The Best College Packing List of 2023

Getting ready to move to college can look like a difficult task. Packing can leave you stressed out and confused. Many processes are involved, with a long list of items to include in your checklist.
Best College Packing List

Getting ready to move to college can look like a difficult task. Packing can leave you stressed out and confused. Many processes are involved, with a long list of items to include in your moving checklist. Packing is one of the significant parts of the college. There is a lot of daunting experience associated with packing up your stuff and moving into your small college dorm or apartment.


To know the things you need to pack for your move without forgetting something, especially, essential stuff like your health insurance card, you need a packing list.


It presents you the opportunity to grab all that you need to start your new life as a college student. Although this process comes with great excitement, however, it can also be so stressful.


This post aims to share one of the best college packing lists you can find on the internet in 2020. This list will provide you all the college necessities regardless of the size of your dorm or apartment, together with additional fun tips that could make your stay on campus enjoyable. Is this what you have been waiting for? Read on!


Each item on this packing list is essential for your survivor right from your first year of college even though your main thought focuses on your college wardrobe. No problem! You can shop the best dorm picks of essential items for your university years and then go ahead with this list having no worries, as it contains clothing guides and non-essentials that should not follow you to college. We itemized it space-by-space to make it easier for you.




Your room in college is where you will be living. So be ready to give it a beautiful set-up. Imagine new friends coming to your room. You certainly want them to see the nice arrangements and catch a great vibe in there.


Below is the list of what I would get if I were you:


  • Adhesive hooks and strips
  • Bulletin board & dry erase board (pick by HC)
  • Pushpins/magnets/whiteboard markers
  • String lights
  • Coffee table
  • Area rug
  • Lampshade
  • Hanging lamp
  • Wall clock
  • Bedside lamp (pick by HC)
  • Floor lamp (pick by HC)
  • Bed risers (pick by HC)
  • Bednet
  • Extra seating
  • Futon (pick by HC)
  • Vase
  • Decorative baskets
  • Couch cushion
  • Cushion cover
  • Wall art (pick by HC)
  • Utility cart
  • Shoe rack
  • Skirt hangers
  • Storage units (over-the-door)
  • Space bags
  • Bedside table
  • Dining table
  • Alarm clock
  • Posters
  • Curtain
  • Photos
  • Picture frames/photo clips (pick by HC)
  • Closet organizer
  • Hangers
  • Rods (optional)
  • Clothes rack
  • Stepladder
  • Trashcan
  • Candles
  • Candleholder
  • Plants
  • Wall mirror or full-length mirror
  • Jewelry organizer
  • Jewelry safe
  • Drawers
  • Shelves
  • Curtains (pick by HC)
  • Fan (pick by HC)
  • Space cooler (pick by HC)




Your first college bedroom deserves beautiful and perfect bedding, as it is where you will spend most of your time after class. You will be doing things like reading, and eating of late-night take-out with friends. Be prepared to make it as comfortable as it can be for you by using amazing stuff. 


Below are the items to include:


  • Reading pillow
  • Throw blanket
  • Foam topper
  • Throw pillows
  • Double XL sheet set
  • Under-bed storage
  • Sleeping bag/air mattress
  • Pillowcases
  • Mattress cover for Bedbug-protection
  • Mattress pad
  • Duvet and duvet cover/comforter set
  • Double XL bed skirt
  • Pillows




You can’t find food on trees in college except you are in Florida. The storage unit kept under your bed must be properly stocked with snacks and other food items you most certainly cannot live without.


These include:


  • Soup
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Peanut butter & jelly
  • Popcorn
  • Cereal
  • Coffee
  • Bottled water
  • Granola bars
  • Coffee creamer
  • Sugar
  • Bulk snacks such as dried fruit, granola, candy, and so on.
  • Mac and cheese (Microwaveable)
  • Ramen
  • Instant hot chocolate
  • Gum


Kitchen Supplies


Your school location will determine how exactly your kitchen will be arranged, it may be the one you share with your roommate or just your small fridge and microwave. Regardless of your choice, your college kitchen must serve whatever purpose you deem fit as it is there to give you comfort when it comes to food.


