50 Things You’ll Want to Pack For College

Hey, there! My name is Rocky and I’m a graduate from Rutgers University over in New Jersey. After four full years of living on campus in one residence hall after another, I really got into the habit of lugging my belongings back and forth from home, to college, and back again. One of the things I constantly found myself creating each August right before Move In Day was a FULL packing list of all of the things I’d need so I wouldn’t forget anything important. I’m an organization freak so moving my belongings was one of the most stressful things I’d do. Though, by far, the worst was right before my freshman year when I was doing it blindly all on my own. As the years went by, packing for/from college became easier and once I had a car and a job, going home and running out to Target became less of an issue. Regardless, I always found it easier to do things right the first time to avoid an unnecessary trip. That’s why I decided to create this College Packing List for you!

50 Things You’ll Want to Pack For College

For the Bed

1. Twin XL Bedsheets & Comforter
This is one of the easiest ways to personalize the generic dorm room look. Show your style with your sheets! Just make sure the size is right. Most colleges give students a Twin XL mattress.

2. Mattress Protectors

Those mattresses have been slept on many times before so you’ll probably want at least a thin barrier there keeping your sheets clean. It’ll help too if you have sensitive allergies to dust and stuff. For me, it honestly made a difference.

3. Pillow

4. Blanket

5. Memory Foam

For the Desk

6. Desk Lamp

7. Pencils (#2 in case you need them for a Scantron exams)

8. Pens (better for taking quick notes)

9. Highlighters

10. Knick-Knack Holder

For the Dresser

11. Your Main Wardrobe


I was guilty of this pretty much all four years of college. Not entirely sure why it was so hard to learn… but year after year, I packed WAY more than I needed and many shirts and pants were taking up space but never worn. Try your best to take only your favorite few items and LEAVE the rest. You can always buy things or if you’re close enough, go home on a holiday and swap things out!

12. Extra Slim Hangers

If your closet space is limited, these hangers are a life saver. They take up minimal space and I intend to continue using them even now that I have moved back home. Try them – you’ll fit 10x as much stuff in the same amount of space.

For the Bathroom/Shower

13. Shampoo & Conditioner

I’m going to use this as a chance to recommend Shea Moisture’s shampoo and conditioner. Their products are sulfate and silicone free so whether your hair is curly or straight, these moisture rich products are much more gentle than most shampoos and conditioners on the market.

14. Towels

15. Shower Flip Flops (you’re going to want them.)

16. Styling Accessories (if needed.)

17. Hygiene Regimen (Toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, maybe a retainer, contacts and solution if you need them, deodorant, etc. You know what you need and don’t need. But be careful not to overlook the basics! Sometimes these are actually the easiest things to forget when we go away.)


For Laundry

18. Detergent

Tide Pods make washing your clothes a piece of cake. You throw your clothes into the washer, toss a Tide Pod inside, and select the rinse cycle. No measuring, no pouring, none of that. If you haven’t done laundry before or prefer to keep things simple, Tide Pods are undoubtedly the way to go.

19. Dryer Sheets

20. Shout Color Catchers

These are a miracle item. You can wash colored clothes with whites, toss a sheet in, and it’ll absorb any excess color that leaks from your clothes. I used them religiously through college and never had a single problem.

21. Hamper

22. Portable Steamer

Having one of these to quickly fill with water and heat up was a life saver. If I needed to wear a wrinkled shirt, I’d use this and have it looking freshly ironed in less than 5 minutes by just blowing a bit of steam onto it.


For the Floor

23. Shoe Rack (saves a lot of space actually)

24. Swiffer Sweeper

25. Broom and Dustpan


For Class

26. Backpack/Bags

27. Binders or Notebooks

28. Textbooks (if needed.)

29. Laptop & Charger

30. Phone & Charger


For Food

31. Refillable Water Bottle

Over time, you’ll save money and the environment. Commit to one.

32. Snacks (I liked to bring dried fruit and nut mixes)

33. Ramen (or other microwavable meals)

34. Granola Bars (quick fix if you run late to class and miss a meal)

35. Coffee/Tea



36. Wallet

37. Headphones

38. Bug Zapper

39. Paper Towel

40. Tissues

41. Contraception

42. Umbrella

43. Medicine

44. Camera & Charger

45. Tablet/e-Reader/Books

46. Posters (to liven up the room.)

47. Fan (if needed.)

48. Mirror (if needed)

49. Alarm clock (unless you use your phone – your call.)

50. Trash bin (might already be provided.)


And that’s about it! I hope this list helped make packing for college just a little bit easier. I tried to think of everything I used to pack so please feel free to make adjustments to the list based on your own individual needs. Oh and don’t forget to share this with your friends!

Try Amazon Prime Student Today

With Amazon Prime Student, you can get two-day shipping and many of the other benefits of a Prime membership all at a significant discount. In fact, the pictures and links within this post are all associated with products listed on Amazon. I regularly shop there myself and recommend it because of their cheap prices, convenience, and super fast shipping. Try it out for yourself! Disclaimer: the post above does contain affiliate links.