What To Bring To College – The ULTIMATE College Packing List

what to bring to college

What To Bring To College!

The ULTIMATE College Packing List by My Baggage!

Your academic future is shining brightly on the horizon and it literally feels like your whole life has been leading up to this very moment. The prospect of moving to college is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting times of your life. Though given the fact that it’s likely going to be your first real, extended period of time away from home, coupled with the fact that you have to pack up your entire life and move it into a (tiny) dorm room; it’s also inevitably going to be one of the most daunting times of your life. No pressure, right?

The majority of freshmen haven’t spent more than a few weeks away from home, so unsurprisingly, it’s difficult to know exactly what to bring to college and what to leave behind. What if you forget something important and can’t get it until Thanksgiving? Thankfully, we at My Baggage totally get it (we’re experts at this sort of thing…).

To give you a helping hand, we’ve decided to put together a comprehensive college packing list to ensure you have everything you really need for your big move to college. We’ve covered absolutely everything; from your dorm room essentials to your bathroom essentials, to your academic supplies, to your medical supplies, to the important documents you simply can’t leave behind and we’ve even included a few non-essential-but-useful-nonetheless-items; all to save you from any moments of panic on move-in day.

But remember: you’re not moving to another planet. It just isn’t feasible to take everything with you (we hate to break it to you, but college dorm rooms are generally very tiny), so if you realise a month into your first semester that you need something important from home, your parents can always use My Baggage to send it to you without any hassle.

Dorm Room Essentials:

It’s important to be aware that most, if not all, college dorm rooms will be furnished with all of the essentials; a bed, a desk, a desk chair, a bedside table, etc. So, generally speaking, it won’t be necessary for you to go all out in furnishing your dorm room. As well, don’t forget to check the size of your dorm room bed!

  • Duvet
  • Sheets
  • Mattress protector
  • Comforter
  • Pillows
  • Pillowcases
  • Wastebasket

Bathroom Essentials:

If you’re sharing a communal bathroom, it’s always a good idea to bring your own towels, etc. As well, you’ll likely be very thankful for shower shoes, trust us…

  • Towels (for hands, face and body)
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Bathrobe
  • Shower shoes

Kitchen Essentials:

Before packing up mini-fridges, coffee makers and microwaves, it’s always worthwhile checking what your college dorm will be facilitated with. Many will already have these appliances, so all you have to do is think about the kitchen basics. Bring some of your own utensils and mugs, as well as a couple of useful items such as reusable food containers (for lunches) and a water filter.

  • Utensils
  • Mugs
  • Plates and bowls
  • Can opener
  • Reusable food containers
  • Travel mug
  • Bottle opener
  • Can opener
  • Water filter

Laundry Supplies:

One of the least exciting aspects of moving to college is the thought of doing your own laundry. Yawn. You’ll need something to drag your clothing to and from the laundry room, and don’t forget to bring some spare quarters. However, bonus tip, you can save on dryers by packing up your own drying rack.

  • Laundry basket/bag
  • Drying Rack
  • Mini sewing kit
  • Mini iron and ironing board
  • Quarters


It goes without saying that you’ll want to bring all of your beloved tech and entertainment with you to college. Check with your college whether you’ll need to pack an Ethernet cable. You can also check if you can bring your own TV.

  • Cell phone charger
  • Laptop
  • Laptop charger
  • Extension cords
  • Cable organiser
  • Speakers
  • Headphones
  • External hard drive
  • Ethernet cable, HDMI cable, etc
  • Cable adapters
  • Camera

Clothing Essentials:

You’ll likely know which items of clothing you want to take with you, but we thought we’d summarise it into a handy list (including a few extras that you may have forgotten about) just to make totally sure you’ve got everything covered.

  • Clothes hangers
  • Backpack
  • Gym bag
  • Bathing suits
  • Underwear
  • Professional clothing
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Everyday clothing
  • Formal clothing
  • Semi-formal clothing
  • Seasonal clothing (hats, scarves, gloves)
  • Costume clothing for theme parties
  • Raincoat
  • Rain boots
  • Pyjamas

Toiletries/Medical Supplies:

Although you may not think you need a bunch of medical supplies with you at college, it’s always good to have them there just in case of emergencies.

  • Allergy medicine
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Aspirin or other pain relievers
  • Multivitamins
  • Supplements
  • First aid kit
  • Bandages
  • Birth control pills
  • Condoms
  • Menstrual pain medication
  • Insect repellent
  • Personal prescription medicine
  • Retainer/mouthguard
  • Sunscreen
  • Tampons/sanitary pads
  • Nail clippers
  • Razor
  • Contacts, solution and case
  • Comb/brush
  • Cosmetics
  • Hair ties
  • Bobby pins

Academic Supplies:

Academic supplies can take up a surprising amount of space in your luggage, so don’t panic, you can always buy more when you actually get to college. Most college campuses will have a store providing all of the essential items you need. But here are a few of the basics you might want to take with you to start with.

  • Planner
  • Textbooks
  • Highlighters
  • Index cards
  • Stapler and staples
  • Sticky notes
  • Pens and pencils
  • Paper clips
  • Sticky tape

Essential Documents:

All of these documents will be super important for your move to college, especially during Orientation Week. Put them all together in a secure file to ensure you don’t lose anything and don’t forget to make copies of some of the most important ones.

  • Credit/debit card
  • Driver’s license
  • Bank documents
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Copy of Social Security card
  • Passport
  • Student ID
  • Financial aid documents
  • Health/dental insurance cards


A few of these items might slip your mind when packing for college, but you’ll be surprised how lost you could be without them when the time calls for it.

  • Umbrella
  • Safety pins
  • Tool kit
  • Handheld vacuum
  • Beach towel
  • Books
  • Sports equipment

A few essential non-essentials…

The following items wouldn’t necessarily be classed as essentials, but it’s very likely that most (if not all) new students will want to pack them and bring them to college to have in their dorm room, just to give it that necessary homely touch…

  • Photos of family/friends
  • Fairy lights for decoration
  • Throw blankets/cushions for decoration
  • Fake plants for decoration
  • Wall mirror/full-length mirror
  • Bulletin board/dry-erase board

A few things you should check first…

Many college dorms will already be facilitated with certain kitchen appliances, and they may also have restrictions on items such as candles (open flames can be a fire hazard) and posters/wall art (you may be forbidden from hanging these on the walls). So before you pack up the following items, be sure to check first!

  • Microwave
  • Mini-fridge
  • Toaster
  • Coffee maker
  • Printer
  • TV
  • Posters/art
  • Candles for decoration

Got something you think we should add? Tweet us your suggestions!

Moving Your Stuff To College

Once you’ve finished packing up all of your stuff, you then face the challenge of moving all of your personal belongings to your new home at college. It’s a daunting task, especially if you’re moving to another state, or perhaps moving to college from somewhere overseas!


Thankfully, that’s where My Baggage comes in. We specialise in transporting students’ belongings all over the world every single semester. We’re trusted by 30,000 students across the globe. You can read more about our services here. You can also check out My Baggage reviews too. Get a quote below!



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Katy Mairs

Content Marketing Manager at Uni Baggage
My name is Katy and I look after the online community for Uni Baggage!