The Ultimate College Packing List

first year of college

Going into college is stressful.

Whether you’re a freshman or an upperclassman, figuring out your schedule, staying in touch with friends, and getting ready to move in is hectic. There’s a lot that needs to be done and not enough time to do it all.

And, of course, there’s packing.

Packing is intimidating. You aren’t just worrying about basics – clothes, toiletries, and make-up – you’ve also got to consider your entire dorm room. You’re figuring out how to decorate it, what appliances you’ll need, and how you’re possibly going to buy all of these dorm necessities before that dreaded move-in date.

It’s a lot to think about…which is why I’m hoping to help you with my Ultimate College Packing List.

What is my Ultimate College Packing List, you ask? It’s a massive compilation of everything you might possibly want to bring with you to college, garnered from a variety of sources, including my own experience.

Just to note: you do not need everything listed here, some of them are just suggestions (for example, you may not want a printer).

Because this list is quite long, I’m only going hit the highlights.

First stop: Clothes.

Figuring out what clothing to bring to college can be a challenge. I know some people who only bring their wardrobe essentials, and others who pack tons of boxes containing everything they could ever possibly wear.

When I first went off to college, I tried to remain somewhere in between.

I’m a chronic over-packer. I’m the type of person who always asks, “Well…what if,” such and such. Going into college, I told myself not to go too crazy. Still, college packing is difficult, especially when you realize what you bring with you is pretty much what you’ll have for the next semester.

Therefore, I brought everything that fit in the 3-drawer dresser in my room. I made sure to pack for the weather – since I was going to Georgia, I focused on lighter clothes but remembered to bring pants and long sleeves. When all was said and done, the clothes I brought pretty much fit into that same medium-sized 3-drawer dresser, plus a bag of extras for winter weather that I shoved under my bed.

Make sure you cover all your bases. Double check that you have clothing for each situation and enough to have some variety throughout the semester. And of course, don’t forget make-up and jewelry to jazz up those outfits.

I specified slippers on the list because I found these most useful for my situation. I was living in a basic dorm room where I had to walk to the bathroom and kitchen many times a day. Having slippers really helped, since I could quickly get them on and go about my business.

Next up: Your Dorm Room.

A lot of people have fantasies about decorating their college dorm to look like all of those cute Pinterest pictures. Decorating my dorm was one of the main things I was looking forward to when I headed to college.

How you want to decorate your space is entirely up to you. For me, I loved having string lights, a poster, and a tapestry. One thing I’d definitely recommend, though, is a whiteboard. It was a life saver for me last year. I used it as my to-do list, where I’d write down all my assignments. Having it right above my desk made it easy for me to never forget anything. It was much more helpful than any planner.

Other than that, I included plenty of basic necessities for the room. There were many things I didn’t imagine needing until I got to college and realized I was missing them. These included an umbrella, a dustpan, and a first aid kit.

Various appliances can also make life easier, but if you don’t want a hair straightener or coffee machine that’s fine. These are mainly ideas of what you could bring. On top of that, when it comes to microwaves and fridges, it’s a good idea to check with your school and see what’s provided and what’s allowed. Then, check with your roommate to see who’s buying what.

The last couple categories are a little more straightforward. When it comes to storage, I found these awesome organizers that you hang in your closet. Also, make sure to buy a couple bins or storage boxes to hold snacks, toiletries, and other excess items in.

For toiletries, it’s really about knowing what you need. You’ll probably have to buy replacements for these as the semester goes on since you’ll run out. Most colleges have small grocery stores to buy them at.

Entertainment is just remembering to bring your electronics, including your phone, laptop, and other essentials. It’s sometimes crazy how you can forget the most obvious things.

Finally, school supplies. I didn’t go too in-depth here since I’m positive everyone’s done some school shopping at some point before college. You really just need the basics: pens, notebooks, and other note-taking materials. I would say to buy a stapler for your desk and a couple pairs of scissors. For textbooks, I always hold off until the first day of class, since sometimes professors will tell you that you don’t need them or that they’re free online (and it’s always great to save money when you can!)

And one last quick note for people going to college far away: consider buying most things once you’ve actually gotten there. For me, I couldn’t bring a bunch of bedding, storage containers, and appliances onto the plane with me. I brought my clothes and items I couldn’t buy from home, then bought everything else once I was in Georgia.

Overall, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to packing. Just start early and be prepared. Most importantly, don’t let yourself get too stressed – you can always buy what you missed at school!

Photo by STIL on Unsplash