Packing for college can be very exciting but also stressful. You’re getting ready to move part of your life to school, which includes packing majority of your clothes, shoes, and other belongings. Regardless of what school you go to, there’s always a suggested list of what to bring and what not to bring. However, this list consists of items that I found to be the most essential when I was a freshman in college. I will note that depending on your university housing guidelines, some of these items may be prohibited, so always make sure and double check!
1. Extension Cords – If you’re living in a basic dorm it’s very likely that you will not have as many outlets as you would if you were living at home. It’s also very likely that they will be in places that are very hard to reach, so extension cords are great for giving you the power you need in the most convenient way possible.
2. Power Strip/Surge Protector– Like I said, you will probably not have a lot of outlets, so having a power strip/surge protector is a great way to give you more outlets for your phone chargers, laptop chargers, hair dryers, fans, etc.
3. Command Hooks & Strips – You probably won’t have any hooks in your room, so you will definitely need some to hang up your towels, bags, etc.
4. Phone Wallet – I cannot stress how important this is! A phone wallet is perfect to carry around your student ID, license, debit card, and whatever else you may need. When you get to campus, you may even get some for free too!
5. Athletic Clothing – Unlike in high school, people in college don’t really try when it comes to what they wear to class. Most people, including myself, wear nike shorts, leggings, t-shirts, and any type of athleisure you can think of. For you girls out there, I highly recommend investing in a few pairs of leggings and shorts for those cold and hot months.
6. Umbrella, Rain Boots & Rain Jacket – While some locations may have less or more rain than others, it’s so important to have at least 2 out of the 3 of these items. It’s so essential to have a big umbrella that covers not only you, but also your backpack. And trust me, it may rain a lot more than you expect it to, so having these things handy is fundamental.
7. Shower Shoes – If you’re living in a communal style dorm, shower shoes are an absolute MUST. Sharing a bathroom with lots of other people on your hall can sometimes get gross and you just need this. Trust me on this.
8. Bluetooth Speaker – I absolutely love my bluetooth speaker that I have and you’ll find that you use it more than you think you would. It’s great for hanging out with friends outside, listening to music in your dorm, or just having a good time.
9. Lamps or Hanging Lights – If your dorm is anything like mine was, the main lights in your room may be very bright. If you prefer dimmer lighting but enough to still see, I recommend getting some lamps and hanging lights. Plus, it makes your room feel nice and cozy at night.
10. Shoe Rack – Let’s face it, the closets in dorm rooms are TINY. If you’re a guy, this may not be as big of a problem because you may not have as many shoes, but for girls you can barely even fit half. Having a small shoe rack in your closet with at least 2-3 shelves is key, but make sure to measure the length and width of your closet to know what size you need to buy.
11. Rolling Storage Drawer/Storage Bins – Depending on what your university gives you, your dresser may not be big enough or have enough drawers to accommodate all of your clothes. Having some type of storage drawer/bin could be great to give you some extra room. I personally got mine from IKEA, which is a great place to go for dorm shopping.
12. Full Length Mirror – You may have a vanity mirror, but finding a full length mirror can be hard to find. You can easily find one from Target and use command strips to place it on the back of your door or the side of the wall.
13. Vacuum – Dorm rooms are tiny and dirt collects fast. Having a small vacuum that you can store in your closet is great to get up dirt and trash. I wouldn’t invest in a very expensive one though.
14. Laundry Basket with Wheels – I cannot even begin to tell you how essential this is. For a graduation present, I got a laundry basket with an expandable handle and wheels to roll around. It was great because I never had to haul my laundry down and so many people complimented me on it and said they wished they had one. It may be a little pricy, but it’s totally worth it.
15. Hole Puncher, Stapler, Tape, Scissors – I have found that having these items on my desk really helped me keep everything organized and together for school.
16. 10 Foot Charger – This is so so essential to have in college in general. Like I said, you may have outlets in the most random places, so having a long charger to reach up to a lofted bed is great. Not only that, but when you’re in the library or study space on campus, outlets may be a long distance from where you are sitting.
17. Medicine Box – I’m not going to lie to you, you will get sick at least once during college. If you don’t, you must have an insanely resilient immune system. That being said, it’s good to have a box with cold/flu medicine, vitamin C, band-aids, ibuprofen, etc. Whatever you need to feel better when you’re sick, pack it up in a little box and store it in your closet.
18. Silent Alarm – Unless you have a single room, you will most likely have a roommate who may not wake up at the same time as you. Having a silent alarm that vibrates instead of making a noise can help you prevent waking up your roommate. If they are a heavy sleeper, you may not need this at all, but for those light sleepers, this may be necessary.
19. Noise-Cancelling Headphones – I waited way too long to get these, but they are so worth the money. Sometimes you may find yourself in situations where you need to block out all the noise around you and noise-cancelling headphones are great to do just that.
20. Picnic Blanket – This was one of my favorite graduation presents and is perfect for a sunny day on campus. I would never think to get one of these, but it’s so great to have if you want to study outside, hang out with friends, or watch the sunset from a pretty spot on campus.
21. A Pair of Old Shoes – From my own personal experience, I have found that it’s great to have one pair of shoes that you don’t really care to get dirty. These are good to have for a rainy muddy day, game days, or any other activity that may mess up your shoes.
22. Mattress Topper – A mattress topper is absolutely essential to have for your bed. Most dorm room mattresses can be uncomfortable, so having one of these can add some extra cushion and comfort while you sleep.
23. Bedside Shelf – If your bed is lofted, it may be good to have an attachable shelf or pocket that you can place your phone, glasses, or water bottle on.
24. Hand-Held Steamer – A hand-held steamer is the best substitute for an iron, especially when you may not have enough room for an iron board. Plus, it’s much more efficient and faster to use if you’re in a rush and need to get the wrinkles out.
25. Rectangular Trash Can – I say a rectangular trash can because a circular can is honestly harder to fit things in. This past semester, I found that I was constantly having to empty it because it would fill up so quickly, so I recommend a rectangular one.
26. Fan – You may or may not be able to control the AC in your dorm, so having a fan is good on those hotter days when you may need to cool off.