Kitchen items include:


  • Mugs
  • Travel mug
  • Bottle opener
  • Can opener
  • Reusable water bottle (Pick by HC: self-filtering water bottle)
  • Utensils
  • Coffee maker
  • Oven mitt
  • Mini fridge (depending on your school)
  • Toaster (depending on your school)
  • Knives
  • Water boiler
  • Water filter pitcher (Pick by HC: Brita 10-cup pitcher)
  • Water filters
  • Blender
  • Microwave (depending on your school)
  • Dishes
  • Trash bags
  • Hand soap
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Tinfoil
  • Dishtowels
  • Paper towels
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Broom
  • Sealable plastic bags
  • Chip clips
  • Napkins
  • Food storage containers
  • Plastic wrap
  • Paper plates
  • Mop
  • Dustpan
  • Mini vacuum
  • Glass cleaner
  • Sponges
  • Duster




Being a college student means you will be entirely responsible for your laundry all the time. You have to wash every of the items you desire. To avoid running out of underwear while the week is still fresh, you’ve got to wash them. You have to prepare the essentials needed for your laundry at the college, as there will be no provision for drying sheets, stain remover or others.


Laundry items include: 


  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Color catchers
  • Fabric softener
  • Laundry hamper/bag
  • Lint brush
  • Portable stain remover pen
  • Laundry detergent
  • Quarters
  • Sewing kit
  • Lingerie bag
  • Bleach Stain remover
  • Dryer sheets
  • Drying rack
  • Garment bag


Clothing – What to wear in college


Here is the exciting part: your closet. Apart from class, you have to make preparations for each occasion such as party, formal, single girl’s night, tailgate, and the annual presentation. Also, prepare a sweatshirt, as there will be a cold season. The general attire for the classroom is casual wear and clothing that gives you comfort. You will find students walking through their school campuses in the United States wearing clothing like sweaters, T-shirts, Nike shorts, and skinny jeans. Your comfort and individual style come into play here.


The type of clothing you wear for other outings will be decided by where you are going. Make some research on what the night looks like at the college so you can decide on the right clothes to pack. Different athletic clothes for different sports events such as swimming, hitting the gym, and others should also be included in your packing.   


  • Semi-formal dresses
  • Pajamas
  • Casual dresses
  • Formal dress
  • Going-out clothes
  • Long-sleeve shirts
  • Short-sleeve shirts
  • Bras
  • Underwear
  • Shape-wear
  • Sports bras
  • Skirts
  • Pants
  • Leggings/Yoga pants
  • Professional clothing such as button-down shirts, dress pants, skirts, shoes, purses dresses.
  • Gloves
  • Workout pants
  • Workout tops
  • Fleece
  • Jackets
  • Running shoes (Pick by HC: comfortable, cushioned running shoes )
  • Blazers
  • Belts
  • Little black dress
  • T-shirts Jeans
  • Sweatshirts Raincoat
  • Winter coat
  • Shorts Tights
  • Sweaters
  • Sweatpants
  • Boots
  • Going-out purse
  • Snow boots
  • Everyday sneakers (Pick by HC)
  • Wristlet
  • Casual shoes
  • Flats
  • Flip-flops
  • Everyday purse
  • Formal clutch Jewelry
  • Costume clothing (theme parties or extracurricular events)
  • Slipper socks
  • Socks
  • Socks for rain boots
  • Slippers
  • Heels
  • Rain boots
  • Sunglasses
  • Bathing suits
  • Change purse
  • Gym bag (Pick by HC: water-resistant backpack )
  • Hats
  • Scarves
  • Watch


Desk/School Supplies


Everyone loves the smell that comes out of school supplies. There is some difference between high school supplies and college supplies. You may be sent out of class for not owning a stapler in college. Learning is the main reason you are in college, so do the learning in a way that will inspire you. Make sure your desk is always stocked with everything you need to avoid being caught off-guard for a certain item. 


