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What You Really Need To Pack For College- From A College Graduate

Hey y’all! I wanted to make a post that I’m sure any newcomer into college might need desperately. It’s a list to explain what you ACTUALLY need for college. I’ve been that open-eyed freshman that had no idea what to expect or even what I’d need but being in college for 4 years, dorming for 3 years and commuting for 1 year I think I know what both dorming students and commuter students will need.

So lets get started with dorming students:

  • A Nice Pillow (and some decorative ones)- You will probably have the same pillow for all 4 years so make a small investment in a nice one that wont give you neck problems when you wake up. Also, your dorm is going to be your home basically– get a throw pillow or two to decorate it a little.
  • Mattress and Pillow Protector- YOU NEED IT. Crabs and bed bugs are a real problem that you dont want nor need.
  • A Mattress Topper- I got a memory foam topper that lasted me all 3 years I dormed and it was the comfiest thing ever. A definite must, your back will thank you.
  • Sheets, pillow cases, a comforter, a throw blanket and extra of everything- There will be days where you wont want to do laundry or you accidentally left your laundry in overnight and now your comforter smells like a wet dog. If you have an extra comforter or even just extra sheets, you wont have to worry about waiting until 3AM to go to bed– until the sheets are finally dry and the odor is gone.
  • Small pillow for your desk- Those hard chairs are not fun to sit on for hours on end. A small pillow can save your lower spine.
  • Desk Lamp- This is great because if you share a room and dont want to wake your roommate when you have an 8am or while you’re up studying until 3AM, it is a lot easier to focus where that light is directed. Bring extra light bulbs too!
  • Clip Fan- This little fan will be a life saver when it starts to get hot but also it takes up little to no space!
  • Felt Hangers- The closets are really small so you’ll need the thin felt hangers. The clothes wont slip off and it makes for more room in the closet.
  • Shoe Rack- This is great if you have an apartment with multiple people living there. It’s a great place to store your wet shoes when it rains or snows!
  • Cube Organizer- This thing saved me so much room and allowed me to bring more stuff to school. The cube organizer is generally thin and you can get the cube inserts where you can store underwear/socks/bras/scarves/gloves/wires etc!
  • A Command Strip Hook- When you take a shower you’ll need this to dry your towel so definitely get it!
  • A Clothes Drying Rack- I know a lot of people say it’s a waste but it really isnt. If you have items that cant be put into the dryer, instead of trying to find random places to hang those items this makes it much more simple.
  • Under-Bed Storage Trunks- Trunks are so much better than using plastic drawers because they fit more stuff in them and conserve space
  • Under-Bed Storage Drawer (Medium Sized)- A medium sized storage drawer is great for your medical items (medicine, bandaids, peroxide etc.)
  • Laundry Basket With Wheels- Do not make the mistake I did and get a carry laundry basket. The one with wheels will be so much easier to carry back and forth to the laundry room and sometimes the laundry room will be in a complete other building… and doing laundry in the freezing cold and having to carry a huge heavy laundry basket/bag is awful.
  • Shower Caddie- These are definitely a necessity because you will be carrying this back and forth to your room (word of advise do not get the mesh ones– they will get moldy and smell. The hard plastic is so much better and it will last longer)!
  • Towels- Obviously you’ll need towels. I always brought 4-5 towels, 4 wash cloths and 2 hand towels.
  • Light Up Mirror- Doing your makeup in the dark (especially when your roommate is sleeping) is awful. Get yourself a light up mirror so you dont have to use your phone light lol been there done that.
  • Jewelry Organizers- YOU NEED THIS. My 4 tier earring holder and bracelet holder saved me! It was way easier than trying to untangle a mess or look for 2 of the same earrings at 7:30AM in the dark. I also made a makeshift necklace holder with picture hooks and a wooden picture frame with no glass in it.
  • Makeup Eraser Fabric- This will 100% be so much better than spending a ton of money on makeup wipes

• Stick On Mirrors- The over the door mirrors will get old and they will fall. Get a mirror that can be stuck on the wall!

• Hair Tool Organizers- They might sound ridiculous but they actually came in handy when keeping everything all in one place and try to get a one that is metal so you don’t have to worry about melting it when throwing your curling iron in it or your straightener when you’re in a rush to get to class. Also get one that hangs so you can also hang it on your bed!

