The Ultimate College Packing List – This Is What You Need to Pack

Posted Moving Essentials / May 18, 2020
Anastasia Hill

Apart from being the next fashion icon, Anastasia is also a freelance writer and expert on moving (and packing clothes).

Are you moving to college soon? The moving date is getting closer, but you still don’t know how to ensure you’re not forgetting something you can’t do without in a dorm. But don’t worry – with this ultimate college packing list that includes absolutely everything needed and some useful tips on the side, you’re good to go. It is always easier to stay focused and keep track of things to pack when you have a checklist before you.

Leaving your childhood home and your parents is emotionally challenging, and you probably feel quite overwhelmed already. In that state of mind, forgetting something crucial is highly likely, as you can’t really focus on getting ready for the move. The safest way to make sure you brought everything necessary and avoid adding even more stress to the equation is to stick to a comprehensive packing list for college, like the one we’re going to present you with. Whether you’re relocating to a dorm or an off-campus apartment, here are some of the essentials that will come in handy as soon as you start your new freshman life.

Pack Your Notebooks and Other School Stuff

To start with, you should be sure you have a sturdy book bag or a backpack for your books, notebooks, and other school stuff when going to classes.

If you don’t know how to pack books for moving, look for some moving hacks to find the easiest way possible. For instance, you should consider putting them in suitcases instead of boxes. A suitcase is a much sturdier container for heavy items such as books.

Of course, you’ll also need a bunch of other school supplies apart from books and notebooks. You can buy some of these after you move if you want to reduce the number of items you have to pack. But, still, do pack some essentials, as we’re sure you don’t want to leave it all to the last moment and go shopping the day before your first day.


Essential Desk and School-Related Supplies

To be fully prepared for your next (or first) semester, it’s best that you keep your desk well stocked. Be the person who has everything necessary for studying, from book lamp to highlighters. Here are the essential desk supplies to obtain on time:

  • Pens and pencils
  • Paper
  • Highlighters
  • Sticky notes
  • Paper clips
  • Binders
  • Stapler
  • Calendar/planner
  • Calculator

If You Have a Roommate, Make an Arrangement for Electronics

Whether you’re relocating to a dorm or an apartment, you’ll probably share your space with a roommate, as most students do. And again, like most students, you will likely share a rather small space and have limited storage space. So, you should make a plan together about who will bring what to save every precious inch of available space. Naturally, you will only need one TV, one pair of speakers, and we’re sure you can both use a single printer.

Of course, you shouldn’t even think about leaving without your laptop or tablet (or both). Not only will you need them for studying, but also for relaxation after a long week. The college packing list for guys usually also includes a video game console.

Don’t forget to pack some form of electronic storage device (USB flash drives, hard drives, or memory cards). Other items to include are:

  • Headphones
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Cables
  • Chargers
  • Extension cords

Don’t Forget to Bring Kitchen Supplies to Your Dorm Room

If you’re relocating to the dorm and you’re planning to bring a microwave and a mini-fridge, do check if there are any special regulations regarding these appliances. Other useful appliances include an electric kettle, a coffee maker, a blender, and a toaster (if allowed). Here are a couple of more items to pack, depending on the size of your future living area:

  • Dishes
  • Mugs
  • Utensils
  • Pots
  • Frying pan
  • Microwave safe food containers
  • Can opener
  • Dish detergent
  • Dish towels
  • Towel paper
  • Oven mitts
  • A trash can and trash bags

Tips for Packing Food

In addition to those essential kitchen items, you should also pack some food. The options here are somewhat limited, especially if you don’t have a mini-fridge. But still, you should have at least something to grab a quick bite when you arrive or for breakfast. For instance, you can pack cereal, dried fruit, canned food, pasta, soup, as well as some juice boxes or soda.

