College Packing List – 50+ items to bring and 5 to leave at home

The thought of heading off to college can be nerve racking for some people. Deciding what to bring can be very stressful – You don’t want to overpack and you don’t want to under pack. We have created a college packing list that is designed to help prepare you for your first time living away from home!

It is important to realize that most college freshmen will be living in a dorm room their first year. Remember, dorm rooms tend to be small and compact – So you can’t bring everything you have from home! The college packing list below was designed to help you pack the essentials for your first year at college.

Click here to download our college packing list

Dorm room supplies:

  • Alarm clock
  • Area rug
  • Hangers
  • Small trash bin
  • Small area fan


  • Mattress cover
  • Mattress topper
  • Pillows
  • Pillow cases
  • Comforter
  • Sheets
  • Blanket


  • Bath towels
  • Wash rags
  • Shower caddy
  • Shower shoes


  • Makeup/makeup remover
  • Body wash
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Razors
  • Shaving cream

School supplies: 

  • Planner
  • School approved calculator
  • Notebooks
  • Notecards
  • Pens/pencils
  • Folders
  • Binders

*It is suggested you wait until after your first week of classes to get school supplies


  • Phone
  • Laptop
  • Chargers (laptop, phone, tablet, etc…)
  • Flash drive
  • Headphones
  • Wireless speakers
  • T.V.
  • Video game console


  • Allergy medicine
  • Motrin/aspirin
  • Cold and flu medicine
  • Small first aid kit
  • Vitamins
  • Supplements


  • Athletic shoes
  • Casual shoes
  • Dress shoes
  • Belts
  • Bras
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Hats
  • Jackets
  • Winter coats/sweatshirts
  • Watch
  • Workout clothes
  • Casual clothes
  • Going out clothes
  • Dress/formal clothes

*If you can pack clothes for the season, do it! If you go to college close to home, just pack summer/fall clothes and you can grab your winter clothes once the weather starts to change. This will give you more storage space.

Important documents:

  • Wallet (credit cards, debit cards, etc…)
  • ID card (drivers license, passport, etc…)
  • Copy of social security card (just know it!!)
  • Health insurance card
  • Student ID


  • Bottled water
  • Granola bars/protein bars
  • Favorite snacks (pretzels, popcorn, chips, etc…)


  • Backpack
  • Purse
  • Sports equipment
  • Duffel bag/gym bag
  • Re-usable water bottle

What not to bring:

  • Appliances
  • Suitcases
  • Printer
  • Duplicate items
  • Holiday decor

This is our complete college packing list. Like we stated earlier, these are the necessities for you and your first year of college. Everything on this list will serve a purpose and help you succeed.

Dorm room supplies are the things that you will need for your dorm room. An alarm clock is key for every dorm room, so you will not have to look at your bright phone every time you wake up in the middle of the night. An area rug is also important, it not only makes the dorm room feel more “homey” but also gives you added comfort in your room. Make sure to check with your school to see if they provide you with a trash can in your dorm room – some schools will, and others won’t.

Bedding is important because you will need all the added comfort you can get sleeping in a dorm room bed. A mattress topper is highly recommended because it will make the dorm bed softer and more comfortable. A mattress cover is also highly recommended as it will zip over the bed and protect you from bed bugs, dust, etc.. A comforter is another thing that you can bring for added comfort and to add a little flare to the room.

Most likely, you will have to walk down the hall to get to the bathroom. A shower caddy is important because it will let you carry all your bathroom/shower supplies with one hand. Shower shoes are important as well because they will protect your feet from the dirty showers, helping to prevent athletes foot and other disgusting things from happening to your feet. Make sure you don’t forget bath towels as well; the school will not provide those for you!

All the toiletries are self-explanatory. These, for the most part, are personal preference. We have compiled a list of the essentials, you may add or subtract whatever you deem necessary from that section of the college packing list.

It is recommended that you wait until after syllabus week to get your school supplies. Syllabus week is the first week of school in which your teachers will go over the course, the course objectives, and what you need for the course. It may be a good idea to get some pens, pencils, and some notebooks before you arrive at school, but everything else can wait until after syllabus week. By waiting until after syllabus week, you will save money by not purchasing unnecessary school supplies.

For technology and entertainment most of the equipment is self-explanatory (cellphone, laptop, chargers). A wireless speaker is fun to have in the dorm room and a great way to meet new friends (by playing music with your door open). Communicate with your roommate and see which one of you wants to bring the T.V, usually one T.V. is enough for the room. A video game console is nice to have as it lets you seamlessly stream Netflix, and your other favorite streaming services.

Medical supplies will help keep you healthy and help nurse you back to health when you are sick or hurt. If you take allergy medicine make sure to bring it with you, and remember to take it! Motrin and Aspirin are good to have around as well. A small first aid kit is nice to have because you can fix yourself up in your dorm room and don’t have to go on a witch hunt to find a band aid.

Clothing is personal preference. We tried to cover all the different types of clothing you will need for college. Most people will forget to bring clothing that is not in season. For example, you leave for school at the end of summer, you probably are not thinking about packing a winter coat for when it gets cold at the end of the semester. This is only important if you are not able to swap out clothing during the school year. It is highly recommend you pack for the seasons, and swap out clothes as you need them.

Don’t forget to bring your wallet, ID card and student ID (if you got one at orientation before school started). A health insurance card is very important to have as well – if you need to visit the doctor’s office for any reason while at school, you will need this.

Having food in your dorm room is up to you, but it is recommended. Dining halls are only open during certain hours, so that means you can only eat during those hours. College students are always on the go, so having snacks I your room will allow you to eat on the go. Granola bars and protein bars are great to have in the morning if you want something before your first morning class and can’t grab breakfast.

Other things that we put on this list include a backpack, purse, sports equipment, a duffel bag, and a re-usable water bottle. If you are thinking about playing a club or intramural sport, don’t forget your equipment! A duffel bag is great to have if you want to bring something small to carry your stuff to the gym. A re-usable water will save you a lot of money because you will always be on the go and won’t have to keep buying plastic water bottles.

We included a “what not to bring” section because many students are not sure whether they need to bring some things or not. More than likely your school will provide you with appliances you need in your room already, mainly a refrigerator/freezer and a microwave. When moving in, it is fine to bring suitcases, but make sure that whoever drops you off at college takes the suitcases home! You will not have extra storage space to put the suitcases, and odds are you won’t even need them! A printer will be big and bulky and take up desk space. Most school libraries are open 24/7 thus alleviating the problem of not having access to a printer. Communicate with your roommate on who is bringing what – you don’t want to have duplicate items, like T.V’s!



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