What To Pack For College

My freshman year, I remember scouring the internet to figure out what to pack, what not to bring, and how to organize myself for college.

I feel like I packed pretty well for college, but I simply didn’t use some of the things I brought, and had to order a few other items on Amazon.

I’ve created a list of all the things I wish I had packed Freshman year, so that you can make sure you have everything you need (and nothing you don’t).

Some Tips to Get Started:

Tip 1: Pre-order your items

If you wait until you get to campus to buy things for your room, you may not be able to find what you need. The Bath Bath & Beyond/Target/Home stores are always swarmed with people on move-in day and they often run out of items.

If you live out of driving distance from your school, you can order your items from Bed, Bath, and Beyond ahead of time and have them held at the store for you when you arrive.

Just to be safe, I shipped everything to my house and brought it all in the car so that I knew I had everything, but this option may not be feasible for everyone.

Tip 2: Decide on a theme for your room

If you have a roommate, you should definitely plan out a color scheme for your room. You can both use different prints/designs to show your personality, but the room will be more calming, more easy on the eyes, and have a more cohesive energy if you use a color scheme.

My roommate and I have an all-white room with gold and pink accents to keep the theme cohesive and to make the space feel more open and calming. Some of my other favorite color schemes are:

  • Black & White
  • Preppy Pink & Green
  • Green Earth Tones
  • Purple

Tip 3: Use a packing list so that you don’t forget anything

I’ve made a packing list especially for my readers that includes everything you should bring to college. To get it, subscribe here.

A comprehensive list of ALL the things you need to pack for college, organized by parts of the room:

Bedding

The bed is the largest piece of furniture and the most significant decoration piece in your room. If you have a roommate, it’s super fun to buy coordinating bed spreads.

Also, make sure that everything you buy is Size Twin XL so that it fits on your bed.

  • Mattress cover – to put over your mattress (but under your mattress pad) so that you never have to touch the college’s mattress
  • Foam topper (you will need this – college mattresses are SUPER HARD AND UNCOMFORTABLE) or
  • Memory foam mattress pad – this one is so comfy & nice, if you can splurge I’d highly recommend a memory foam mattress topper over the egg crate one
  • Bed risers – you can store so much under your bed if you raise it up a few feet
  • Under-bed storage units – lots of people kept snacks/extra blankets/sweatshirts under their beds
  • Bed skirt – to cover the stuff you store under your bed
  • Twin XL sheets
  • Twin XL duvet coverI love the ones from Urban Outfitters
  • Pillows – for a twin bed I used two large pillows &…
  • A few throw pillows – if you have too many pillows they’ll just end up on the floor and defeat their purpose of making your room look ~trendy~
  • Pillowcases – use satin pillowcases to make your hair shiny & less frizzy
  • Knit throw blanket – for naaaapss
  • Sleep mask – I love this silk one from Urban

Desk

Keep your desk simple. You’ll probably have a lot of late-night study sessions here, so don’t clutter your workspace with too many items.

Or, if you’re like me and study at the library, you can turn your desk into a vanity and just keep your mirror/makeup supplies here.

  • Desk lamp
  • Desk calendar – I love this one since you can color the designs in & it helps you keep track of exams and large projects
  • Plannerthis one by Kate Spade is so pretty
  • LED Mirror – I use mine in the mornings when I need to get ready and need a light to put makeup on but don’t want to wake my roommate up
  • Makeup organizer – I finally invested in one so that I could stop living out of my makeup bag
  • Style station – to hold your hair dryer, straightener, curling iron, and brushes
  • My favorite desk chair – Note: If it’s your freshman year, you probably won’t be able to bring your own desk chair (your RA may check your room to make sure you haven’t put any new furniture it) – also this clear desk chair can be monogrammed & is super cute
  • Acrylic pencil holder
  • Printer – you’ll definitely want to be able to print essays/lab reports in your room
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Stapler
  • 3-hole punch
  • iClicker – so many of my lectures have used these to take attendance

