College Packing List: 120 Must-Haves Before You Start College

Spread the love

You were always excited to go to college and now it’s TIME! New city, new friends, new opportunities, and moving out of the house are by far the most thrilling aspects to think of.

When leaving home, you will need a myriad of casual things to get by without any discomfort. We usually know a general college packing list with items like stationery, books, and personal products. 

But due to a dozen thoughts running through your mind, some essentials can effortlessly slip out. It’s times like these when a guide can come in handy. 

So, we know what you’re going through and we thought it’ll be great if you have a checklist that you can take with you when you are going to shop and mark what’s done.

Please make sure you have everything you’ll need for the first year of college by using this quick checklist. After one year, you’ll adjust. These are only recommendations: you can tailor this selection based on your needs. 

You can also purchase most of the college move-in products once you get to college. It’ll help to save on packaging and shipping costs. It may also be a good idea to pack for one season at a time and exchange the items with the ones at home when you go back.

After our list of college packing list essentials, we will give you some awesome tips to organize everything. 

In our quest for the best items that you should have, we have crafted this list and we REALLY hope it helps you. 

Room Essentials: 

  • Lamp for the bedside 
  • Lamp for your study table 
  • Alarm or radio clock 
  • Laundry baskets
  • Trays for under-the-bed stockpiling 
  • Fans 
  • Laundry drying rack 
  • Pushpins and a bulletin board 
  • Dry-erase calendar/board for the wall
  • Mini toolbox (including a screwdriver, hammer, wrench) 
  • Hangers for pictures (double-sided tape for concrete walls) 
  • Laptop Carrying Case 
  • Earphones with noise cancellation 
  • HDMI cord 
  • Bluetooth stereo speaker 
  • Chargers for backup 
  • Batteries AA and AAA 
  • Power outlets 

Bathroom Essentials:

  • Shaving cream/gel for razors 
  • Beauty products 
  • Toothpaste 
  • Toothbrush 
  • Floss for your teeth 
  • Rinse your mouth 
  • Analgesics (Advil, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, etc.) 
  • Q-tips 
  • Cotton swabs 
  • Remover for nail polish 
  • Clippers for nails 
  • Laundry basket/bag 
  • Towels (3 for each bath, hand, and face) 
  • Fabric conditioner, laundry detergents, and cleaning solution 
  • Lint brush 
  • Medicated face wash
  • Bathrobe
  • Shower cap
  • Shoes for the shower 
  • Loofa 
  • Conditioner and shampoo 
  • Haircare products 
  • Brush/comb 
  • Deodorant 

Laundry Essentials:

  • Two sets of sheets, pillowcases ( Check with the college for the size) 
  • Pillows Mattress cover (at least two).
  • Tiny sewing kit 
  • Blankets or comforter/bedspread 
  • Hangers for clothes 
  • Detergent for laundry 
  • Sheets for the dryer 

Study Desk Essentials

  • Memory cards and USB flash drives 
  • Staples and a stapler 
  • Papers for printers (if you decide to bring a printer) 
  • Pencils and pens 
  • Sharpener and pencil holder 
  • Notepads/Sticky notes 
  • Pocket-lined folder 
  • Various sized labels 
  • Three and five index cards 
  • Binder clips and paper clips 
  • Bands of rubber 
  • Tape
  • Scissors 
  • Pencils for highlighting (multiple colors) 
  • Ruler 
  • Desk trays that stack (at least 4) 
  • Envelopes and stamps

Kitchen Essentials:

  • Mini-fridge 
  • Microwave
  • Cereal dishes, Plates, and Cups (a pair of each).
  • Basic silverware set 
  • coffee cup 
  • Pitcher with filtered water 
  • Coffee mug for on-the-go 
  • Bottle of reusable water 
  • Ramen 
  • Snack packs  
  • instant oatmeal
  • Bars made from granola 
  • Frozen foods
  • Coffee or tea
  • Chocolate milk or other flavors that you like

First-aid Essentials:

  • Band-Aids in a variety of sizes 
  • Ace bandage 
  • Neosporin 
  • Cortisone 
  • Gauze 
  • Surgical tape
  • Pain medicines 
  • Disinfectants
  • Umbrella 

ID Essentials

Among others, these credentials are extremely important: 

  • For travels, a large bag or backpack
  • A valid driver’s license 
  • Automobile registration
  • insurance 
  • Debit and credit cards for students 
  • Insurance card for health care 
  • Card of Social Security 
  • Forms for financial assistance 
  • Flashlight
  • Contact information for emergencies 
  • Pins for safety 
  • bicycle and bicycle lock 

Obvious Essentials:

  • Wearables like dresses, coats, jackets, socks, shirts, jeans.
  • Jogging shoes or multi-purpose shoes for wandering or off-campus activities 
  • Outfits for “going out.” 
  • Outfits for “staying in” 
  • Undergarments 
  • Clothes to take to class regularly 
  • One dressy outfit for a formal event 
  • One suit or clothing suitable for an interview 
  • Pajamas that you feel comfortable wearing in front of people. 
  • Slippers 

When you’re buying things, make sure to invest in good quality items. Most of these things are one-time purchases, so it’s crucial that they are of good quality to last long. 

Other things, however, are the ‘carry along’ types like umbrellas, laptop covers, water bottles, or note pads, make sure you choose something secure and aesthetic. 

So you know what to buy and take with you when you are leaving home and moving to a new city. What about organizing the stuff when it’s time to pack? Trust me, it can get overwhelming. 

Being college students ourselves, we can relate to what you’ll feel having stacks of things in front of you and not knowing what will go where, we will share with you our ever favorite tips that always worked for us. 

