Packing for College? Your Ultimate Checklist

packing for college
Posted on: 2018-12-22 04:47

Packing for college is a nightmare for the whole family. Your parents are getting misty-eyed, younger siblings are getting ready to move into your room, and you have to stuff 18 years of your life into a couple of boxes. If you want to stay sane and get to school on time, you need a college freshman packing list. There are dozens of iterations online, and we are proud to present the ScamFighter version. It holds the answer to your question “What do I need to pack for college?”

Packing List for Girls Vs. Packing List for Guys

Surprisingly, there is not much difference between the basic things necessary for college freshmen whether they are male or female. Besides a few personal items, like makeup or hygiene products, the list will be the same for guys and girls. The only significant difference might lie in how much clothes you bring to college. Though some girls can wear the same jeans and T-shirt combo for a week, while some guys can’t choose an outfit from a bursting closet.

girls vs. boys

Instead of looking for a gender-specific college checklist, think about the things you use every day, the things you love and can’t imagine your daily routine without. Pack those and leave back home all the items that hold sentimental value. You are not embarking on an expedition to Mars, you will be back home before you know it. Even if you forget to pack something vital, you can either replace it or ask your parents to mail it to you.

College Packing List Deconstructed

Before you start haphazardly throwing random things into your boxes and suitcases, let’s establish clear categories for all the items you will need. Once you think of packing in these terms, your panic will abate. Here are the categories we suggest for college packing:

Study supplies

Study supplies

These include everything you might need for school work in class and in your dorm room, besides electronics.

  • Backpack or tote bag
  • Binder clips
  • Paper clips
  • Binders Business cards
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Clicker(if you need one for class)
  • Desk chair
  • Desk lamp
  • Desk organizer
  • Envelopes
  • Stamps
  • Cards/notes to send home
  • File folder for important documents
  • Folders
  • Glue
  • Notebook paper
  • Notebooks
  • Notepads
  • Index cards
  • Post-it notes
  • Journal
  • Pencil case
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Pens/colored pens
  • Permanent marker
  • Highlighters

Tech

Tech

You won’t survive a week in college without your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. However, this group should also include

  • Laptop
  • External hard drive
  • Flash drives
  • Keyboard
  • Wireless mouse
  • Lap desk
  • Laptop Case
  • Camera
  • SD card for camera
  • E-reader
  • Tablet
  • Chargers (phone, laptop, camera, etc.)
  • Portable phone charger
  • Ethernet cable
  • HDMI cable
  • Extension cords
  • Adapters (HDMI, ethernet, etc)
  • Headphones and spare headphones
  • Speakers
  • Printer
  • Printer ink
  • Printer paper Router
  • Surge protectors
  • TV
  • TV stand
  • Batteries

Personal Hygiene and Bathroom

Personal hygiene and bathroom

Besides the obvious bathroom and beauty products you use at home, this group contains essential items like:

  • Air freshener
  • Shower curtain and rings (if needed)
  • Shower mat
  • Shower organizer (if your school allows it)
  • Upgraded showerhead (if your school allows it)
  • Bathroom rug
  • Shower shoes
  • Shower cap
  • Shower caddy
  • Bath pouf
  • Loofah
  • Washcloths
  • Bath towels
  • Hand towels
  • Bathrobe
  • Tumbler/cup
  • Bathroom cleaning supplies (if you need them for your dorm: i.e., drain cleaner, glass cleaner, rubber gloves, shower cleaner, sponges, toilet brush, toilet cleaner)
  • Scale
  • Air freshener
  • Shower curtain and rings (if needed)
  • Shower mat
  • Shower organizer (if your school allows it)
  • Upgraded showerhead (if your school allows it)
  • Bathroom rug
  • Shower shoes
  • Shower cap
  • Shower caddy
  • Bath pouf
  • Loofah
  • Washcloths
  • Bath towels
  • Hand towels
  • Bathrobe
  • Tumbler/cup
  • Bathroom cleaning supplies (if you need them for your dorm: i.e., drain cleaner, glass cleaner, rubber gloves, shower cleaner, sponges, toilet brush, toilet cleaner)
  • Scale
  • Toiletries
  • Bar soap
  • Body wash
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Shaving Cream
  • Waxing strips
  • Hair removal cream
  • Lotion
  • Self tanner
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Face wash
  • Moisturizer
  • Mask
  • Acne medicine/cream

Clothing

Clothing

Pack for one season, if possible, and keep your wardrobe simple. Pack comfortable and simple clothes, but include two professional or formal outfits. You might need them for fancy outings or internship interviews. Other must-have items include:

