Almost every college student knows they will need to pack the essentials for when they move away to school. You can’t forget your shampoo, or your favorite t-shirt, or the jewelry that matches every outfit. These are obvious items, but there are also a few things you should bring that aren’t always on packing lists.

Now that I’m a college senior, I feel I’ve figured out pretty well what I need to pack in my car. To help out incoming freshmen (and anyone else who may be frazzled over their list), I’ve compiled my own list of what you should not forget.


1. A Raincoat

Whether you’re walking to class in the rain or feel a chilly day coming on, a raincoat is exactly what you need. This may seem like an item everyone will bring, but that’s not always the case. Buy a coat to last four years and you’ll never worry about getting caught in a storm.

2. Containers

Bring a set of Tupperware with you to school so you have a way to save leftovers. You can also use the containers for bringing snacks to class or for storing your desk supplies.

3. A toolkit

What do you do when something breaks? You can’t always call Dad to fix it. A simple toolkit with items such as a screwdriver, a tape measure, and a wrench will come in handy when your shower floods and maintenance is unavailable.

4. Sunscreen

Try to prevent painful sunburns and skin cancer by applying sunscreen when you’ll be out in the sun, studying or playing sports.

5. Reusable bags

Hate getting plastic bags when you go to the grocery store? Bring a few of your favorite reusable bags and you’ll be able to carry everything better instead of worrying your snacks will fall out onto the pavement.

6. Games

Bring a board game like Scrabble or a deck of cards. These could come in handy when you’re bored and want to do something with your friends.

7. Your insurance card

Always, ALWAYS bring your health insurance card with you to college. Getting your flu shot at school? You’ll need that. Have a medical emergency? You’ll definitely need that card. Keep it in a safe place.

8. Batteries

If the power goes out or your TV remote dies, you’ll be thankful for those batteries you bought a while ago. If only regular batteries could charge our phones…

9. Air mattress

When a friend stays over, you’ll never have to think about sharing your Twin XL bed with them. It’s also useful to have in case someone on your floor needs a mattress, and then you’ll make a friend! I have done that before with others, and it’s super helpful. Pro tip: as long as you have a hair dryer, you won’t need a pump. Just make sure to put it on cold air!

10. Hand vacuum

I strongly recommend having at least a small vacuum. For the parts of your dorm you can’t reach, you’ll thank your vacuum for getting rid of the dust bunnies.


Do you have any other suggestions for college students on what they should pack? Leave a comment below!


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