College Packing List

Everything you’ll need for college.

You’re getting ready for college but there’s one daunting task ahead: packing. Packing up everything in your life for the first time can be an intimidating task in itself. It gets scarier when you’re not entirely sure what you’ll need and you have no idea what your dorm will be like. From bedding to food to school supplies and more, we’ve put together a comprehensive college packing list complete with all the essential items you’ll need.

Bedding:

Keep in mind when shopping that most dorm rooms have a twin XL mattresses, rather than just twin.

  • Bedbug-protecting mattress cover
  • Foam topper or mattress pad
  • Twin XL sheet set (and an extra set)
  • Duvet and duvet cover or comforter set
  • Twin XL bed skirt
  • Pillows and pillowcases
  • Throw blanket/pillows
  • Storage for under the bed
  • Bed risers (some even come with outlets in them)

Room:

Check your college’s website to get an idea of the size and layout of your dorm room ahead of time.

  • Additional seating (beanbag chair, folding chair, comfy chair, etc.)
  • Bedside table
  • Alarm clock
  • Wall clock
  • Bedside lamp
  • Floor lamp
  • String lights
  • Area rug
  • Adhesive hooks and strips (that come off cleanly)
  • Bulletin board and/or dry erase board
  • Push pins/magnets/whiteboard markers
  • Posters/wall art
  • Photos
  • Picture frames or photo clips
  • Hangers
  • Over-the-door storage units
  • Space bags
  • Fan
  • Full-length mirror
  • Trashcan
  • Shoe rack

Laundry:

Check to see how laundry works at your school. Some schools have a system where you can pay with your student ID, but you may need to bring quarters.

  • Laundry hamper or bag
  • Detergent
  • Bleach
  • Fabric softener
  • Dryer sheets
  • Drying rack or clothes line
  • Iron (or opt for a steamer instead. They are smaller and do not need an ironing board.)
  • Lint brush
  • Portable stain remover pen

Food:

Even if you have a meal plan you will want to have some food in your room for when the dining hall is closed or you don’t want to walk all the way across campus.

  • Bulk snacks (candy, Mac n cheese, chips, etc.)
  • Bottled water
  • Granola bars
  • Popcorn
  • Cereal
  • Coffee
  • Coffee creamer
  • Sugar
  • Instant hot chocolate
  • Microwaveable mac and cheese
  • Ramen
  • Soup
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Sandwich bread

School Supplies:

If you forget anything or realize you didn’t think of something your college bookstore will sell some of these supplies.

  • Backpack
  • Binders
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Clicker (you will most likely need one for class, check the bookstore!)
  • File folder for important documents
  • Folders
  • Notebook paper
  • Notebooks
  • Index cards
  • Sticky notes
  • Pencil case
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Pens
  • Permanent markers
  • Highlighters
  • White out
  • Planner
  • Rubber bands
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Stapler/staples
  • Staple remover
  • Tape
  • Textbooks (always try renting them used FIRST! Check Chegg or Amazon before going to the bookstore to save money)
  • Three-hole punch

Kitchen Supplies:

If you are living in a dorm be sure to check what your school allows and if there is a communal kitchen for you to use. You may also be able to rent a fridge and microwave through the school.

  • Blender (the bullet is small and easy to store!)
  • Microwave (if your school allows it)
  • Mini fridge (if your school allows it)
  • Toaster (if your school allows it)
  • Coffee maker
  • Oven mitt
  • Water filter pitcher + extra filters
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Utensils
  • Dishes
  • Mugs
  • Travel mug
  • Bottle opener
  • Can opener
  • Chip clips
  • Napkins
  • Food storage containers
  • Plastic wrap
  • Paper plates
  • Plastic bags
  • Tinfoil
  • Dish towels
  • Paper towels
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Hand soap
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Glass cleaner
  • Sponges
  • Duster
  • Broom
  • Dustpan
  • Mini vacuum
  • Mop
  • Trash bags

Tech:

Some degrees (for examples graphic design) may require a specific computer, be sure to check before you buy anything!

  • Laptop
  • External hard drive
  • Flash drives
  • Wireless mouse
  • Laptop Case
  • Camera
  • SD card for camera
  • Tablet/E reader
  • Chargers (phone, laptop, camera, etc.)
  • Portable phone charger
  • Ethernet cable
  • HDMI cable
  • Extension cords
  • Adapters (HDMI, ethernet, etc.)
  • Headphones
  • Speakers
  • Printer
  • Printer ink
  • Cord organizer
  • Printer paper
  • Surge protectors
  • TV
  • TV stand
  • Batteries
  • Bluetooth speakers

Bathroom:

These are great things to coordinate buying with your roommates so you don’t end up with multiples.