Include the following in your packing list:


  • Cards or notes to send home
  • File folder to keep important documents
  • Business cards
  • Index cards
  • Sticky notes
  • Journal
  • Laptop fan or stand
  • Pencil case
  • Stamps
  • Folders
  • Desk storage box
  • Backpack
  • Tote bag
  • Binder clips
  • Paper clips
  • Binders Glue
  • Notebook paper
  • Notebooks
  • Notepads
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Pencils
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Clicker
  • Desk chair
  • Desk lamp
  • Desk organizer
  • Envelopes
  • Erasers
  • Pens/colored pens
  • Staples
  • Staple remover
  • Tape
  • Textbooks
  • Permanent marker
  • Highlighters
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Stapler Three-hole punch
  • Whiteout
  • Planner
  • Portfolio or portfolio case for interviews
  • Lunchbox
  • Rubber bands




You are now old enough to carry your belongings all by yourself. Going home will be easier for you when you go along with your passport rather than waiting for it to be sent by your parents.


The following documents are worthy of making up your list:


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




Your bathroom is another space you should equip to your taste. There are some essential items researched to add color to your bathroom.


Consider add the following:


  • Bathroom rug
  • Shower shoes
  • Shower cap
  • Shower caddy
  • Upgraded showerhead (depends on your school)
  • Bath towels
  • Shower mat
  • Shower organizer (depends on your school)
  • Hand towels
  • Bath pouf
  • Bathroom cleaning supplies such as rubber gloves, toilet brush, sponges, glass cleaner, toilet cleaner, drain cleaner, and so on, if needed.
  • Scale
  • Air freshener
  • Shower curtain & rings (optional)
  • Washcloths
  • Bathrobe
  • Tumbler or cup




Although it is common among college students to borrow toiletries from roommates; however, doing it consistently may be a little bit annoying. Below is the list of toiletries you should shop for as you roll out to the store.


  • Self-tanner
  • Foundation
  • Concealer (To provide full coverage and completely matte finish in 25 shades, use Infallible Full Wear Concealer)
  • Bar soap                                        
  • Highlighter
  • Eye cream
  • Eyeshadow
  • Eyeliner
  • Products
  • Body wash
  • Face Scrub·        
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hair Treatments
  • Body scrub
  • Lotion
  • Cleanser
  • Hair removal cream
  • Mask
  • Hair Color
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Primer
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Moisturizer
  • Acne medicine/cream
  • Shaving Cream
  • Waxing strips
  • Antibacterial gel
  • Lip balm
  • Lipstick
  • Makeup remover
  • Bronzer
  • Blush
  • Mascara
  • Eyebrow pencil
  • Hairspray
  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish remover
  • Hair gel
  • Hair mousse




There are lots of germs in college. This case is true about almost every college. The population in colleges is more than the available space. This gives rise to the same type of sickness due to infections. You have to come to the college with your medical kit as there is no provision for such in your dorm. 


Includes items such as:


  • Blister bandages
  • First aid kit
  • Allergy medicine
  • Aloe lotion
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Cortisone cream
  • Vaseline
  • Cold medicine
  • Decongestant
  • Bandages
  • Birth control
  • Condoms
  • Menstrual pain medication
  • Throat drops/lozenges
  • Multivitamins
  • Supplements (iron pills, etc.)
  • Over-the-counter pain medication
  • Prescription medicine
  • Humidifier
  • Insect repellent
  • Retainer or mouth-guard
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Prescription refill information
  • Thermometer covers
  • Upset stomach medication
  • Throat spray
  • Eye drops
  • Hot and cold packs
  • Thermometer




Tech is a new category that is essential when packing school supplies. You will be required to write emails, send papers, and many photo-shoots. Use my tech essentials to keep your documents fast and up to date. 