• Trashcan- Even if you’re school supplies a trashcan, always get a small one for under your desk. Also, get one with a lid to avoid snoopers looking in your trash can.

• Shower Flip Flops With Holes- Trust me it isn’t a waste of money! The flip flops with the holes drain the water while showering!

• Shower Towel With Velcro and a Bath Robe- These are amazing! You have your hands free to carry your clothes and your caddy without worrying about your towel slipping as you walk down the hallway. Bath robes are great too for when you don’t want to get fully dressed yet while in your dorm doing your makeup or hair etc.

• Bath Rug- If you have an apartment get a washable bath rug. Usually the ones that are foamy, or have a rubber bottom can’t be machine washed. Trust me, it will get crusty. Just grab one that can be machine washed and dried and save yourself the trouble. Also if you’re worried about slipping get a non slip mat for underneath. These can be purchased at the Dollar Store.

• Shower Curtain, Plastic Rings and Liner- This is super important if you have an apartment. You can get the liner for cheap at the dollar store as well as the plastic shower rings. Definitely get the rings and not the hooks because if you don’t know the width of the rod in the shower, it could be too wide for the hooks and they will fall off 24/7. The rods are just easier and cheaper too!

• Refillable Hand Soap Container- Get a refillable Hand soap container. It’s cheaper to buy a huge tub of liquid soap than to buy the individual soaps.

• Poopouri- GET THIS. FOR GOD SAKES. In a communal bathroom it really doesn’t matter but living in an apartment it’s necessary. You don’t want to smell when someone ate too much curry over the weekend.

• Plastic Drawer For Bathroom- If you have an apartment the best thing you can do is get a plastic stackable drawer for the bathroom to put the extra toilet paper as well as tampons/pads.

• Toothbrush Holder with Plastic Toothbrush Heads- Toothbrush holders are great and they keep everything neat. If multiple people will be using the holder get plastic toothbrush heads for each toothbrush so the bristles aren’t touching.

• Stick On Long Mirror For Bathroom- Nothing is worse than not being able to see yourself in a long mirror in the bathroom. Sometimes you need to self tan or you got cut by something and need to bandage yourself. Doing that blindly with no mirror is so terrible. Also I recommend adding command hooks in the bathroom if you have an apartment so you can hang your towels up in the bathroom

• Area Rug, Welcome Mat, and Kitchen rug- This is so important, get an area rug for your dorm or apartment. Even if you have carpet, most times the carpet isn’t clean and tile floors get super cold. Get a neutral color area rug for your dorm or living room. A rubber welcome mat is important because people can have dirty shoes so it’s better to wipe that on a mat rather than leaving it be. Also a small kitchen rug for in front of the sink is important because more likely than not you will be doing dishes and you won’t want to stand on cold tile 24/7. Get all rugs in neutral colors so you can use them every year you are in college.

• Door stop- This is great for moving in and out or even just keeping the door open to get groceries into the dorm or apartment. If you have your own room within the apartment get another one for your own personal door to keep your door open when you wish.

• Wall Art, Tapestries, Decorative Flags, Vases, Decorative Pillows and Throw Blankets, String Lights (Fairy lights are best because they’re thin and aren’t as much of a fire hazard and if your school doesn’t “permit” lights and you are still planning on bringing them I’m not suggesting you do because it is dangerous and you should listen to the rules but these can barely be seen because of the thin wire), etc.- You are going to be here for a while so you might as well make it look nice and homey. 

• Ottoman- I had a small storage ottoman and it was perfect for when you had people over, it acts as a small seat and it provides more storage!

• Dish Drying Rack, Dish towels, and Drying Mat- Yes you need both. The dish drying rack is super important if you have an apartment because hand drying is just not practical when you’re super busy. But also get a drying mat for the items that don’t fit on a drying rack. Dish towels are also necessary for obvious reasons.

