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What to Bring to College: A Simple College Packing List

Last fall, nearly 20 million students were expected to start college. 

Heading off to study for a university degree is a rite of educational passage. It’s also a huge turning point in life — for many kids, it’s their first time staking it out alone.

So, they need lots of supplies to get them through the four years ahead. And that’s precisely why it can be daunting to figure out a college packing list for yourself or your child. 

Don’t worry, though — we know just what you need to pack for college. Here’s our list of must-haves to bring the dorms in the fall of 2020 and beyond. 

college student heading to college with parents carrying items from the simple college packing list

What to Bring to College: A Simple College Packing List

Bedding, Linens, and Bathroom Supplies

You can’t go to sleep each night without a cozy place to lay your head. Pick up the following to transform your dorm bed into a welcoming bedroom: 

  • 1 or 2 pillows
  • Two sets of sheets — check with your university, since most dorm beds are sized twin extra-long
  • Mattress pad — again, check the size needed
  • Comforter
  • 2 to 3 bath towels, as well as hand towels and washcloths
  • Laundry detergent and fabric softener
  • Laundry basket
  • Hangers
  • Shower shoes — you don’t want to stand in a communal shower with bare feet
  • A shower caddy to carry all of your products to and from the bathroom
  • Earplugs and eye masks

Room Must-Haves

You’ll also need a few items to make the room more functional, including: 

  • Desk lamp and a bedside lamp
  • Bed risers to lift your bed and create storage underneath
  • Storage containers for under your bed, desk, etc. 
  • A small trash can
  • A fan, especially if your dorm doesn’t have air conditioning
  • Picture frames and personal snapshots
  • Extension cords and power strips to make sure you have enough plugs
  • Textbooks, which you can get at a great price by reading these articles on Text Book Rentals

Shareable Items With Your New Roomie

You should reach out to your new roommate ASAP — the sooner you build a bond, the better your year will be. You can also coordinate who will supply which communal items in the room.

You’ll need: 

  • A mini-refrigerator
  • Coffeemaker, if it’s allowed
  • A rug to cover up hard, cold vinyl floors
  • Any artwork you want to hang up
  • Spring rods and curtains, if you want a finished look
  • Furniture, such as a futon or lounge chairs
  • TV, DVD player, or any other shareable electronic equipment

Toiletries and Kitchen Items

Finally, you’ll need some supplies to stock your bathroom and kitchen closets. Here’s what to bring: 

  • Medicines for minor ailments, such as aspirin, cough medicine and antacids
  • Hair and body products for the shower
  • Dental hygiene products
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Dusting rags
  • Food storage containers
  • Plates, forks, knives and spoons for in-dorm dining
  • Can opener
  • Water bottle
  • Dish soap
  • Plastic storage bags
  • Extra lightbulbs for your lamps

You’re Ready to Go With This College Packing List

Everyone’s different, so this college packing list might not cover everything you feel you need for your dorm. But, if you gather everything listed here, you will be ready to go off to college — and live the best four years of your life. 

And, while you’re there, don’t forget to check back in with our website for any university-related questions. 

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