  • Laptop case
  • Camera
  • Laptop
  • External hard drive
  • Flash drives
  • SD card for the camera
  • E-reader
  • Tablet (Pick by HC)
  • Chargers such as laptop, camera, phone, and so on.
  • Router
  • Surge protectors (Pick by HC)
  • Keyboard
  • Wireless mouse
  • Lap desk/stand
  • TV (Pick by HC)
  • TV stand
  • Batteries Portable phone charger
  • Ethernet cable
  • Printer ink
  • Cord organizer
  • Printer paper
  • HDMI cable
  • Extension cords
  • Adapters, including HDMI, Ethernet, and so on
  • Headphones and spare headphones
  • Speakers
  • Printer


Additional items that make college better


Do you like going out during the weekend or you like staying indoor? You will want to make sure you have the items below to get you ready for any impromptu moments, as you will not be notified of most things that turn to memories in college.


  • Board games
  • Books to read at your leisure time
  • Bike helmet
  • Bike lock
  • DVDs
  • Musical instruments
  • Beach towel
  • Bike
  • Earplugs
  • Lightbulbs
  • Safety pins
  • Religious materials
  • Video game console
  • Playing cards
  • Art supplies
  • Luggage tags
  • Umbrella
  • Sleep mask
  • Flashlight
  • Pepper spray (if allowed in your state)
  • Tool kit
  • Duct tape
  • Vacuum
  • Hand weights
  • Yoga mat
  • Sports equipment
  • Safety whistle
  • Weekend bag
  • Travel organizer for toiletries
  • Suitcase or duffel bag


Frequently Asked Questions about Packing for College


There are some questions usually asked by college students when it is time to pack for college. Few of the questions are answered below:


Is there any item I am not supposed to bring to college?


There are laid down rules for dorm rooms on the usage of appliances in certain colleges. It is advisable to check with your schools to be sure of what not to bring on campus.


Typically, items NOT to take to college may be:


Toasters, appliances and other cooking devices for your dorm – you may cause the whole population living in the dorm to dislike you for the rest of the year by accidentally triggering a smoke alarm in the middle of the night or even start a fire.


Expensive jewelry – you will lose this at a party.


  • Excessive dorm decor – it is nice to decorate your room, but do not overdo it by spending much of your money buying décor. You can use or save your money on essentials such as flight tickets.
  • Excessive clothes – come along with only clothes you can wear. Most things will be shared between you and your roommates in the long run.
  • A printer – this will be available at the library or student center.
  • Bulky luggage – pack your stuff in boxes and make sure you only bring luggage that will perfectly fit in a closet corner or under your bed as the space in dorm rooms is limited.
  • Sharable items that your roommate is bringing must be known before packing your own. Communicate with your roommate before move-in day to know what they are bringing so you don’t end up bringing the same sharable item.
  • Anything that you can rent or made available by the college – microwave, small-sized fridge, etc. are all provided to students on campus by most schools while some make it available for rent with nice discounts


How does it feel living in a dorm?


The kind of life one experiences in a dorm is different depending on the schools or the building. There is every possibility that you will be frustrated with living near-total strangers and also little or no privacy. You will, at the same time, meet with your best friends in your freshman dorm. There are lots of excitement than you could ever imagine. 


What size of beds should I expect in my dorm room?


You will find a Twin-XL size bed in most halls in your dorm. They are of 80” length and 40” width


And if I forget anything?


There won’t be much distance between yourself and the pharmacy, grocery store, and others, so you can rest assured you will be able to get anything you need. You can talk to your floor RA to help you determine how you can get something you forgot or couldn’t get to where you can get it. 


How do I ship my possessions to college without driving?


You can have your belongings sent to your college through companies like UPS and FedEx, as they offer reasonable discounts.


What are the things to ask my RA?


Questions like how to send and receive mail, curfews, how to address roommate issues, and guest policies are to be asked. An information session is commonly hosted for freshmen by the RA on the move-in day.


How do I get rid of bed bugs?


It is likely your school will take care of a bed bug case. Contact appropriate authorities like your community director, residential officer or your RA immediately you notice or observe bed bugs. 




Packing the right items for your college is one of the significant parts of a college move. The above packing list has said it all. Follow it and you will discover you will enjoy stay. Do we miss anything out in the list? You can add them in the comment box.