A white-walled college dorm room featuring a string of twinkly lights and a dreamcatcher hanging near the head of the bed, a tapestry with a black-and-white map of the world, and a dorm bed with black sheets and a backpack on it.

17 Things Your College Packing List Won’t Mention

You’ve gotten your acceptance letter to college. It’s exciting! Congrats! You’re probably already dreaming about what it’ll be like, who you’ll meet, and most importantly, what you’re going to need. Which is where I’m coming in.

Chances are your college will send you some kind of packing list to give you an idea of what main things to bring. But what they won’t list is the small things that will make your experience that much smoother.

Be sure to pick up these 17 items!


1. Athletic sneakers

Vans and Converse are great, but you’re going to want a pair of athletic sneakers. With all the walking you’re going to be doing around (and off) campus, your feet will thank you for the proper support.

2. Lanyard

These are super handy for keeping your keys and student ID on you. It’s also harder to leave your keys and ID in your room when they’re attached to something brightly colored/patterned.

3. Headphones

College gets loud. You will always need a functioning pair of headphones or earbuds. And pack a backup just in case your main pair breaks or is lost. (Life happens.)

4. Extra sheets and towels

You’re not going to be able to wash these very often, so it’s advisable to bring extras.

5. Water bottle

It’s easier to have a reusable water bottle than plastic ones (and it’s better for the environment!).

6. Snacks

These are necessary for those midnight munchies, study snacks, social hangs, and whenever you don’t feel like leaving your dorm to get food.

7. Brita filter

This is more preference than necessity, but I’ve heard other college students sing praises of having a Brita filter.

8. Plastic drawers

These are so helpful in keeping your things together and are great space savers. They also make moving easier. Check out these wheeled drawers from Target!

9. Throw blanket

Be sure to bring a cozy blanket with you. It’ll be great for cold days and make those Netflix binge sessions (read: avoiding homework) feel amazing. I have a similar blanket to this Amazon one, and it’s the snuggliest thing ever.

10. Extension cord

With all the things you’re going to need plugged in and a limited amount of outlets, this will be insanely helpful.

11. Shower caddy

Hit up your local Target because unless you’re in a suite, it’s communal bathrooms for you, and you can’t leave your shower things there like at home. Also: be sure to wash this every so often to get rid of buildup and avoid mold.

12. Shower shoes

Communal bathrooms can get pretty gross. You’ll thank me for this one.

13. Entertainment

Bring a few books and movies with you. A break from Netflix will eventually be necessary, as shocking as that sounds.

14. First aid kit and medications

Make sure to bring some Ibuprofen, cold medicine, and Band-Aids. Save any trips to the health center for more serious needs.

15. A long charger cord

While an extension cord should help with this problem, it can’t hurt to have a longer charger cord just in case. (Plus it’s a good backup if your usual charger breaks.)

16. Keurig/coffee maker

Some colleges don’t allow these in student rooms, so find out beforehand. This, like the Brita filter, isn’t necessary, but it is handy if you live off coffee. And as a college student, that’s going to happen.

17. Printer

I cannot stress this one enough. Even in our digital age, many professors prefer things to be handed in physically. And with all the classes you’re going to take, and all the assignments, there’s going to be a lot of printing. Most campuses have printers around, but charge per page. Make the investment and get a printer that will last you long beyond college.


*Originally posted on Odyssey

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