  • Bras
  • Underwear
  • Shapewear
  • Sports bras
  • Pajamas
  • Casual dresses
  • Little black dress
  • Semi-formal dresses
  • Formal dress
  • Going-out clothes
  • Long-sleeve shirts
  • Short-sleeve shirts
  • T-shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Jeans
  • Pants
  • Leggings/Yoga pants
  • Shorts
  • Skirts
  • Professional clothing (dress, dress pants, buttondown shirts, skirts, blazers, shoes, purse)
  • Belts
  • Tights
  • Sweaters
  • Sweatpants
  • Sweatshirts
  • Fleece Jackets
  • Raincoat
  • Winter coat
  • Gloves
  • Workout clothes
  • Athletic sneakers
  • Boots
  • Casual shoes
  • Flats
  • Flip-flops
  • Heels
  • Rain boots
  • Snow boots
  • Slipper socks
  • Socks
  • Socks for rain boots
  • Slippers
  • Sunglasses
  • Bathing suits
  • Hats

Dorm room supplies

Dorm room supplies

 This is the largest category containing everything from bed linens and laundry supplies to small household appliances, cooking utensils, first-aid kit, and decorations. The exact list will change depending on the items available in the dormitory, your personal preferences, and your eating habits. I suggest you have a look at this list:

  • Bedbug-protecting mattress cover
  • Foam topper
  • Mattress pad
  • Twin XL sheet set (and an extra set)
  • Duvet and duvet cover or comforter set
  • Twin XL bed skirt
  • Pillows
  • Pillowcases
  • Reading pillow
  • Throw blanket
  • Throw pillows
  • Sleeping bag or air mattress
  • Futon Additional seating (beanbag chair, folding chair, comfy chair, etc.)
  • Bedside table
  • Alarm clock
  • Bedside lamp
  • Floor lamp
  • Coffee table
  • Area rug
  • Bed risers
  • Underbed storage
  • Adhesive hooks and strips (that come off cleanly)
  • Bulletin board and/or dry erase board
  • Push pins/magnets/whiteboard markers
  • Closet organizer
  • Hangers
  • Skirt hangers
  • Over-the-door storage units
  • Space bags
  • Curtain rods (if needed)
  • Curtains Fan
  • Space cooler
  • Shoe rack
  • Trashcan
  • Laundry hamper or bag
  • Lingerie bag
  • Laundry detergent
  • Bleach
  • Color catchers
  • Fabric softener
  • Stain remover
  • Dryer sheets
  • Drying rack
  • Garment bag
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Lint brush
  • Portable stain remover pen
  • Quarters
  • Sewing kit

Documents

Documents

Apart from the driver’s license, student ID and passport, pack credit and debit cards along with bank documents. Leave your Social Security card and birth certificate at home, but bring copies. Medical insurance, financial aid documents and a list of emergency contacts are also a must. Use this checklist to make sure you pack everything:

  • Bank documents
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Checks
  • Driver’s license
  • Car registration and insurance information
  • AAA card
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Copy of Social Security card
  • Passport
  • Student ID
  • Emergency contact list
  • Financial aid documents
  • Health/dental insurance cards
  • Lease (if you have an apartment)
  • Renters insurance (if you have an apartment)
  • Product warranties

What not to Pack for College

When moving to college, the temptation is great to pack your whole room into cardboard boxes and take everything along. However, there is no need to bring your full collection of teddy bears, all craft supplies and your 101 video games. Even though it seems there is so much stuff to take to college, you should only pack essentials. You can always come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas to bring back things and take more to your dormitory.

Before you take off for college, make sure you left the prohibited items at home. You can find the list online or contact the student housing administration. Most colleges do not allow candles, incense, hot plates, space heaters and other items that might cause a fire. Don’t sneak them into your room, the RA will conduct regular checks, and you will get in trouble if anyone sees prohibited items in your dorm.

Your favorite pets will have to stay at home too. Dormitories do not allow students to house pets, whether you are a cat, dog or fish person. Some schools, like Caltech or MIT, permit students to house cats, but not dogs, while the University of Washington and the University of Idaho are even more pet-friendly. There are dozens of colleges that allow pets on campus, so if you can’t live without one, make a conscious choice when applying.

We hope this checklist helps you overcome the freshman packing hurdles with ease and poise. If you found it useful, don’t forget to share our post with your fellow first years. Let us know if you need more advice on all things freshmen.

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