• Kitchen Items That ARE NECESSARY: Utensils (Ladles, Wooden Spoon, Scraper, Cheese Grater, Pasta Spoon, Serving Spoon, Pizza Cutter, Can Opener, Bottle Opener, Spatula, Peeler), Flatware, Two Medium Pots, One Sauce Pot, One Frying Pan, One Pyrex Dish, Baking Sheets (If you have an oven/stove for these items. If you do not have a stove, bring a hot plate to cook on), a Utensil Holder, Plastic Tupperware, Strainer, Oven Mits, Pot Holders, Measuring Cups, Bowls, Measuring Spoons,Water Bottles, Lunch Boxes (Bento boxes are the best), Ice Packs, Ice cube trays, Brita Water Pitcher and Filters, Microwave if not provided, Mini fridge if not provided (but if you have an apartment it’s great to hold your drinks, food/snacks that you want no one to touch and alcohol if you are of age in the mini fridge), Toaster oven if you don’t have an oven, blender, Baking Pans, Chip Bag Clips, Trash bags, Extra shopping bags, Cutting Knife Set, Cutting Board, Sponges and a dish brush, Dish Soap, Distilled White Vinegar (PLEASE KNOW THAT YOU SHOULD NOT USE CHEMICALS TO CLEAN A TOASTER OVEN, FRIDGE OR MICROWAVE DISTILLED WHITE VINEGAR IS TO BE USED FOR THIS), Tin Foil, Saran Wrap, Mugs, Plastic Reusable Drinking Tumblers, Throw Away Plastic Cups, To go tumblers and coffee cups, metal/ reusable plastic straws, electric kettle/ stovetop kettle, Toaster.

• Hanging Wall Calendar- It is important to know your schedule especially when you have a lot going on all the time. A wall calendar is great to keep up to date and it forces you to look at it since it’s on your wall

• Vacuum- A vacuum, even a cheap small one is necessary. It gets gross and a broom just isn’t going to cut it all the time.

• Broom- A vroom is important for cleaning obviously and for some reason tiles dorms and apartments are breeding grounds for dust bunnies. It’s definitely necessary.

• Dust Pan and Brush- This is super important especially because if you clumsily break a mug or plate or drop chips on the floor– you’ll need a dust pan and brush!

• Swiffer- SOOOO IMPORTANT. Swiffer can double as a dust mop and a wet mop. Just buy the Swiffer and you can get the wet and dry pads at the Dollar Tree. Save money by doing this!

• Plunger and Toilet Bowl Brush and Stand- Obviously this is important so don’t skimp out on this! Also, this is mainly for those with an apartment/ their own bathroom.

• Duster- You can get a feather duster or a fake Swiffer duster at the dollar tree so you can keep everything dust free for cheap!

• Cleaners and More- An all purpose cleaner, bleach, a toilet bowl cleaner, Lysol Wipes, air freshener, Magic White Erasers, Scrubbing Bubbles Bathtub/Shower Cleaner, Wall Scent Plug-in/ Wax Scent, Laundry detergent or pods, Dryer sheets (Most of this can be found at a dollar store)

• Iron, Tide Stick, Lint Roller, Downy Wrinkle Release Spray and Mini Ironing Board- These things are super important for obvious reasons– to not look like a fuzzy, stained wrinkled mess lol. And if there’s no time to iron– wrinkle release spray is your best bet!

• Small Step Stool- This is definitely necessary for when you need to get in the top part of your closet or in the top cupboard and you can’t reach.

• Television and an Apple TV/ Firestick/ Google Crome/ Roku- Obviously these are important and it’s definitely important to have an additional TV if you have a living room! You can find TV’s on OfferUp, LetGo and FB Marketplace for pretty cheap!

• Cables- Multi-Plug Outlet Plug-In, Surge Protected Power Strip, Indoor Extension Cords, Ethernet Cable, HDMI cable, Portable Charger, 6ft Long charger

• Electronics- Speaker, Headphones, Laptop, Printer (A WORKING PRINTER WILL SAVE YOU FROM BEING LATE MULTIPLE TIMES SO MAKE THE INVESTMENT), Clock, Alexa Echo

• Keurig- This thing is amazing! Definitely a must have and it takes up little room and can be put on your desk in your dorm. I loved having it because I was able to make a lot of food with just the hot water.

