The somewhat elusive college packing list. Sure it seems like all those lists on the internet are comprehensive. But, here’s the funny thing, reader: you never really know if you packed everything you need. You can go off those lists and what other people say, but you never actually know if you packed everything until about a month into the school year. To help you out, though, I can give you a list of things that I have purchased and what information I've gathered from websites and since I arrived.
Hygiene and medical needs
You need to start with your dorm room essentials. Something to keep in mind when purchasing hygiene products: what do you use daily? If you are living in dorms, you most likely will not need toilet paper and hand soap, but if you are in other housing arrangements, you will need to purchase these yourself. Other items to bring are toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body soap, Q-Tips, razors, shaving cream, manicure kit, shower shoes, bathrobe, and towels. Medical items to have include your health insurance card (in case of emergencies), prescription medicines and the information regarding their refills, pain killers, stomach relief, relief for sore throats, allergy medications, tissues, hand sanitizer (Bath & Body Works unusually has a sale on them right now), and a first aid kit. I purchased a first aid kit for my suite room, and I bought a small $1 first aid kit for my bag to keep on me in case of emergencies. I also stocked up on common over-the-counter medicines. (I figured if all else fails for making friends, I can be the makeshift nurse for my floor and make connections that way.)
You will need a comforter or two depending on the temperature of your room and how comfy you want your bed. You’ll need pillows, a mattress pad, and twin XL bed sheets (don’t go for the regular bed sheets—they won’t fit). Also, it’s not needed, but rather wanted on my behalf: I purchased a mattress cover. This will help in case anything is in the mattress and puts a barrier in between it and my sheets.
It’s nice to have things that make your side of the room stand out and look interesting and appealing to others, but most importantly yourself. This is a place you will be living in for a year. I’ve heard don’t bring anything from high school because it will make you become homesick a whole lot faster, so my décor is themed. I am going for a traveling theme. I have posters of Paris and New York, inspirational posters about traveling, and pictures of my friends and family. I wanted to make it feel comfortable for me to live in. Make sure you have command strips to hang everything up though. They are reliable and won’t damage the walls.
It’s almost like shopping for high school, but a little more complex. This time you must purchase or rent your own textbooks, so make sure you budget that. Other things you will need include college-ruled notebooks, loose-leaf paper, folders, report covers, stapler and staples, tape, 3-hole punch, binders, scissors, index cards, Post-it notes, pens, pencils (both mechanical and #2), erasers, highlighters, rubber bands, graphing calculator, paper clips, binder clips, and an academic planner.
Random stuff you’ll want that doesn’t fit into the previous categories include dorm room storage bins, hangers, flashlight, umbrella, defense spray, laundry hamper, chargers, laptop, extension cords, noise-cancelling headphones, alarm clock, cleaning products, desk organizer, and storage containers to pack away that extra food from the cafeteria. I purchased a lot of my items in bulk and over the past five months to make things easier on me. This may not be a complete list of items—there will be other things you might need/want such as a microwave, refrigerator, or an iron and ironing board. You should see if your school has a list of approved items, and be sure to check with your roommate to make sure you’re not bringing duplicate items that will take up a ton of space.
I wish you all luck packing up and moving on to bigger and brighter things. This is a new chapter for all of us, and I hope you all do amazing things. I cannot wait to walk into this new chapter, and with the help of CollegeXpress, hopefully I can walk through it with you guys. Together is how we are all going to stay strong. I consider you my readers my friends, and I hope my advice will help you guys succeed in college. We all deserve success!
For more advice on adjusting to life in college, check out our Student Life section.