Going off to college is a huge, exciting change! There is so much happening, sometimes you dont even know where to start! I know I definitely overpacked when I left for school and my poor parents had to help me move all of it around! Here, i want to share with you what is essential for you to bring to college and some insights that will help make packing a whole lot easier! We will talk about whats good to pack by area, like bedroom, closet, kitchen, desk, bathroom, backpack, and car. Lets go!
Lets start with items for your bedroom…
Bedding for a Twin or Twin XL bed. Check with your housing/apartment complex to see which they provide. Twin XL and Twin beds are very different, one sheet will not fit the other! Twin XL’s are a bit longer but thats about it. Consider the average weather while you will be there. If its sunny and 85 all the time, you don’t want to bulk up on blankets. If its going to be snowing and cold 80% of your time there, bring more blankets or get a very cozy comforter and material that will hold heat better, like flannel.
- Comforter- I thought I had bought a twin comforter but it ended up being a queen, so I could have totally brought my blanket from home. I love being wrapped up so I was okay with the extra blanketness!
- Sheets. Heres a 5 piece bed set from Amazon
- Pillows (sleeping and maybe decorative, 1 or 2)
- Bed topper- Super important if you want to save your back and actually sleep well! Get a 1 inch mattress topper, preferably memory foam. Anything over 1 inch is even better! This will help your quality of sleep and comfort so much because some beds are old or indestructible. These are not synonymous with comfort. Trust me on this one. Here is Amazons choice for a bed topper
- Small fluffy/fuzzy rug to make your small space a bit more homey and comfy. Sheepskin rug from Amazon
- Bed risers- Sold at Walmart for pretty cheap. most complexes wont let you take cinderblocks in to raise your bed. Helps with increasing storage room. Round hole bed risers found here
- Underbed storage- If you choose to put your bed on risers you’ll have more room to store things. May have to buy after you raise your bed to see what will fit. May be a cloth zip up box or plastic bins. Varies according to storage space available under your bed! Best Seller on Amazon right here
- Wax warmer and/or essential oil diffuser- I love the sound of the diffuser at night and usually they change colors which is super relaxing at night! Wax warmers are also super fun and are perfect to get the right vibe and feel in your personal space!
Now lets talk about your closet!
Closet space is going to be extremely different everywhere! The main thing I would rely on though is that there will probably be few to no drawers space. Mostly hanging and shelves. To me, that means little privacy if you are sharing a room! So here are a few tips:
- Plastic three drawer organizer- very prominent at Target and Walmart. Some are extra wide and low, some are tall and skinny. Lots of options for your space. Buy when you get to your apartment. Easy to store undies, bras, socks, and more personal clothing and care items. Buy more than one too!
- Thin plastic hangers- You want to utilize your hanging space as much as possible, so the thinner the hanger, the more clothing you can cram on the rack! Hangers with plastic nubs on the shoulders or velvet hangers work well to not have clothing slip off. TJ Maxx, Ross are the best place Ive seen for selection of thin hangers. Find velvet hangers here
- Shoe storage- Find a place to put your shoes! In such a small place that you share it will get messy! No one wants your shoes by the door either, so they have to go in your small room. Find hanging shoe storage for your door or get a rack that will fit in on the floor somewhere.
- Laundry hamper- make it multipurpose for a hamper and a carrier to the laundry room and back. And durable. Mine fell apart in 3 weeks. Lame. Heres a plastic collapsible basket and here is a cute fabric one that will both work perfectly!
- Jewelry organizer
- Duffel bag- for packing, easily collapsable and wont take up space afterward.
Kitchen and cooking packing…. This one is difficult.
Let me say this first. You don’t need as much as you think you do when it comes to packing your cooking items! And you don’t need to buy it all brand new either. Or all of it before you leave even, because you can acquire more items as you advance as a single student cooking for yourself. I bought a lot of things new to go to school and i regret some of that. Some things i thrifted too, and i was super happy with that! One thing to remember is that your items will be in a community living area of the kitchen, so if you don’t want your things to get snagged, don’t bring quality items and don’t bring items that look like what everyone else has. If you thrift items, you can easily customize them without fear of ruining a more expensive item. Let me show you what I did…
- Cutlery- I thrifted some cute forks, knives, and spoons and then personalized them by spray painting the ends of each of the handles with colors I liked, and finished with a clear coat. I had unique cutlery that I liked and no one would get it mixed up with mine!
- Rice cooker- super easy and convenient. Rice is cheap too when you’re a college student on a budget.
