recent college graduates throwing their caps in the air

What to Pack for College

Ready for college life? Before you head off to campus, you’ll want to ensure you have everything you need because, let’s face it, college can be tough, and you don’t want anything to make it harder. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of what to pack for college.

This is the ultimate what-to-pack-for-college checklist and includes everything from the basics, such as bedding and towels, to more unique items, such as a trash can and hangers. Of course, you’ll want to tailor this list to your needs and what you’ll be doing in college.

General Tips

Before we give the list of what to pack for college, we want to provide some general tips:

  1. Don’t overpack! You’ll be surprised how little you need. Plus, many schools have laundry facilities on campus, so you can do laundry as needed.
  2. Be strategic about what you bring. Choose items that will help you save space and be multifunctional. For example, invest in a multifunctional device that does all three instead of bringing a separate alarm clock, laptop, and speakers.
  3. Stick to a packing list. This will ensure you don’t forget anything important and don’t bring anything unnecessary.
  4. Start packing early. This will give you time to ensure you have everything you need and find anything you might have forgotten.

The Checklist

Now that we’ve gone over some general tips, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what you should pack for college. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a great starting point.

Clothing and Shoes

  • Comfortable shoes
  • A few pairs of jeans or other pants
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • A few nicer shirts or blouses
  • A sweater or light jacket
  • PJs
  • Socks and underwear
  • Bathing suit
  • Raincoat or umbrella


  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Soap
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen


  • Laptop and charger
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Alarm clock
  • Headphones
  • Extension cords
  • Surge protector

School Supplies

  • Pens and pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Notebooks
  • Folders
  • Index cards
  • Post-it notes
  • Calculator
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Stapler and staples
  • Scissors
  • Tape

Room Essentials

  • Twin XL bedding, including sheets, a comforter, and pillows
  • A small trash can
  • Desk lamp
  • Hangers
  • Laundry basket or bag
  • Clothing steamer (optional)
  • Full-length mirror (optional)


  • A first aid kit
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle
  • A coffee mug or travel cup
  • Umbrella
  • Camera (optional)
  • Sports equipment (optional)
  • Musical instrument (optional)


Phew! That’s a lot of stuff. But don’t worry, you probably won’t need to pack everything on this list. And remember, you can always buy what you need once you get to campus. College is an exciting time filled with new experiences. By being prepared and packing what you need, you can set yourself up for success and focus on what’s important: making the most of your college experience. So, good luck and happy packing!