• Misc- Brush, Hair Dryer, Straightener, Curling Iron, Hair Care Products, Bosh Wash, Shampoo and Conditioner, Nail Clipper, Nail File, Nail Polish, Loofah, Body Lotion, Deodorant, Skincare Products, Snacks, Instant Foods, Frozen Meals, Canned Soups, Canned Veggies, Pasta (They also have microwaveable pasta), microwaveable rice, Frozen veggies, Cereal, Power Bars, Meal Shakes, Toothpaste, Toothbrush (a separate one from the one you have at home), makeup, floss, mouthwash, bandaids, neosporin, peroxide, rubbing alcohol, pepto bismal, antiacid, tums, NyQuil, DayQuil, Mucinex, Advil, Tylenol, Flu Medicine, Sudafed, 3 Months of Any Medications You Need, Zyrtec/Claritin, Benadryl, Cough Drops, Cough Medicine, Chloraseptic Throat Numbing/ Sore Throat Spray, Multivitamins, First Aid Kit, Mini Sewing Kit, Backpack, Gym bag, 2 Bathing Suits, Umbrella, Formal and Semi Formal clothing, Raincoat, Rainboots, Off Bug Spray, Sunscreen, Glasses Wipes/ Contact Solution, Feminine Hygiene Products, Razor with Extra Blades, Shaving Cream, Sunglasses, Hair Ties, Bobby Pins, Headwraps/headbands, Planner, Highlighters, Notebooks, Index Cards, Stapler and Staples, Envelopes and Stamps, Sticky Notes, Pens and Pencils, Paper and Binder Clips, Tape and Tape Dispenser, Folders, Binders, small bin of arts and craft supplies, Gorilla Glue, copies of important documents (birth certificates etc), Safety Pin, Tool Kit, Bulletin/Dry Erase Board, Candles, Tweezers, Cosmetic Bag/Case, Makeup Remover, Cotton Swaps and cotton balls, Lip Balm.

That is everything for a college student who is living on campus. But what about for those commuting? Well I have another list here for you:

• Get a tall plastic basket for the trunk of your car. You can use your car as a locker so you don’t have to always carry your books everywhere.

• Get a backpack or a big duffel bag to carry your books! I went with a fashionable leather duffle.

• Always bring your computer, and computer charger to school! Keep it in your duffle bag so you don’t forget it.

• Make sure to always bring a charger for your phone (and also keep an extra in the car), and bring a portable charger as well to be extra safe!

• Always keep a pillow, sweatshirt and blanket in your car. I don’t recommend it but I used to take naps in my car in between classes with long waiting periods in between them. Also, you might be wondering what the sweatshirt is for? Well, if you aren’t comfortable with sleeping in the car take your sweatshirt to the library or a couch at the campus and use the sweatshirt as a pillow or blanket.

• Keep non-perishable snacks in your car for the long days where you are also broke and can’t afford to get a bite to eat.

• Always keep emergency cash and an emergency gift card in your glove compartment. This is to only be used if you have no money for gas and you are running on E, and to get yourself a coffee on a really hard day.

• Bring lunch and dinner from home with a bento lunch box! Make sure you get the two tiered one that allows you to use an ice pack to keep the food fresh.

• Faux Leather or Suede gloves to be kept in the car is super important because during the cold months it’s almost impossible to touch a cold steering wheel.

• Try to get a tire pump, traction mats, a battery car jumper, some jumper cables and an emergency car kit just in case something happens.

• Keep a duffle bag of essentials in the car. This is my ultimate advice for a commuter. The duffle bag should contain a compact brush, travel hairspray, emergency touch up makeup, a small travel nail kit, travel downy spray, deodorant, hair ties, an extra outfit, an extra notebook and pencils and pens, a hat, a car straightener (yes, they have these), travel tissues, travel toothpaste, mouthwash and toothbrush.

• Bring a gym bag! If you go to college odds are they are gonna have a gym on campus or they will have a gym in the area. If you go to a corporate gym you can go to the one they have closest to your school and workout during your downtime. You can even take a quick shower there too!

• Bring headphones! You’ll definitely want headphones because you’ll be able to listen to music or watch a show in the library between classes and such!

• Get the tile tracker so you never lose where your car is parked on campus and you can put it in other important things like your keys and your wallet.

I hope these things will help you as you make your way to and through college. Remember to subscribe for email notifications for when I post new content and make sure to comment down below what your thoughts are on this post.

-Stay Chic,

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