- Mini Crockpot/Slow cooker- I LOVED my slow cooker! I would throw in some frozen chicken breasts and broth and come home a few hours later to a nice little home cooked meal! It was seriously so easy. Since the pot was smaller, it made it easy to not cook too much food for one person, it had just the right portions for a meal and some leftovers. Little prep for very yummy food. Heres a cute small one
- One good sized pot- You really don’t need more than 1 medium-large pot
- One multipurpose pan- a pan with high sides makes for a small pot and large pan. Still make pancakes but still warm up some sauce if needed!
- Strainer/Colander- you’ll be eatin’ a lotta pasta honey!
- One large measuring cup- a Pyrex measuring cup that holds two or three cups total with markings.It cuts down on space as opposed to stacking cups.
- 4 Corelle plates- These are very common at the thrift store! I happened to get mine at Walmart because my mom told me to get them because they are very durable, perfect for a mobile and not gentle college life.
- Cups-find cute ones at the thrift store or wait to acquire some at school
- Small plastic cutting board- sanitary no matter what you are cutting and requires no care. OXO is a good brand and has a great one here
- One or two good cutting knives- 1 big, one small. One smooth, one serrated. Here is a super bright and colorful set
- Dish towels- find a unique pattern you like. TJ Maxx or Ross are a good choice to pick from. “What the fork is for dinner” towel set!
Now for some study and desk tips.
- Printer- I hated using school printing and I had my own printer. Best thing ever. Heres the same one I took to school with me
- Favorite pens and pencils- Don’t go for cheap exactly here, find what you like and buy it. You’ll be writing a lot so its okay!
- 3 hole punch
- 5 subject notebook- I started using these because each class doesn’t need a separate notebook and I took less notes than I thought I would. I took about 4 or 5 classes too so it worked out.
- Laptop case- snap on case for Mac AND a soft sleeve for transport in your backpack! If you have a PC a soft sleeve will do great. It will extend the life of your laptop a long time. Heres the same one I have on my computer now.
- Bluetooth mouse for laptop
- Sheet protectors
- Nice resume paper- if you plan on applying for jobs.
- printer paper
- college ruled notebook paper
- blue tacky gum- hanging up pictures in your dorm
- white toothpaste- fill in holes in your walls left from tack holes
- 2nd computer monitor- if you’re using excel or Photoshop or any big, in depth programs, you can hook up your laptop to it for more monitor space.
- Desk top lamp- preferably with different light settings for different times of day while studying.
- Noise cancelling headphones- drown out noise from roomies and rock out 🙂 Amazon has great inexpensive options, they don’t NEED to be Beats!
- GET A NICE DURABLE BACKPACK OR BAG
Thats all I have to say about that. Don’t want it falling apart and don’t want to have to buy another bag while out there and you don’t have much money. Jansport with a leather bottom was the best for me. Amazon has a lot of amazing options too. Heres the Jansport options
If you are taking a car to school, how exciting!! Not everyone gets to do that so that is amazing! Heres a few things that are a must to have in your car/for your car.
- JUMPER CABLES- put them in your car NOW!! Your car will die at the most unexpected time and someone else may not have them. Buy some now and put them in the car trunk.
- Car air freshener. Buy a few trees from Walmart or get a small container that fits in a cupholder, poke some hole sin the lid and place a few wax melts on the inside. When the car warms up it will melt the wax and your car will be smelling wonderful!
- Outdoor blanket- might want to go for a picnic or sit outside and it good to have if you have to stay in your car for whatever reason.
- Extra water and snacks- if you go on a little trip and are stuck in traffic, you’ll have some backup supplies!
- Extra charging cable for phone- cable and cigarette lighter insert.
- Hand Sanitizer
- Extra things you forget all the time! Personal for you- me, I have lotion, chapstick, mints, pads and tampons, car charger, pen, sunglasses. Just some ideas.
Along with all these practical packing ideas, Id also encourage you to find a couple items that are YOU to take with you that can help you have fun, be a conversation starter, and help you make friends. For example, I brought a volleyball, a longboard, and a horse head mask to college so I could have fun with others, have some me time, and have a funny thing to talk about and mess around with, with my roomies and friends. Don’t forget to be yourself at school and also create yourself to be who you want to be!
There! Thats the list! As I said before, this is a list for things you might not think about when packing up for school. It’s not a complete comprehensive list, but it will get you going and give you some tips on where to start! Keep in mind your climate and your amenities included in your living situation and try to keep it minimal and frugal. Have a great time at college and make the most of it!
Please comment any other suggestions you may have from your own experience or anything major that you think was left out of this article. I would love to make sure its all on here! Share this post with a friend or family member who is going away to school, or a parent thats helping pack a kid up! Thanks for reading!