College Packing List

It’s that time of year again! College acceptances are coming out, and everybody’s getting excited about school! (Okay, maybe only nerds like me are getting excited about school, but still.) With all the high school seniors starting to think about where they’ll be next year (and the transfers leaving home for the first time), I figured I’d update my college packing list, only this time with a year of experience under my belt. So here it goes!

First, a couple of comments on last year’s list:

2 sets of sheets (twin xl)

Everybody says to pack at least 2 sets of sheets, but I find that it just makes me put off doing laundry for even longer. The only good use I’ve found for my second sheet set is keeping the mattress on my second bed (I don’t have a roommate anymore) covered so that people can sit on it.

Throw pillows

Cute, but not super useful

Mattress pad/foam topper

Absolutely essential

Throw blanket

Also essential

Sleeping bag

Never used. Actually, I never even brought it to school because my brother used it before I left, and then he refused to clean it.

Extra blanket

Also never used it; sent it home after Fall Break

Under-Bed Storage

Still in the packaging.


Super useful both for hanging my jackets when I’m not using them and for hanging my shower caddy, both for storage and while in the shower, since there’s no shelf or hook or anything in my dorm shower.

Printer Paper

I can’t find my printer paper. There have been several times when it would have been useful, but it’s mysteriously disappeared.

Stapler & Staples

Super handy, but not absolutely essential


Ask me when I last used my ruler.

Paper Clips

Needed so often, and I always had to beg, borrow, or steal from a classmate.


Super handy. I recommend more than one, just in case. You never know when your computer will crash, so it’s always a good idea to BACK EVERYTHING UP. Also, a couple of cheap, low-storage flashdrives might be useful in case a friend needs one or you lose it or whatever may come up.


My hair, specifically my bangs, grew out to a point where I no longer needed to straighten it every day, so I sent my straightener home, and of course as soon as I did, I got my hair cut and have to pull my bangs back every day because they really look better straightened.

Blow Dryer

I hardly ever use it, but that’s probably based on your habits and who you are as a person.

Bath Mat *

Not at all necessary. Why did I put this on the list?

Shower Shoes

I don’t use shower shoes because I am a klutz and always slip on them. I know it’s super gross, but shower shoes are hazardous to my health. Plus our bathrooms get cleaned daily during the week.

Air Freshener

Helpful. Dorm rooms always smell weird, no matter how clean they are.

Broom and Dust Pan *

I had to buy a broom and dust pan during my second semester. I’ve only used it a few times, and it’s theoretically possible to check out a broom from the community office, but having it in my room makes me much more likely to actually sweep.

Vacuum *

Never got it. Never needed it, even with my carpet. I do know some people who have little miniature vacuums, but they also never use them.

Sanitizing Wipes

Super useful, especially for when you first move in and need to clean everybody else’s nastiness out of your room.

Toilet Brush *

I don’t have my own bathroom, so I never needed this.

Trash Can*

Even if your roommate brings a trashcan, it’s a good idea to bring your own (small) one. There will be fights over whose turn it is to take out the trash, and there will be many times when you’re too lazy to get out of bed to throw something away across the room.


Get one that fits under your bed.

Lint Roller

Now that I don’t live with any pets, I don’t have fur and lint all over my clothes, so I never needed a lint roller.

Water Bottles

Definitely a must. So important that I actually put it on my previous list twice.

Water Pitcher

I just have a really big water bottle that I fill up in the fountain. It gets me out of my room for a minute and lets me keep track of how much water I’ve had without taking up space in my fridge.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

I don’t actually bake that often because my dorm’s kitchen is super scary, but the measuring cups/spoons have come in handy a lot, for me and my friends.


Check your school’s policy on the size constraints of knives. And plan accordingly.


I neither have a funnel, nor have ever needed one.

Pot Holders*

All the dorms on my campus have potholders in the kitchens, but I bring my own because they’re better and sometimes people steal the community ones.

White Board (Markers, Magnets, etc.)

I actually have two boards: one for my door and one to make lists/work out code on.


I sent my storage ottoman home at Winter Break. It held my extra blanket and towels and stuff. I sent home the blanket and only have one spare towel which fits nicely at the top of my wardrobe.


A full-length mirror would have been super helpful. As it is, I have a tiny makeup mirror and make do.


More helpful than I ever could have imagined. I never realized how little I’m in the rain while at home, just running from the house to the car and back. Now that I walk everywhere, my umbrella is my best friend. I’ve been a drowned rat more times than I can count.

Tap Lights

I really like my tap lights, but I never actually use them.

Mace *

I never actually got Mace. It would probably make myself and my parents feel more comfortable about me walking around alone at night. Instead, I lace my keys through my fingers. However, I’ve never had a problem walking alone at night, even off campus. This is just me being paranoid, but as a girl you can never be too cautious. Make sure you check your state’s laws about pepper spray before you buy, though! If it’s illegal where you live, there are little metal stabby things shaped like cats and dogs that you can attach to your keys as a pretty good alternative.


I’ve actually only used my flashlight when the power went out in my building, and even then only inside my room, since there were emergency lights in the hallway.


The food in the dining hall is so bland that I haven’t had heartburn since being at school, so I haven’t needed TUMS.

For the rest of the list, check out my previous post. Happy packing!

Is there anything I left off the list that everyone absolutely needs to pack? Or anything you found helpful that isn’t on there? Or maybe something that’s on there that you didn’t need? Let me know in the comments!


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