The “Secret” College Essentials Packing List
Don’t head back to your dorm until you check THIS out!
There are a million lists out there that tell you all of the essential things to pack for college. And they’ll give you some pretty great advice. The last thing you want to do is get to school and realize that you left something uber important back home. (Although mom’ll mail it, and probably include some cookies, too. Just sayin’!)
But we’ve decided to go a bit deeper. Not just the basic college essentials, but the “secret” must-haves. The stuff you need, but no one tells you about!
Check out the stuff we couldn’t have lived without in our dorms… and how to get it there.
Sure, you knew you had to bring linens, buuuuuut did you know that most college twin beds are extra long? The regular twin bed sheets you buy at Target (Tar-jay if you’re fancy) won’t fit.
And speaking of bedtime and college essentials, don’t forget an eye mask. Post-exam naps are a given when you’ve pulled an all-nighter studying. Block out sunlight and live your best (vampire, day-sleeping) life.
You might want to Facetime with your roomie on this one… But the only way to make your room feel like home is by making it, well, homey. You can decide for yourself which dorm essentials define “homey” for you, but we have one major suggestion: an area rug. Especially if your room has a tile or terrazzo floor. Those early morning classes are a lot less awful if you don’t have to place your warm tootsies on a freezing floor!
Also: fairy or LED lights. So much better than that harsh overhead bulb!
We know you’ve got the phones and the chargers and the printer and all of that good stuff handled. But we’ve got a few extra dorm essentials that you might’ve left off your list.
First up: extension cords. At least one. Because some days you’re just going to want to binge Netflix in bed, and the closest outlet will be too far to keep your laptop charged.
Also: headphones. Really good headphones should be on every “college essentials” list, like, ever. Because remember those Netflix binges? Yeah, your roomie probably doesn’t want to listen to Season 5, Episode 17.
Pro Tip: Make those noise-canceling headphones – just in case your roomie’s watching Episode 18 (spoiler alert!).
Check with your school on this one; not all schools allow you to cook in your room. And if they do, you’ll have a whole bunch of stuff you’ll want to add to your college essentials, from cutlery to microwave-safe bowls to a collapsible strainer.
But the one thing you’ll truly use is an electric kettle. Plug it and boil water for tea, coffee, hot chocolate, whatever you need. Our personal fave: Ramen noodles, aka the 5th food group for broke college students.
Detergent, dryer sheets, stain remover: check, check, and double check. But here’s what you REALLY need: a folding drying rack. Open it up to hang-dry anything delicate – graphic tees, swimsuits, gym gear. Then fold it up and store it under the bed.
Speaking of storing stuff under the bed….
Let’s all be honest: college dorm rooms aren’t exactly known for their storage space. (Hence all the packing lists with “foot locker” in all caps. Have no fear; we know exactly what you need to increase your dorm room storage: bed risers.
Never heard of ‘em? They go under the feet of your bed and raise it several inches off the ground. Bam! Newfound storage space, right under your bed. (You’re welcome.)
You’ll never be without your favorite shampoo, yummy-smelling body wash, and extra-plush towels. But if you’re sharing a community shower, you’ll want shower shoes and a shower caddy, too. Trust us on this one!
Feeling overwhelmed on how to get all your dorm essentials off to school? No worries, we’ve got you covered! Ship your gear straight to school with LugLess. Boxes, luggage: no need to haul them on and off flights. We’ll handle it for you, and for less than the average cost of a checked bag. So you can worry about what really matters: finding a 24-hour taco truck near campus.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s different for everybody, but some of the top must-haves include: clothes (for all types of weather), toiletries, bedding, towels, electronics, office supplies, electronics, laundry and cleaning supplies, and kitchen supplies (if you have a kitchen).
Ship it! Bringing all of your gear on a flight gets expensive (hello, overweight luggage fees!). Ship boxes or suitcases straight to your dorm room and avoid any airport hassles.
Anything too bulky or too heavy can stay at home. This includes appliances (most colleges rent them), sports gear (unless you really need it, and you can usually borrow it from the gym), more than two sheets and towel sets, and cooking appliances (check to make sure they’re allowed first)