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College Packing List

Guest Author - Susan D. Bates

It can be difficult to know what to pack before you head off to college. You will not want to leave behind anything essential, but you also won't want to take too much. Rooms in residence halls (also called dorms or dormitories) are often very small.

When deciding what to pack, check the suggestions and rules of your college. Most colleges publish information about the available accommodations on their campus and a list of banned items. Many colleges also have lists of suggested items. Because rules and accommodations vary among colleges (and sometimes between the residence halls on a campus), it is important to have information that is specific to your college.

You will also want to contact your new roommate(s). Many colleges will give you the name and contact information of your roommate to allow the two of you to decide which items you can share and decide who will bring which sharable items. This can help you avoid over packing. Keep in mind, that sometimes students decide not to attend college, change rooms once they arrive, or transfer to a different college; therefore, it is possible to end up with a different roommate.

Create a list of items you would like to take to college. Below is a list of common items students pack for college to help you create your list.

What to Pack

To Feel at Home
While many roommates divide the room and decorate their own section to their own tastes; however it is important to be considerate of your roommate if you are considering adding potentially offensive materials to your decor.
  • Pictures
  • Comfort Item (e.g., a stuffed animal or a gift from someone special)
  • Decorations
  • Supplies to hang decorations (check college rules)
  • Cultural or religious symbols

Shower Supplies
  • Shower caddy (To carry toiletries to the bathroom.)
  • Shampoo and other toiletries
  • 2 bath towels (It is helpful to have an extra towel for when one is dirty.)
  • Bathrobe (To wear from your room to the bathroom)
  • Shower shoes (To prevent catching a foot fungus)
  • Hair dryer

School Supplies
  • Computer with lock
  • Pens, pencils, highlighters
  • Tape
  • stapler
  • Notebooks
  • Flashdrive
  • Desk lamp
  • Extension cord with surge protector

For Fun
  • Camera
  • Reading material (Consider using an e-book reader to save space)
  • iPod or MP3 player
  • Cards or other small games
  • CDs and DVDs

Food Supplies
  • Microwavable dish & bowl
  • flatware
  • Snacks
  • Paper towels
  • Can opener

To Wear
  • Clothes (Enough for 2 weeks in order to give yourself a chance to do laundry)
  • Coat
  • Light jacket
  • Jewelry (inexpensive)
  • Watch
  • Pajamas
  • Slippers
  • Swimming suit

Room Items
These items should be discussed between roommates to decide if multiple items are necessary. Each roommate should bring a different shared item.
  • Wastebasket
  • Rug
  • Small fan (If room is not air conditioned)
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Iron and small ironing board)
  • TV with DVD player
  • Clock
  • Microfridge (Check with your school to see if they are supplied or if there are regulations on the use of these.

General Supplies
  • Padlocks (some colleges will have drawers and closet doors that fit padlocks)
  • Bedding for a single bed
  • Hamper (Use one that can double as a laundry basket)
  • Laundry detergent
  • mobile phone (Usually optional, but some schools do not provide room phones)
  • Hangers
  • Umbrella
  • Sewing kit
  • First-aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Bicycle with a lock (optional, but may be helpful on large campuses)

What not to pack

Check your residence hall contract to see what specific items are not allowed. Below is a list of items that are often not allowed in most residence halls or may not be a good idea to bring.
  • Weight lifting equipment
  • Power tools
  • Hotplate
  • Grill
  • Toaster ovens
  • Halogen lamps
  • Candle
  • Valuable items that cannot be secured
  • Air conditioners
  • Incense
  • Weapons
  • Electric blankets
  • Alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Large items



Use the suggestions from your college and the list above to help you decide what items to pack when moving to a college campus. Make sure that you understand the rules of your campus before finalizing your list.


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Content copyright © 2014 by Susan D. Bates. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Susan D. Bates. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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