Seeing that I am going into my junior year of college, I like to think that I’ve gained some knowledge that is helpful to pass down to a younger herd of equally excited and nervous incoming freshman. There are all these long, long packing lists floating around, but in my personal experience I know myself pretty well and am capable of packing, granted I go to school a reasonable driving distance from my house and can always go grab something or have my mom send it if I forgot something important.
With that being said, there are a few things that from my college experience that I make sure not to head off to school without.
Toothbrushes. Yes plural.
I buy a pack of three toothbrushes, sometimes even more when there’s a good deal, at the beginning of the semester.
First reason being, somewhere sometime way back when I was watching a TV, maybe Gilmore Girls and someone said how you’re supposed to get a new toothbrush every three months. Sure that makes an extreme amount of sense but until then I’d never thought of that! I was also like 15 at the time.
Second reason being college is dirty. Like yes you might go to a school with amazing accommodations and brand new bathroom but like you’re still sharing a bathroom with other people you barely know. If you drop your toothbrush on the ground, in the sink, in the shower (you will at least once be running late and need to brush your teeth in the shower), Do. Not. Pick. It. Up. Just throw it out, grab a new one.
And another reason, you might have friends visiting and they forget a toothbrush. Or you go visit your friend at their school for the weekend and leave your toothbrush behind. And TRUST ME, bookstores over price their toothbrushes, so just buy extra in the beginning.
Hand Sanitizer. Or hand san as I like to call it.
I’m not going to say I’m a germ freak but like do you know how many people touch the same things you do everyday on campus and probably haven’t washed their hands? When you’re in the dining hall and you’re too lazy to go wash your hands before you eat (which is all the time, don’t lie to yourself), just drop some hand san up on that. No it’s not as good as washing your hands, but it’s better than doing nothing. Especially once November rolls around you don’t want to be getting sick! I keep one on the top of my backpack at all times, it’s super convenient.
Sure you move into school in August or September but you’re going to get a cold and you’re going to need tissues. And if you’re a freshman you probably don’t have a car on campus and the grocery store probably isn’t in walking distance especially when you’re cold and have a runny nose. A box or two is always good to have on hand. Tissues also come in handy when you get anything messy on your hands and need to whip it off real quick, or for cleaning your phone or laptop screen.
Slippers and a rug.
If you’re going to school anywhere there is snow or even a possibility of snow you need a rug. Walking into my room with my slush covered boots and getting the floor all wet was the worst pain of my freshman year. And even once I got a system down for myself, other people would be tracking in the slush. So annoying! Avoid this hassle with a simple door mat or rug. And slippers for when you’re walking around inside your building because other people will be tracking in snow in common areas so don’t go barefoot or in just socks because you’ll step in a puddle and be grumpy.
Dish soap and a sponge.
Even if you don’t have a kitchen you’re probably going to have a cup or a bowl or something that needs to be washed. Don’t be like my roommate freshman year and left her dirty bowls around and they got moldy and gross. Don’t be that person. That’s gross.
Water bottle of the reusable variety.
It’s great to have a water bottle that you can just refill because it’s a lot cheaper (and far more convenient) than buying cases of water. I keep a Brita in my room and can refill my own bottle, also my school has filtered water fountains with water bottle spouts that are great! And you can always fill it up in the dining hall.
* I strongly advise AGAINST Camelbak (with the sip tip) water bottles at college because the top gets moldy over time, even when you rinse it out. And personally I didn’t have the resources to be bleaching it enough to keep it clean and healthy *
Extension cord and power strip.
Dorms have very few outlets, and when you’re sharing a room with one or two other people you have to share those few outlets that you do have. A power strip is a MUST it maximizes outlets. I keep mine right by the head of my bed so I can plug all my essentials into it! Extension cords are a must also because you don’t know how far the plugs are going to be from where you want your TV or microwave or whatever to be!
This should be one everyone’s packing list and is an obvious one but you need a mattress pad. Need. Need. NEED. Just trust me. Buy one. You don’t need some expensive one, the Target $20 one was great for me my first two years!
It’s going to rain. And you’re going to have to carry your laptop across campus in the rain. You need an umbrella. I was one of the only people in my friend group with an umbrella my first semester.
A Weekend Bag!
You’re going want to go home or to visit a friend for a weekend and a duffle or weekend bag is essential because how else are you going to get all your stuff from point A to point B! I have a Weekender from Vera Bradley and it’s a great size but I also always bring my backpack with me too!
“Thank You” notes and stamps!
If your relatives or friends send you something for your birthday or an occasion it’s great to send a thank you note. Also at the end of the semester if you had a great professor or tutor it’s a great gesture. Sending thank you notes really separates you from the crowd.
A small dust pan and hand broom.
You’re going to track dirt into your room. It’s inevitable. Having a small dust pan set is great because you can deal with it quick and not be annoyed when you keep stepping in dirt and dust.
Those are my big essentials based on my experience and here are some other tips I have too!
The “Don’t Forget” List!!
You’re seriously going to regret if you forget this goodies!
- Crappy shower flops, grab them at the dollar store or something but don’t go barefoot!!
- School supplies! It’s school so don’t forget writing utensils, a stapler, notebooks, etc. Don’t go overboard but you need the basics. Post its are a must! (if you use real pencils or colored pencils don’t forget about a pencil sharpener!)
- Lint roller
- A flashlight even if its just a little tiny one
- A big laundry basket or bag, or even two! I always have SO much laundry to do that I have like three different bags/baskets that I can use to transport to and from the laundry room.
- Bandaids! And Neosporin and other medicine things! You’ll need these at one point. Create yourself a nice little medical drawer or first aid kit.
- A calendar of sorts. I use a weekly planner, but you need some for of time tracker. Whether you bring it with you to class everyday or you just have a desk calendar make sure you have something!
- An alarm. Whether it’s your phone, or a watch, or an alarm clock. This is just one of those things you need.
- Blankets, keep your bed cozy. It’s your space and your home!
- Shower caddy
The “Random Things My Parents Got Me That ACTUALLY Came In Handy” List!!
I guess parents really do know best.
- A Sewing Kit! It’s tiny, but came in extremely handy when I ripped my favorite leggings walking up a flight of stairs
- A tool kit. I didn’t need it but at one point someone did and I had it!
- White plastic drawers, big and small, for organization
- Command hooks and strips
- Cleaning stuff, disinfecting wipes, cleaning spray, paper towels
- Hangers, hangers, hangers! Drawer space and closet space is limited but drawer space especially!
The “Don’t Worry About It” List!
Leave these at home.
- A printer. Unless you already have and you want to bring, you really don’t need one so don’t go out and buy a new one. You can print at the library, and chances are you’ll make a friend who has a printer.
- All the clothes I didn’t wear at home that I said I would wear in college but SHOCKER never wore at college. Just be true to who you are in your style. You don’t need to impress anyone so just bring what you know you wear. Your storage is limited so don’t waste it on things you don’t wear.
- You don’t need them! Look at Facebook when you’re missing your friends or school! Or give you friends a text or call to see how they’re doing! I brought my yearbook to school first semester and looked in it once, if that.
- I brought a stack of books to school, but I got caught up in life and schoolwork and never got around to reading them.