For the room

  • Floor lamp – the lighting in dorm rooms is often dingy at best, so you’ll want another lamp to brighten up the room
  • Area rug – make sure you approve this rug with your roommate
  • Mini-fridge – check and see if you’re allowed to get a mini fridge – you can also rent one
  • Brita I love love love my Brita and use it every day – definitely get one like this that you fill all at once, the filter-as-you-go ones are so slow
  • Bedside table – if you have room in your dorm
  • Bedside lamp – I love this one and this one
  • Posters
  • Photos of your family & besties from home
  • Adhesive hooks and strips – these ones are the best & don’t tear off the wall paint
  • Curtains
  • Curtain rods & curtain hangers
  • Fan – many dorms don’t have AC so this is absolutely essential
  • Trash can – if your dorm doesn’t supply one
  • Extension cord – dorm rooms have a limited number of outlets

School Supplies

Don’t go overboard on the school supplies.

Your school store will have everything you need, and it’s fun to go shopping for cute pens/pencil cases/binders with your friends the first week of school.

Check out this post all about how I organize my backpack & study supplies for school.

Closet

Dorm closets can be very small, so make sure you use these space-saving units to fit the maximum amount of clothes into your closet.

Also,check out my post about my favorite fall outfits to wear on campus.

  • Shoe rack – this one expands to perfectly fit in your closet – my roommate and I have a larger one since our house this year has larger closets
  • Plastic drawers – my freshman year I kept socks/bras/underwear in these drawers, and some of my sweaters in these drawers
  • Hangers – I like to use these black velvet hangers to give my closet a cohesive look
  • Pants hangers – these save me so much space when hanging my shorts/skirts up
  • Hanging mirror – you can hang this on your closet door or on the wall
  • Laundry carrier – I used a bag instead of a basket so that it was easier to carry downstairs to do my laundry

Bathroom

  • SHOWER SHOES – you need to wear flip-flops in public showers
  • Shower caddy – most dorm bathrooms have small shelves so you’ll want to carry you supplies to the shower each time
  • Towels/washcloths
  • Robe – if you & your roomie are extra you can get matching monogrammed ones
  • All of your makeup/hair supplies/toiletries

Cleaning essentials

  • Tide pods
  • Fabric softener
  • Tide to go stick
  • Dryer sheets
  • Dryer balls – college laundry machines often need a little extra help
  • Lingerie bag – I put all of my bras/socks/underwear because college laundry machines literally EAT your laundry
  • Iron – although your dorm will probably have one
  • Lint roller

Other items you probably wouldn’t think about

  • Happy Lamp – if you go to school in the Northeast where it’s dark all the time, you can use this light that simulates natural light to beat seasonal depressive disorder and to help you wake up in the morning – I use mine in the winter when I’m putting on my makeup for the day
  • Himalayan salt lamp – these lamps are said to cleans the air of impurities and they provide a nice warm glow to your room
  • Long phone charger – especially if you’re in the top bunk you’ll want a longer charger
  • Mini fan – I clipped this one on my top bunk to stay cool at night
  • Band-aids & Neosporin – you will probably get blisters in your first few weeks of school from walking SO MUCH so be prepared & wear the right shoes!
  • Beach towel – for going swimming (or gorging as we call it in Ithaca) or laying out on the quad
  • Yoga mat – yoga is a great way to destress in college
  • Heated massage pillow – I got this Freshman year and used it to de-stress after exams & it was ah-mazing

Want more college tips? Check out my other posts:

How to Stay Healthy In College

Fall College Outfit Ideas

Best Comfortable & Stylish Shoes to Wear on Campus

And one of my favorite posts: 

The Best Apps to Use to Make Money (just from walking, shopping at stores you already shop at, and doing surveys)!

I hope this list helps you organize everything you need to pack for college. Are there any essentials that I missed?

What to pack for college at an Ivy League school from Blonde Biology.

7 thoughts on “What To Pack For College”

  1. Wow, what a great list. I wish I saw this for when I was moving into college! I am working on a college lifestyle blog as well, the best of luck to you girl!!

    1. So glad you liked it! And it’s definitely applicable to apartments, I referred back to this list when I moved into my college house this year.

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