College Packing Lists, because it’s that time of the year…

Summer is coming to a close :(…and that means college kids are going to or back to school. 🙁 🙁   Since packing for college was my inspiration for starting this blog, I thought I’d provide some new lists, but will also provide links to my original posts, from way back when. 🙂  And yes, I’m already getting all weepy with the thought of Meredith going back.  And no, it doesn’t get easier each year.
No two students’ needs are exactly the same, but this incomplete list is a great place to start.  I’ve also included 2 lists in the blog, so you can print this and mark down exactly what you need.  Then you can mark up this list with items that I (or the author’s of these 2 lists) may have forgotten.  I’ve also interspersed some photo’s of great dorm rooms, to give you ideas of ways to organize your room!
At the end of this blog I’ve also included a link to a Printable list of college essentials, in case you don’t want to read through this entire blog and be engaged with the lovely photo’s of dorm rooms. 🙂 🙂 🙂


  • Wallets & Purses
  • Pre-Paid Credit Cards
  • Driver’s License
  • Social Security Card
  • Photo ID
  • Student ID
  • Small amount of Cash
  • Luggage
  • Medicines (Prescription & Over-The-Counter)
  • Medical Insurance Card
  • Registration Information
  • Financial Aid Forms
  • Road Map


  • Prescription Glasses
  • Pants/Shorts/Dresses for daily use
  • Tops/Shirts for daily use
  • Shoes as needed (class, gym, shower, etc.)
  • Socks/Hose
  • Undergarments
  • Belts
  • Robe
  • Sweaters
  • Outerwear (even in warm areas a light jacket is a good idea)
  • Swimsuit
  • Gym Clothes


  • Comb and/or Hairbrush
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Razor
  • Shaving Cream
  • Soap
  • Feminine Items
  • Shampoo
  • Hair Dryer
  • Curling Iron
  • Straightener
  • Q-Tips or similar
  • Tweezers
  • Towels
  • Washcloths
  • Hand/Body Lotion
  • Fingernail and Toenail Clippers
  • Cosmetics
  • Soap Holder
  • Toothbrush Holder
  • Bath Rug
  • Aspirin or ibuprofen
  • Vitamins
  • Cough Drops
  • Hairstyling Products
  • Dental Floss


  • Camera & Memory Card (or 35MM Film)
  • Laptop Computer & Charger
  • Speakers for Laptop Computer
  • Cellphone & Charger
  • Batteries
  • MP3 players
  • Game Consoles
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Microwave/Toaster Oven
  • Coffee Maker (Keurig is totally the way to go)
  • Small Refrigerator
  • Alarm Clock


  • Sheets and Pillowcases
  • Pillows
  • Mattress Pad
  • Blankets
  • Clothes Hamper/Laundry Bag
  • Laundry Marking Pen
  • Rolls of Quarters (for laundry, not for beer pong)
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Fabric Softener (dryer sheets are a good option for this)
  • Iron/Ironing Board (or Steamer)
  • Clothes Hangers


  • Backpack
  • Notebooks
  • Folders
  • Paper
  • Calendar
  • Calculator
  • Desk Lamp
  • Highlighters
  • Pens & Pencils
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Pen/Pencil Cup
  • Stapler & Staples
  • Tape
  • Stackable Desk Trays
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Paper Clips
  • Waste Basket
  • Desk/Computer Chair (as necessary)
  • Three-Hole Punch
  • Envelopes
  • Stamps


  • Fan
  • Odor Eliminator
  • Memo Board & Pens
  • Night Light (;) )
  • Posters
  • Potted Plants (I think this is silly, as not sure many college students will focus on watering their plants)
  • Corded Telephone (again, silly…I think only a cell phone is the way to go)
  • Trash Bags
  • Hand Vacuum
  • Flashlight (and batteries)
  • Underbed Storage Boxes (and Bed Raisers to hold more under bed storage boxes)

