Packing for College: What do I bring?

Everything you need to know about buying college necessities



A college dorm hall

If you’re like me, you’ve probably browsed through dozens of Pinterest posts of glamorous dorm rooms, filled with amenities and accessories. In reality, however, most dorm rooms are bland, tiny and expensive, so we need to be realistic when it comes to deciding what we actually need to bring to college.


What to bring (I’m going to skip the obvious necessities like a microwave or coffee maker because those go without saying) :

-Shower Caddy/Shower shoes.

If you plan on living in a community style dorm, or even an older suite, the showers are probably not going to be as refreshing and clean as the ones you’re used to at home, so bring some cheap flip-flops to wear in the shower. Also, a shower caddy is a necessity. I would recommend bringing one that is either monogrammed or has a place for a label so you can avoid any switch-ups. Having a shower caddy can make your life a lot easier so all of your toiletries are in one portable container and separate from your dry clothes.

-Power strip

It is likely that your dorm will be limited on its outlets, and when you think about it, you will need an outlet for your phone, laptop, microwave, etc. That’s why I strongly recommend investing in a power strip. This is an easy item to forget since you don’t usually need one for home, by you will be grateful to have one when you are there. Having a power strip can also alleviate any power struggles (literally and figuratively) between you and your roommate when you both need to finish some last minute homework.

-Pictures of your high school friends

Although this isn’t an absolute necessity, having a nice picture frame or collage for your high school photos is a great way to help with being homesick. Don’t go overboard with a photo wall because most dorms are very small, so cluttering up the walls with photos will only make the room look smaller.

-Decor that doubles as organization

Nail-free shelves, extra closet racks, and crates will all help with the organization of your dorm. I would recommend lofting your bed enough to be able to fit small drawers underneath for extra clothes or belongings.


What not to bring:

– Your whole closet

Before you move off to college, you need to deeply assess your closet and determine what you would actually wear. To make this process easier, I would recommend donating clothes you haven’t worn in a while so that you can’t convince yourself that these clothes will make a sudden comeback when you go to college. It’ll be August when you leave, and usually Thanksgiving when you go back home for the first time, so leave your heavy winter clothes at home and exchange them with your summer/fall clothes when you visit in November. That way your hefty winter coats don’t take up your whole closet when it’s 80 degrees outside.


Although candles are a great way to make your room feel more comfortable, most dorms don’t allow you to burn a candle in your room for safety reasons. It’s not worth the risk nor space to bring these with you. If you insist on having a candle in your room, buy a flameless candle.


Having a printer in your room may sound convenient, but it is actually very impractical and unnecessary. Every library in college will be filled with printers that are typically free for students, so why waste the money and space to have one in your room? Some dorm halls even have their own printers for residents, so there is no point in spending money on paper and ink for a personal printer.