) that provides over 16 million ways to customize color, brightness, and light patterns.

22. First Aid Kit

Smart Get Prepared First-Aid Kit

You’re on your own when you need to patch up paper cuts and scrapes in college, so we recommend having a solution that does more than just put a Band-Aid on. The Be Smart Get Prepared First-Aid Kit has 351 pieces—including eye wash, wound closure strips, finger splints, metal scissors, and tweezers—to help treat minor scratches, burns, and injuries.

23. Fan

Lasko 12" Performance Table Fan

Dorm rooms can get stuffy, hot, and uncomfortable no matter the time of the year, so it’s good to keep a fan nearby for the times you need to cool down (or stop sweating over midterms!). We like the Lasko 12″ Performance Table Fan; it doesn’t take up much room and has three quiet speeds, far-reaching oscillation, and a tilt-back fan head.

What Sets Sam’s Club Apart?

Here are a few reasons why we like shopping at Sam’s Club for college essentials and more:

1. Lower Membership Costs

A Sam’s Club Standard Membership ($45) and Sam’s Plus Membership ($100) costs less than the memberships of its closest wholesale-club competitors’ memberships:

  • BJ’s Inner Circle ($55)
  • BJ’s Perks Rewards ($110)
  • Costco’s Gold Star ($60)
  • Costco’s Executive ($120)

2. Excellent Tire Service & Promotions

Send your kids off to college safely! Sam’s Club members can save up to $80 on select Pirelli®, BFGoodrich®, and Goodyear® tires and tire sets through 12/31/21, plus enjoy an installation package with lifetime tire balance, rotation, and flat repair services. The 24/7 access to emergency roadside assistance for three years from the date of tire purchase is another perk we think makes a Sam’s Club membership well worth its price.

3. Extra Tech Savings

Sam’s Club members enjoy temporary price reductions offered by manufacturers and suppliers, which take a percentage off the suggested retail price of select products, usually in the following categories: technology, office, and entertainment.

4. Up to 25% Off Gift Cards

You can take up to 25% off value gift card bundles for many food-, clothing-, and entertainment brands, like Krispy Kreme, Golden Corral, Texas de Brazil, Chili’s, Fanatics, AMC, Nautica, and more. These also make excellent gifts for college students heading back to school!

5. 100% Member Satisfaction

If for some reason, you’re not happy with your membership, you can cancel anytime for a full refund of the amount you paid. We also like Sam’s Club return policy: If you’re not satisfied with a purchase made online, Sam’s Club issues a refund in most cases or replaces items with a few exceptions (such as gift cards, prescriptions, tickets, and custom-made gifts).

How to Get the Best Deals at Sam’s Club

The Sam’s Plus Membership has the most perks and helps shoppers save the most. On top of instant savings and members-only savings on fuel, plus free flat tire repair and wiper blade installation, Plus members also enjoy the following benefits:

  • Cash rewards: Get 2% back on qualifying purchases, up to $500 annually
  • Free shipping on most items (no minimum purchase)
  • Five free prescriptions, plus over 600 generics for $10 or less
  • 20% off a complete pair of eyeglasses, plus free shipping on contact lenses

Shopping tip: Spend at least $5,000 annually in bulk shopping, buying new tires, and saving on other big-ticket items at Sam’s Club to recoup the Sam’s Plus $100 membership fee.

Other Ways to Save the Most at Sam’s Club

How to Give Back Shopping for Sam’s Club College Supplies

Shopping with Giving Assistant not only helps you find the best deals and discounts at Sam’s Club to complete your college dorm checklist affordably. You can also give back to the causes you care about most. 

Through Giving Assistant, you can earn up to 15% cash back on new Sam’s Club memberships (and 2% cash back on select purchases) that you can keep or donate to your favorite nonprofits.

Download our free browser extension, The Giving Assistant Button, to start earning cash back automatically as you shop for back to school supplies and everything else in between all year round. It’s one of the easiest ways to give back to the causes you support (and at no added cost to you!).