Tips for a Hassle-Free College Shifting 

Communicate with Your Roomie

Most colleges give you a roommate before the semester begins. 

Take advantage of this downtime to get to know one another and layout shared things such as mini-fridges, dryers, and drapes. Some schools will lease you a microwave/fridge combo every semester, while others require you to provide your own. 

Start by breaking up the cost of shared things or dividing up who gets what. Also, collaborate on things you are bringing to cut down on double items.  

To enhance move-in pleasure, text and video chat to form a relationship. You can coordinate with your roommate through WhatsApp, Facebook, or any other app whether they live in the next town over or across the country. 

Roomie Checklist 

You’re less likely to overlook something necessary if you make a list of what you want to bring to school. 

This brief might help you get started. 

  • Divide your checklist into what you’ll carry from home, what each of you can buy once you get to school, and what you can get online.
  • Include toiletries and linens that each of you has to have personally. You’ll also want photos or unique souvenirs to make your new place seem like home. Remind your roommate about it so they won’t forget important photographs. 
  • Include goods that you won’t want to share, such as cleaning supplies, a mending kit, gadgets, and kitchen equipment. 
  • Remind your loved ones of your new postal address, contact number, and email account. 
  • Remind the roommate to have a backup of any crucial computer records. 
  • Inquire with the housing department about the rules and regulations for electronic equipment and utilities so you and your roomie can accommodate accordingly. 

Confirm Move-in Date 

College move-in day might become a massive undertaking at colleges. To avoid the first day hustle bustle, your school will remind you of your move-in date beforehand. 

While each college’s move-in protocol is different, many offer a specified date and time window to offload your dorm room basics and begin setting up. 

Check out how you’ll get your belongings to your room, as well as your move-in date and time. Is there any kind of elevator? Can luggage be left at the curb? Can automobiles be parked and carried in a specific parking lot? 

Knowing these things will help you plan ahead of time and avoid complications on the move-in day. Meanwhile, you can utilize a variety of supplies and unload tips when packing your things. 

Offloading Checklist:

Here are some suggestions for packing strategies to consider: 

  • Instead of boxes, use cartons or storage bins to store college supplies. 
  • Unpack and keep the bins in a storage room or at another location for later use. Probably for when you’ll move again. 
  • Use old boxes or containers to keep goods safe in your room. 
  • Make the most of the available space in the car by placing all heavier objects beneath the remainder of the belongings, and lightweight items, including bedding or clothing, in more open areas. 
  • Keep the same category items in the same packages to make sorting easier. 
  • Label each box or bin with a number that matches the item number on your checklist. For example, you may have kitchenware in a box labeled “Kitchenware.”

Organize Your Movers 

While your entire extended family will like to seeing you go your first day of school, cramming too many individuals into a little dorm isn’t the best option. 

Note that you and your roommates will be relocating together simultaneously, so have helpers to a maximum number of two. Contact your school to see their policies regarding move-in day assistance. 

Savvy Packing Tips

Only Take What’s Important

Pack smarter, not harder. Select multi-functional products such as lamps with USB adapters and headboards with various storage shelves. 

Wanting to carry everything from your mattress to your toothbrush when you are moving is normal. However, this would cause major moving struggles for you including entering and exiting your accommodation. 

Pack Smarter

Certain school items can be packed ahead of time, but you’ll likely wait to determine what outfits to take with you. Putting your undergarments last is a good idea. 

Make an entire day for it! You might donate some goods, and you will have to think carefully about what to take and what to drop. Clothing will also be the final thing you unload once you’ve moved in, as you’d like to organize them. 

Pack in Storage Bins 

Storage bins will be your best friend throughout the college move-in day and in future. Pick storage boxes that you want to keep on campus rather than cardboard boxes that will need to be broken down and disposed of. 

Fold your clothes up securely and place them in a closed under-the-bed mobile storage cart, for one.

Clothing Checklist:

  • We suggest you buy clothing for one or two seasons. You can get the rest when you return home for a winter vacation or another occasion when the seasons change, and you can swap certain clothing items for others. 
  • If you are attending a career fair, socializing function, or a video interview, you should bring some professional attire. You can also begin by collecting some neutral-colored clothing. Don’t forget to pack active wear if you train or go to the gym. 
  • If you know how to stitch, having a tiny sewing kit with you can help you mend things in an urgent situation. Another thing you can do to make unloading easier is to keep all of your garments on their hangers while packing. When you get to your room, take them out of the box and pull them up.

What Else to Check Before Moving in?

Even though the college rooms aren’t entirely move-in ready, your school may provide many of the necessary RESOURCES. But, you must still call or visit the school’s website to check out what you can bring and what’s not permitted. 

If you’re thinking of packing a microwave or mini-fridge, the dorms may provide full-sized fridges and microwaves, so verifying it before the move will save space, effort, time, and energy. 

While liquor, narcotics, and weapons are not permissible, some schools restrict additional items including electric heaters and power strips, which could pose a fire risk. 

There are, however, some products that universities commonly prohibit that you should aim to remove off your college packing list. If you plan on bringing any animal pals, you must check if your school welcomes pets.


Please avoid HOARDING in the college packing list when you are moving. If you run out of supplies, you can always go shopping or order online.  

If you find yourself with more belongings at the end of the school year than you can comfortably carry home, college students have numerous storage solutions to consider. 

Not only will this make the overall school move-in time manageable, but it will also make packing for the new school year smoother.

If you have any ideas to contribute, please express your views through comments and we’d love to add them to this blog.