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College Packing Checklist Before Leaving Home

The big moment is coming up soon. Whether you are packing for yourself or for your young adult who is about to head off to college, it's important to know what to bring. While each dorm will have their own specific packing list of things that you need, we've created a college packing list as well which features different items you may not have on your list, but that you will definitely need as you start this new journey.

Make sure you have everything on our college packing list to help avoid a last minute run to the store when you realize you need these items.

A small tool kit

It may seem like this is unnecessary, since you're living in a dorm and the furniture is pre-built, but trust us, you'll need this. Whether you build a small little bookcase to hold snacks and other items or you have a loose screw on your desk, a small tool kit will come in handy for the future.

Cleaning supplies

Don't trust that the tenant before you actually scrubbed their room down before leaving. Instead, before you unpack everything, wipe it all down with some cleaners.


You'll want your sheets and comforter, at least one pillow, a blanket, and a mattress topper. A dorm mattress is not the plushest item around, so you'll definitely want the topper to add a bit more comfort to your nights, even if you plan on pulling some all-nighters. You'll need the blanket because dorm air conditioners often don't work quite right, and more often than not, you will wind up freezing in your room, with no way to change it.

Power strip

Yes, there will be outlets, but not enough for you and your roommate's tech and gear. So instead of fighting over who gets to charge their phone, just save yourself the hassle and get a power strip.


If you are living in any dorm, on any level, the walls are not the thickest, which means more often than not you will need to get some silence or at least drown out the sound of your upstairs neighbors bowling in their room. Seriously, we don't know how they make that much noise, but they do, and headphones will be a lifesaver.

An umbrella

Probably not something you would think to pack, but when it rains and you have to get to class and back, preferably without looking like some drowned animal, you'll be happy you packed this handy item.

A mini fridge and microwave

If you and your roommate can decide who brings what ahead of time, that's even better for splitting costs, but these are necessities. You will want to have some foods that need to be cooled, and you'll definitely need to heat something up, and not all dorms have a common area with a microwave, so it's best to bring your own.

Reusable water bottle

You're not going to have a lot of space, which means the last thing you'll want is to have to fill it up with water bottles. Instead, opt for a reusable water bottle that has a filter in the top portion. It will be the easiest way for you to get fresh filtered water.

A coffee maker

While that on-campus coffee place sounds great, spending several dollars each day on a cup of coffee won't, so bring your own coffee maker.

Laundry hamper

They even make some of these with wheels, so if you prefer to wait until the last minute to do all your laundry, this is the best option for hauling all of your clothes without dropping socks along the way.


Dorms will supply the washers and dryers, but they likely will not have detergent, and if they do, it'll cost an arm and a leg, so bring your own.

First aid kit

You're not at your home where your mom or dad always had a stash of supplies, and if you cut your hand while moving something, you'll need some Neosporin and a band aid to get yourself good to go again. Making the hike to the clinic for a small cut is not going to be worth it.

Pencils and pens

You can get just about anything free in the student union, except for writing utensils. Blue and green books, yes, but not pencils, and one of the best way to make friends is to have several on hand. Someone in a class always needs one.

A collegiate shirt

That's right, what better way to start the year off on a good foot than wearing a shirt that shows your pride in your new school.

While this is by far not an extensive college packing list, they are necessities that you will definitely not want to forget on moving day. A quick packing tip is to utilize plastic bins. They are lifesavers for dorm living, and work great for moving days too.


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