Because no list is ever complete, and different for all, I’ve included a Second list…some things on this college packing list you really need and others you really want. Here’s a reminder list to help you decide.  Some are duplicates from what the previous list indicated, so clearly no need to double up on a coffee maker. 🙂  And a mini Keurig is totally the way to go, btw. 🙂
For the bed:
Mattress pad
Eggshell cushion
2 sets twin sheets (usually extra-long)
2 pillows
A body pillow is great for getting comfy to study in bed
Sleeping bag (for guests)
Alarm clock
Beside light or clip-on bunk light
Fan (For white noise for sleeping/studying)
For the desk:
Course catalog for your college
Computer and printer
Computer stand or shelves to customize desk
Computer manuals
Power strip with surge protector for computer
Reference for writing papers
Foreign language dictionary
Bulletin board for over your desk
Wall calendar
Desk lamp
Sticky notes
Address book
Book of stamps
Glue stick
Light bulbs
Paper clips
Pencil Sharpener
Poster gum
Rubber bands
Stationery/thank you notes
Ink for printer
Ream of printer paper
Spiral notebooks/folders
For the closet:
Maximize tight space with:
Hangers for multiple skirts/pants
Multiple tops hangers
Over the door shoe bag
Drop bar to double hanging space (picture below)
Rolling plastic storage drawers
Floor length mirror (you can get these at Target for $5)
Raincoat/jacket/rain boots
For laundry:
Laundry bag
Laundry basket
Laundry soap/fabric softener
Stain remover/wrinkle releaser/Tide Pen
Iron/mini ironing board
Drying rack
Goodie Kit:Get a plastic shoebox or tackle box for this. Everyone will be borrowing this stuff.Duct tape (for posters that refuse to stick to the wall)
Poster gum Needle, thread, extra buttons
Packaging tape
Safety pins
Tools needed to take apart bunks or lofts or a thousand other things
Screwdrivers (regular and Phillips)
Assorted nails/screws
For your kitchen:
Coffee mug with a lid
Plates, cups, bowls
Sharp knife
Small pitcher
Dishwashing liquid
Can opener
Bottle opener
Sponge and towel (washing dishes)
Plastic wrap –  for the leftovers you swipe from the cafeteria 🙂
Bowl (large plastic bowl is used for serving food or for washing dishes)
For the bathroom:
Shower shoes
Cup for brushing teeth
Glasses/contact lens
Nail clipper
Fingernail goodies
Shower caddy
Soap dish (or bottle)
Over the door hook for your towel
Shower flip-flops
Face wash
Extra toothbrush
Beach towel
If you are in a suite and share a bathroom with just a few roomies then you will also need:
Shower floor mat
Caddy to hang in shower for soaps
Cleaning supplies (Windex, toilet and tub cleaner, sponge, brush, paper towels)
Dorm First Aid Kit:
Pain reliever
Band-aids and antibiotic ointment
Cold medicine
Cough drops
Stomach medicine
Allergy medicine
Prescription medicines
For Your pocket:
Phone calling card
Key chain with id pouch
Credit card
Debit Card
Physician/insurance cards
Important phone numbers
Social security card
Driver’s license or photo ID
College ID
For your room:
Wipe-off message board for your dorm door
Air freshener
Mementos to remind you of home
Photo Album
Stereo, if not using computer for CDs
CD holder
Power strip for other electrical stuff
Extension cords
Phone extension cord
Video Games
Cards/board games
Portable music player
Sports equipment
Musical instrument
Storage crates or boxes
Snack food/drinks
This above picture is from an “unnamed” college student…and this is a How Not to Pack photo.
© COMSTOCK/THINKSTOCK – The Internet is full of checklists that can help you and your child find the essentials for dorm room living. But some items often get disregarded and others don’t get put on the packing list at all. Here are 11 items you should be sure to pack in the car, or purchase once you arrive on campus with your child.
1.  Portable fan Many dorms are not air-conditioned, but opening the windows in the late summer heat could attract bugs. Having a small fan next to the bed will keep your child cool at night without disturbing their roommate.

2.  Office chair Your child’s school will provide a desk chair, but it may be uncomfortable. Think about investing in a wheeled office chair to replace the old wooden one given to your child, which will make those long nights of studying much easier.

3.  DVDs Movies will be a great way for your child to take a break from studying. Be sure to pack their favorite movies and TV shows, which they can share with their roommates and friends on the weekends.

4.  Disinfecting wipes A new school year can mean exposure to new germs, especially if your child is living with a roommate. Pack plenty of disinfecting wipes for things like doorknobs and faucets, which will help your child stay healthy.

5.  Plunger If the toilet or sink is clogged, and maintenance can’t get there fast enough, your child will need a plunger nearby. Keep one in the bathroom in case of mishaps.

6.  Flip-flops Living in a dorm often means sharing a bathroom with numerous people. Pick up a pair of flip-flops at the dollar store that your child can wear in the shower, to keep their feet free of any bacteria.

7.  Dish soap Many dorms now feature sinks in each room, which means your child will need to stay on top of the dishes. Purchase a bottle of dish soap large enough to last them through the year.

8.  Fly swatter If your child is living in a dorm, especially on the first floor, bugs will be unavoidable. He or she will want a fly swatter to take care of fast-moving or stubborn creatures.

9.  Dry-erase boards with adhesives Sticking a dry-erase board on the front of the door, or on the wall in the bedroom, will allow your child to write messages to their friends, as well as remind themselves of important to-do list items. Pick up one or two at the campus bookstore, along with markers and an eraser.

10.  Extension cords and power strips TV, DVD player, computer, printer, hair dryer – your child will need a lot of outlets at school. Make sure they bring at least one power strip, with plenty of extension cords to reach under the desk or bed.

11.  Printer As soon as classes start, your child will hit the ground running with assignments. But printing at the library may cost money. Instead, send your child to school with a printer of their own, fully stocked with ink cartridges and paper.

… And don’t forget the duct tape. It’ll come in handy at some point during the school year.


This is a Printable list of college essentials.
Best of luck College Students!  Be Safe.  Make Good Choices…and have the Time of Your Life!  🙂
And Mer Mer…you don’t leave till next week and I miss you already!! 🙁
PS – My blog passed 200,000 views this week.  May I say I’m tickled Pink by that?! 🙂
PSS…Hello Mr. Manning…How nice to see you play this evening (though this photo is of him off the field, but I like how well you can see his name 🙂 ).  I’m sorry my Bears didn’t show up to play today.  Perhaps on our next playdate!  🙂


  1. Wow, that’s a lot to think about. They really sock it to you. I not only have to deal with parting with my first born…but I have to deal with the organization of all this stuff! Perhaps its just a distraction, to take your mind off the emotions of a college sendoff? Your first comic is so true…but I am ready for him to fly this nest and start the rest of his life. If I say it enough times, I will believe it. (I am ready, I am ready, I am ready….)

    200,000 hits, well my my, not surprised, this is a fun and informative blog. Let’s celebrate!

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