In order to avoid needing to spend more than the unavoidable product and moving costs, let’s talk about what you need to bring– the obvious and the non-obvious.
The easiest way to make a college packing list is by category. The ones I use are clothing, comfort, food, organization, social, stationary, technology, toiletries, and miscellaneous.
Clothing depends very much on your style and where your college is. A packing list for New England looks very different than SoCal. Write your own to fit your vibe and destination but here’s a list to get you started.
Short sleeve shirts
Long sleeve shirts
Blue light glasses
Bathing suit cover up
Brown University Freshman dorm tour by Sarah Frank
Comfort items are the things that make your dorm feel more like home and help give you a comfortable night’s rest.
Comfort bits and pieces
Weighted blanket and/or heated blanket
Essential oil diffuser
All things food and kitchen. Dining varies by college but no matter where you go, there might be times you don’t want to go to a dining hall. Have sustenance available in your dorm!
Cooking / dining essentials
Ice cube tray
One of the most important things you can do when you move in is set yourself up to be organized. Space is limited so you have to make the most of it.
Full length mirror
Bulletin /dry erase board
Social is the category I use to encapsulate all the things you need for leaving your dorm. But of course, those things have to be kept in your dorm and need to have a place (use the above organization category!).
Office Depot-type of things. Stationary is all the supplies you’ll need for class. If you are an iPad/laptop user you might not need all of this, but some classes require hand-writing things, so consider these regardless.
No college student can go without technology, but it’s one of the things most frequently forgotten. Very few people remember flashlights and batteries, for instance. Also, make sure to check your school’s guidelines on power strips and surge protectors. Some dorm RAs are unfortunately strict with enforcing those rules.
Conair fabric shaver
Desk mirror with lights
One thing college has taught me is that having stuff is not just about you needing it– it’s about being there for your roommate, your friends, your hallmates. I even made a couple friends by having nail polish remover and ginger ale. Being helpful is an easy way to make friends, especially in the first couple weeks.
Body wipes/baby wipes
First aid kit
Ginger ale/something similar
There are some things that simply don’t fit into a category but important nonetheless.
Laundry bag with handles
Copy of birth certificate
As I said in the beginning, tailor this to your needs: what products you use, where you are going to school, what your roommate wants you to bring, etc. Hopefully these lists can help you curate your own. And remember– it is better to have and not need, than to need and not have!