Written by Seraine Page
Summer is over – which means it’s time for your parents to kick you out of the house again so you can head back to school.
Sorry about that, by the way. Welcome back to adulting.
To ease your pain and suffering, we’ve compiled a college packing list of things you should probably bring with you. Just so they don’t end up in trash bags on the curb once you leave home again.
Read on for your ultimate college checklist to make sure you have everything you need, including your pet rock named Stan.
Tips for Packing for College
Boxes. Check. Packing tape. Check. As for the rest, throw it in a box and figure it out once you get to your dorm or apartment. Kidding. Here’s some tips to keep you semi-organized.
1. Inventory your life. Don’t get too emotional. If you’re lucky, your parents won’t immediately turn your room into a gym. Pack only the essentials, and ask your parental units to save the mementos for collection once they can really kick you out of the house. If you have a roomie, check with them to see what they’re bringing. No need to have two microwaves, right?
2. Label everything. Put your name on everything. Moving day is nuts around a college campus, and if you set a box down on a curb, you might as well have shipped it to space. Mark boxes accordingly: clothes, towels, books, etc. to make unpacking a cinch.
3. Don’t pack like a maniac. Pack with unpacking in mind. If you’ll want to immediately shower after a day of moving, have a handy overnight bag set aside that has toiletries, a change of clothes, and your rubber ducky towel.
4. Bubble wrap is your friend. As fun as it is to pop, save some bubble wrap for your belongings, too. Bundle up your most precious items with this poppy-plastic for safe keeping.
5. Pack snacks and H2O. Moving is hard work. Have your mom send you off with her famous chocolate chip cookies. Keep your water bottle handy for hydration. Don’t be the kid who faints in front of the RA the first week of college.
You’ll actually need these to do college right.
Hangovers and messy hair aren’t the only things you’re supposed to bring to class. Show up with even half of the items on this list, and you’re guaranteed an A for effort.
If you’re going to be writing notes until your hand cramps, you may as well look cute while doing it! Here’s just a few things you’ll want to have in class.
- Pencil Case
- Temporary Tattoos
- Tote bag or backpack
- Pens and pencils
- Water bottle
- Stapler and staples
- Index cards
- Sticky notes
- Paper clips or binder clips
Because You Can’t Walk Around Naked.
It’s a fact of life — you have to wear clothes. This isn’t a season of Project Runway, though, so you don’t have to pack for a fashion show in Paris. The essentials will do.
- Light/heavy jackets
- Rain jacket
- Gloves/scarf/hat (anything else you may need if a blizzard hits)
- Business casual clothes
- Dressy clothes
- Flip flops
- Dress shoes
- Boots (rain and/or snow)
To Keep You Near an Outlet. All. The. Time.
Now is the time to talk your parents into buying you that super sweet laptop you really want. Just make sure they buy the extra warranty in case you spill your $5 latte on it during one of those all-nighter study sessions.
- Laptop or desktop computer
- HDMI cord, Ethernet cord for computer (see if your dorm has wireless)
- Wireless printer (most campus libraries have printers, so this isn’t a must)
- Power cords
- Laptop and cell phone chargers
- Any electronics warranty paperwork
- Surge protector
- Phone cases
- Backup drive (flash drives, external hard drives, etc.)
- DVD player
- Portable speakers
- Alarm clock
- Extension cords
- Laptop sleeves
BED-azzle Your Bedding.
They say you spend one-third of your life sleeping. You might as well be comfortable, and your bed should probably be a beautiful fortress for studying, too.
Bathroom and Toiletries
Keep your stuff clean. Teeth. Face. You know.
You’ll need all the little toiletries that used to magically appear in your bathroom. Thanks, mom.
- Shower caddy
- Shower shoes
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Hair products
- Contact lenses and supplies
- Eyeglasses and case
- Facial wash
- Body soap
- Travel soap container
- Shower pouf
- Acetaphetamine or other pain relievers
- First aid kit
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Dental floss
- Nail clippers
- Razor and shaving cream
- Facial moisturizer
- Hair dryer/curling iron/straightener
- Cotton swabs
- Cough medicine and cough drops
- Feminine hygiene products
Laundry and Cleaning Supplies
Someone has to clean the toilet. It’s probably you.
Being a real adult doesn’t happen overnight. Cooking, cleaning, remembering to put gas in your car… it’s a lot. Just bring these with you on the off chance you remember to clean once a year.
- Glass cleaner
- Toilet bowl cleaner
- Disinfectant wipes
- Toilet scrubber
- Laundry detergent
- Stain remover
- Fabric softener sheets
- Ironing board
- Drying rack
- Lint brush
- Hand vacuum or full-size vacuum
- Mop or steam mop
Let the real hunger games begin.
You’ll learn how to use your microwave real fast. Even if it’s only for t.v. dinners.
- Paper towels
- Trash bags
- Trash can
- All-purpose cleaner
- Plastic food storage baggies
- Food-storage containers
- Dish soap
- Dishwasher detergent
- Cooking utensils (spatula, whisk, etc.)
- Drinking cups
- Coffee mug
- Water bottle
- Can/bottle opener
- Basic spices
- Water pitcher and filters
- Oven mitt
- Kitchen towels
The Chicago Dog by nickv47
First Aid and Emergency Kit
You’ll need this for when your roommates have to play Dr. Mom.