Add Basic Toiletries and Other Bathroom Stuff to the College Packing Checklist

Moving on to the bathroom – don’t go anywhere without the basic toiletries. In addition to toilet paper, soap, body wash, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, and toothpaste, here’s what else you should have:

  • Towels
  • Bathrobe
  • Shower mat
  • Shower curtain and curtain rings
  • Shower flip flops
  • Bath mat
  • Hairdryer
  • Nail clippers

You Should Always Have a First Aid Kit and Basic Medication

First aid kit and medicine are among the most commonly forgotten things to pack, so we want to remind you to pack these, too. You never know when you may need some of these, so it’s better to have them close, just in case. It is always a good idea to have some:

  • Bandages and blister bandages
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Allergy medicine
  • Cough drops
  • Cold medicine
  • Medicine for upset stomach

Be Sure You Bring Pillows, Blankets, and Bedding Sets

After such a long day of relocating and unpacking, all you’ll want to do is take a shower and cuddle under your blanket for a good night’s sleep. But, do you have your pillow and a blanket and your favorite bedding set with you? You will have if you follow this relocating checklist and a few moving tips.

You should also pack a mattress cover, especially if you’re relocating to a dorm. You never know who’s slept there before you, so you’ll surely feel more comfortable if you have your mattress cover. If your bed doesn’t seem to be very comfy, you should also consider getting a mattress pad later on.

Set a Limit for Clothing – You Shouldn’t Bring Everything You Have

When it comes to clothes, it is crucial not to overpack. Always keep in mind that the storage space you’ll have for clothing will be somewhat limited, so you shouldn’t take every single piece of clothes you own. Pack only the clothes you know you will wear, such as your jeans, shirts, sportswear for a morning jog, sneakers, etc. But that elegant dress or a suit for special occasions? You won’t really need that, lest you have some kind of special event scheduled in the near future. One of the best tips is to keep it as simple as possible. And don’t forget hangers!

Pack a Laundry Bag and Detergent

Since you’ll be doing your laundry now, you should also have a laundry bag or basket (or both), detergent, dryer sheets, and a drying rack. It is a good idea to have some rolls of quarters, too. If you don’t find it convenient to bring detergent, laundry soap can also come in handy.

You Will Need Some Basic Cleaning Supplies

Your parents won’t be there to clean up after you anymore, so it’s all up to you. You should have at least some basic cleaning supplies for a start to do a move-in cleaning and to keep your room clean and healthy. Here are some of the items that you should pack right away:

  • Broom and dustpan
  • Mini vacuum
  • Rags and sponges
  • Rubber gloves
  • Disinfectant cleaning wipes
  • Window cleaner

Simple Decorations Can Mean a Lot

While the basics should be your main priority, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t throw in a couple of decorative items on your new apartment checklist, too. Be it just a couple of cushions on the bed or a decorative rug, it can brighten up your corner and help you feel much more comfortable.

How to Make Your Room Feel Like Home

Leaving your nest and your lovely bedroom where you’ve spent so many years must be difficult for you. But there are always things you can do to make your dorm room feel more like home. Put a photo of you and your family on the nightstand, another one with your closest friends on your desk, and hang your favorite poster on the wall. It’s already better, right?

You can also bring a mirror (if there isn’t one already), curtains, and a plant or two. And if it’s not the holiday season yet, LED string lights are always a great option for making the ambiance more pleasant. Just make sure you pack all fragile items properly.

Additional Tips for Moving to College

The best way to stay under control of everything during your relocation is to create a moving to-do list that will include every single step to take. That way, you can know what else there is to handle at every moment and reduce the level of stress and anxiety. Staying organized should be your main priority.

Look for Help With Any Move-Related Issues

If you eventually realize that handling your relocation is too challenging, do ask a couple of friends over to give you a hand. They may be able to help you pack and with some other smaller steps. However, when it comes to long-distance moving, the safest way to go about it is to turn to a team of professional movers.

Just be sure you check what items movers won’t move before you start packing. For instance, you won’t be allowed to bring perishable food and perhaps even some plants and flowers.

The only problem with moving companies is that you need to be on alert for potential moving scams. That’s why you should do some research to be sure you’re hiring a reliable crew, and then you’ve got no reason to be concerned about anything, regardless of whether you’re moving locally or cross country. You can just relax and let experts take care of your move from start to finish.

Update Your College Packing List as You Go

As you get down to business, be sure you add any extra stuff you remember along the way and remove those you’re done with to create your own ultimate college packing list. Follow it closely to be sure you take everything necessary to have a stress-free move and be more relaxed along the way, knowing you’ve got it all written down.

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to move out of state, you probably want to avoid hiring movers. While this is manageable, be sure you weigh all the pros and cons before you make your final decision. Do what suits you best to be able to relax and actually look forward to your new life and new adventures.

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