The Only College Packing Guide You'll Need

By Brittany Loeffler on August 23, 2017

It’s that time of year again! It’s time to start your college packing and to move into your new dorm room or apartment. There is a mixture of excitement, frustration, and being overwhelmed. How are you supposed to know what to pack?

How are you supposed to pack everything into your parents’ four-door sedan? Well, it’s a good thing you found the only college packing list you’ll ever need!

via Pixabay 


This may be one of the hardest parts of college packing: choosing which clothes to take and which clothes to leave behind. Unfortunately, you can’t bring everything in your closet with you so only bring the essentials. Bring outfits for during the week and going to class. This can range from summer dresses to jeans and a t-shirt to sweatpants; it’s up to you! Bring a variety.

Next, make sure to pack some more professional clothing for job and internship interviews or career fairs. Make sure to also add in some formal wear or outfits you feel your best in for when you go out on the weekends with your friends. Lastly, bring your comfy clothes! There’s nothing more uncomfortable than studying in the library at 2 a.m. in your skinny jeans.

To pack your clothing, instead of folding it like you would when you put it away in your drawer, roll it up. This saves some major space and will cut down on the number of bags you bring. Also, only pack for the summer and fall months. During winter break you can switch out your clothes and then once again for spring break.


Don’t be one of those smelly college kids parents complain about. Avoid this by adding some essential toiletries to your college packing list. If you are in a dorm and have to share a communal bathroom, make sure to bring a shower caddy to hold all of your soaps and shampoos. This way you can roll right out of bed and be shower ready! That being said, don’t forget your shampoos, conditioners, soaps, toothbrush, and toothpaste!

I would also recommend packing a bathrobe. When you’re locked out of your room and have to go to your RA to get an extra key, wouldn’t you rather be in your robe than a towel that is a tad too small?

Bedding and Room Essentials

Your dorm room will be your new home for the next nine months, so you might as well decorate it to portray your personality! Buy a comfortable bedding set to keep you warm during the night. Make sure to check with your school about what size the mattresses in the dorms are. Once you figure that out, buy your linens and a mattress pad. I would also recommend bringing a mattress cover because you never know who else has slept in that bed.

Bring some posters, rugs, and pictures to decorate your side of the room. String lights are also a favorite amongst college students to brighten up their room or to add a calming and intimate feel.

Extra Storage

It’s important to keep in mind that you will be in a small room with at least one other person. Shop around for some extra drawers that you can put under your bed or some storage bins for your books. Amazon offers a complete storage kit for tidy living that would be a huge space saver when living in a dorm room.

via Pixabay

Laundry Essentials

Is it your first time doing laundry? I promise it’s not that hard. Just follow this tutorial and you’ll be set! Make sure to include detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, a hamper, and a laundry basket in your college packing. If you have to pay for laundry, stop by the bank to get a couple rolls of quarters.

Kitchen Supplies and Snacks

The dining hall won’t always be open and sometimes you may get tired of eating pizza and salad. So when you have a craving during an all-nighter, make sure you have what you need to make yourself some food in your dorm room! Bring some lightweight plastic dishes and bowls, utensils, and cups that are microwave safe. Don’t forget a sponge so you can wash them!

As for snacks, there are plenty of nonperishable foods that college students keep in their dorm rooms. Microwavable macaroni and cheese is a popular one and of course ramen noodles. I would also recommend keeping some bagels and a jar of peanut butter.

via Pixabay

School Supplies

College isn’t all fun and games. Don’t forget the real reason you are there. You don’t want to show up on the first day of class unprepared, so make sure you add school supplies in your college packing.

Buy a notebook and folder for each class, new pens and pencils, and of course your textbooks! Keeping an agenda or planner is also beneficial for staying organized and on top of assignments.

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