  • Air freshener
  • Shower curtain, rings, and mat (if needed)
  • Shower organizer (if your school allows it)
  • Upgraded shower head (if your school allows it)
  • Bathroom rug
  • Shower shoes
  • Shower caddy
  • Washcloths
  • Bath towels
  • Hand towels
  • Cleaning supplies (if you need them for your dorm: i.e., drain cleaner, glass cleaner, rubber gloves, shower cleaner, sponges, toilet brush, toilet cleaner)

Toiletries:

If you run out of something and can’t get to the store, your bookstore may have some of these items as well.

  • Body wash
  • Lotion
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Cleanser
  • Moisturizer
  • Acne medicine/cream
  • Shaving Cream
  • Waxing strips
  • Hair removal cream
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Foundation
  • Makeup
  • Lip balm
  • Makeup remover
  • Hair gel
  • Hair mousse
  • Hairspray
  • Nail polish/remover
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Floss
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hand mirror
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Razor
  • Tweezers
  • Hairbrush
  • Comb
  • Bobby pins
  • Blow dryer
  • Diffusers
  • Curling iron
  • Hair straightener
  • Hair ties
  • Contacts, solution, and case
  • Eyeglasses and case
  • Eyeglass cleaner
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Tissues
  • Makeup brushes
  • Nail clippers
  • Nail files
  • Pumice stone
  • Tampons and pads
  • Toilet paper

Clothing:

Don’t feel like you need to pack everything you own. Save room for all the free t-shirts you will accumulate!

  • Bras
  • Underwear
  • Sports bras
  • Pajamas
  • Dresses
  • Formal dresses
  • Going-out clothes
  • Long-sleeve shirts
  • Short-sleeve shirts
  • T-shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Jeans
  • Pants
  • Leggings/Yoga pants
  • Shorts
  • Skirts
  • Professional clothing (dress, dress pants, button-down shirts, skirts, blazers, shoes, purse)
  • Belts
  • Tights
  • Sweaters
  • Sweatpants
  • Sweatshirts
  • Leggings
  • Fleece
  • Jackets
  • Raincoat
  • Winter coat
  • Gloves
  • Workout clothes
  • Athletic sneakers
  • Boots
  • Casual shoes
  • Flats
  • Flip-flops
  • Heels
  • Rain boots
  • Snow boots
  • Slippers
  • Socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Bathing suits
  • Hats
  • Scarves
  • Watches
  • Purses
  • Gym bag
  • Jewelry
  • Costume clothing for theme parties/extracurricular events

Documents:

Be sure to keep these items somewhere safe.

  • Bank documents
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Checks
  • Driver’s license
  • Car registration and insurance information
  • AAA card
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Copy of Social Security card
  • Passport
  • Student ID
  • Emergency contact list
  • Financial aid documents
  • Health/dental insurance cards
  • Lease (if you have an apartment)
  • Renters insurance (if you have an apartment)
  • Product warranties

Medical:

If you have prescription medications make sure you arrange to have them filled by campus now.

  • Allergy medicine
  • Aloe lotion
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Cortisone cream
  • Vaseline
  • Bandages
  • Birth control pills
  • Condoms
  • Menstrual pain medication
  • Cold and flu medicine
  • Decongestant
  • Throat drops/lozenges
  • Eye drops
  • Hot and cold packs
  • Humidifier
  • Insect repellent
  • Multivitamins/supplements (iron pills, etc.)
  • Over-the-counter pain medication
  • Prescription medicine
  • Prescription refill information
  • Retainer/mouthguard
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Thermometer
  • Thermometer covers
  • Upset stomach medication

Miscellaneous:

  • Beach towel
  • Bike (plus helmet and lock)
  • Board games
  • Books to read for fun
  • Video game console
  • Playing cards
  • Art supplies
  • DVDs
  • Musical instruments
  • Religious materials
  • Earplugs
  • Sleep mask
  • Flashlight
  • Light bulbs
  • Safety pins
  • Safety whistle
  • Pepper spray (if legal in your state)
  • Tool kit
  • Duct tape
  • Weekend bag
  • Travel organizer for toiletries
  • Suitcase/duffel bag
  • Luggage tags
  • Umbrella
  • Vacuum
  • Hand weights
  • Yoga mat
  • Sports equipment
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