When you burn your food, you might burn yourself. Be ready with all the peroxide in the world.
- First aid manual
- Cotton balls
- Antibiotic ointment
- Plastic non-latex gloves
- Rubbing alcohol
- Antiseptic wipes
- Adhesive tape
- Hand sanitizer
- Calamine lotion
- Disposable instant cold packs
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Allergy meds
- Flashlight and batteries
- Magnifying glass
- Safety pins
- List of emergency contacts and phone numbers (poison control, for example)
The random stuff you maybe need.
There’s always something you’ll forget. It’s probably on this list.
- Box fan
- Space heater (check with your college)
- Important papers (social security card, birth certificate, etc.)
- Personal fireproof safe
- Board games and playing cards
- Pepper spray
Liven up your space with some you-style decor.
Decorate to your heart’s content. All within college regulations, of course.
- Area rugs
- Double-sided tape
- Picture frames
- Indoor string lights
Back to School Essentials for Stargazers and Computer Nerds
If gazing at stars is your favorite pastime, then we hope you’ve got plenty of those fluorescent-looking plastic stars for your dorm room ceiling. Check out our favorite products for your inner starry-eyed geek to go galactic over.
6. Stargaze challenge. Blend in with the night sky when you wear this starry baseball cap. Plus, it’ll keep the blinding glare of the moon out of your eyes.
7. Caffeinate and repeat, with a travel mug. Coffee will be the only thing to get you through those dreaded 7 a.m. classes. Drinking coffee in style will never go out of style.
8. Protect your stuff. Space out in class, but don’t space out on safeguarding those electronics your expensive student loans paid for. A laptop sleeve could save your bacon (and your laptop).
9. Take cover. The same ‘protection your stuff’ rule applies to your phone. Don’t stress butterfingers, we got you and your device covered.
10. Carry on. You can never have enough cool drawstring bags to hold your hydration station AKA your water bottle.
I am the target text.
Back to School Essentials for Free Spirits
If you’re more inclined to go with the flow, this essentials bag can go with you.
11. Thought freestyle. Speak your mind via your notebooks. Let everyone know what you’re thinking with messages like “Free Your Mind.”
12. Gather your essentials. Keep your pencils, chapstick, and even your phone in a cute catchall studio pouch.
13. Magic powers. If you like body art, slap on a new artwork daily. Keep your classmates guessing where your next tat will show up.
14. Make memories. College is part degree, part fun. Document all the memories you don’t mind seeing live on forever, on Facebook and in print.
15. Stick on it. Pick a sticker, any sticker. Then, find a perfect sticking point. Place and repeat.
Back to School Essentials for Animal Lovers
So… you had to leave Fluffy at home. We know this doesn’t make up for it, but here’s some cute animal stuff that might just cheer you up. Sans the cat hair.
16. A wink and a smile. Even if you’ve already gained the freshman 15, you’ll never feel sad when you open your backpack up and see this cute cat winking at you. Keep your pencils and other tiny classroom necessities in an adorable pencil pouch.
17. Note-taking gear. We’re pretty sure you’ll make excuses to take notes just so you can pull out a notebook with corgis on it. We would.
18. Someone say llama? There’s nothing a perky llama coin purse can’t fix.
19. Hydrate. Your mom isn’t around to remind you to drink eight glasses of water daily. But a cute water bottle might make it easier to remember.
20. Go get ‘em, tiger. Because everyone should see a tiger riding a flamingo floatie at some point in their lives.
Stickers: For When Anything Needs Some Style
Make bold statements without saying a word. Happy, sad, or overly positive? We’ve got a sticker for every mood. Even when you bomb that test. Make boring notebooks fun with stickers that’ll remind you of your youthful days long before college.
21. Bee smiley. When stress amounts to the size of Mt. Everest, try to remember this catch phrase and adorable bee that won’t sting you.
22. Flow with it. Like a river. Or your tears. Just go with whatever flow you feel like.
23. Shine on. Ain’t nothing wrong with a little positivity. Get your smile on.
24. Just say no. Sometimes you just gotta say, “Shell no!”
25. Sloth it away. Some days you’ll feel more motivated than others. Just not today.
What to Leave at Home
Some things just need to stay with your parents. Like your creepy dead spider collection. Use your best judgement, but here’s our guess on some things that are better left behind.
- Candles. Even if you hate your roommate, you can’t stink him out with your candle that smells like farts. Sorry.
- Yearbooks. You’ll miss your high school friends, sure. But about two weeks in when you’re buried deep in freshman biology, you’ll forget all about them. The yearbooks will just make you sad you’re not in easy high school classes anymore.
- Bowling trophies. And other knick knacks. It’s safe to say your dorm is smaller than your current bedroom. Mom will keep your bowling trophy safe for a minimum of four years.
- Hammocks. It’s fun in theory until you pull a muscle trying to get out of one after a night of partying too hard. Save it for your actual backyard.
- Pets. This makes us sad for you. If you really need to bring a pet, we hear sea monkeys slip under the radar pretty easily.
Leaving home can be tough. Leaving home to go be a responsible human being is even tougher. A college packing list doesn’t have to overwhelm you. Just remember there’s probably a Target less than 2 miles from campus if you somehow missed an item on your college dorm checklist.
Now, go get your college on.