What To Take To College – The ULTIMATE Checklist

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Deciding what to bring to college can be incredibly overwhelming, but don’t worry, My Baggage has you covered. Check out our ULTIMATE checklist below!

So, you’re getting ready to make the big move and set off on the adventure of your life! But as well as being exciting, packing to go to college can be incredibly stressful. It’s hard to know what to bring for the next year of your life and it’s only natural to feel overwhelmed, that’s where we come in with our college packing list!

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…).

We’ve put together the ultimate checklist to help make this process as painless as possible. We’ve included everything from household essentials to bathroom supplies and the important documents you don’t want to leave behind, to help you get organised for the big move.

Are you going to university in the UK? Don’t worry, we have you covered. Check out our comprehensive list of things to take to University here.

The Ultimate College Packing Checklist

Important Documents

The following documents will be super important for your move to college, especially during your first few weeks. Make copies (paper and digital) of all of them and keep them together in a secure file to ensure none of them goes missing.

  • Driver’s license or some form of ID
  • All official college documents, including your acceptance letter
  • Accommodation documents
  • Your course acceptance letter
  • Your bank details and bank card
  • Passport photos
  • Health/dental insurance documents

Electrical Items/Entertainment

You can’t get through college without your laptop, how else will you be able to procrastinate over unfinished essays and binge-watch Netflix with your new dorm buddies? Other than the obvious, we’ve included a list of electrical items, you simply shouldn’t leave home without.

  • Laptop and charger
  • Headphones
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Hairdryer and hairstyling tongs
  • Extension cables
  • Speakers
  • External hard drive
  • Ethernet cable, HDMI cable, etc
  • Cable adaptors
  • Camera

Clothing Items

You’ll already know what clothes you want to bring, from your favorite kicks to the ultimate party dress, but we just thought we’d give a quick summary just in case, so you’re covered for any occasion.

  • Everyday clothing
  • Everyday shoes
  • Formal clothing
  • Formal shoes
  • Smart-casual clothing
  • Seasonal clothing (hats, scarves, gloves, sunglasses)
  • Costume clothing (for themed parties!)
  • Pajamas
  • Bathrobe
  • Bathing suit
  • Backpack
  • Gym Bag
  • Clothes hangers
  • Raincoat
  • Winter boots
  • Slippers
  • Shower shoes (an essential if you have a communal bathroom!)

Academic Items

Stocking up on books, notepads and stationery items can add a significant amount of weight to your bags. If you are low on room, you can alternatively, get these items when you arrive on campus. Most campuses will have a college shop, that will provide essential stationery items and more. But there are a few essentials you should pack, just to get the ball rolling.

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

Your college will send you a recommended reading list, but it’s best to purchase these books once you arrive. Not only will these textbooks cost a pretty penny, but they will add unnecessary weight to your luggage. Many colleges offer a discount for buying these reading lists in the campus bookshop or have second-hand book sales at the beginning of term. It’s a good idea to go with this option and save yourself some much-needed space and cash

Kitchen Items

Don’t worry you don’t have to bring everything and the kitchen sink to your new dorm. Your kitchen will be stocked with electricals, so you can leave your microwave and toaster behind. If you are in doubt as to what is included, you can contact your dorm office before the big move, just to keep yourself right. However, there are items you will need to invest in, we’ve outlined these below.

  • A couple of bowls and plates
  • Cutlery
  • Mugs and glasses
  • Reusable food containers
  • Travel mug
  • Bottle opener
  • Can opener
  • Saucepan
  • Wok
  • Sharp knife
  • Baking tray
  • Frying pan
  • Oven gloves
  • Tea towels
  • Cheese grater
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Dishcloths/sponges
  • Aluminium foil (it’s a lifesaver)

Dorm Room Items

In dorms, your furniture will be covered, leaving you to worry about the basics. Remember to double-check the size of your bed, before buying bed linen. If you need to save on room, these items can be purchased on the day you move in.

  • Comforter
  • Bed-sheets
  • Pillows
  • Pillowcases
  • Duvet cover
  • Mattress protector
  • Clothes hangers
  • Doorstop
  • Earplugs (you’ll need them, we promise)
  • Hot water bottle
  • Wastepaper basket
  • Mini sewing kit

Bathroom Items

Some dorms now include en-suite rooms, but if you’re sharing a bathroom, you’ll want to bring your own towels. And, you’ll be very thankful for shower shoes, trust us…

  • Towels (for hands, face and body)
  • Toothbrush and toothbrush holder
  • Hand soap
  • Bathroom cleaning spray
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Cleaning sponges
  • Bathrobe
  • Shower shoes

Laundry Items

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
  • Mini iron and iron board
  • Drying wrack
  • Quarters

Toiletries/Medical Supplies

You never want to be caught short, so it’s a good idea to include these items. If you are low on room, you can alternatively purchase these products once you arrive.

  • 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
  • Allergy medicine


These random items might slip your mind when packing up your stuff, but you never know when you might need and wish they’d gone in the bag.

  • A flashlight
  • Blu tack or pins
  • Quarters for washing machines and bus fares
  • Playing cards
  • Alarm clock
  • Batteries
  • Umbrella
  • Books

Essential non-essentials

The following items aren’t exactly essentials, but we can almost guarantee that they’ll make you feel more at home in your new room.

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

Essential non-essentials

The following items aren’t exactly essentials, but we can almost guarantee that they’ll make you feel more at home in your new room.

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

Check before you pack…

As we mentioned before, dorms will already include essential kitchen appliances and furniture. Many will also have certain restrictions set in place for 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 as they can cause damage). So before you pack, be sure to check first!

  • Toaster
  • Microwave
  • Mini-fridge
  • Toastie maker
  • Coffee maker
  • Printer
  • TV
  • Posters/wall art
  • Candles

Printable Checklist

Want to ensure you have included everything? Sometime’s there’s nothing better than having a PDF checklist. Don’t worry, we’ve created one just for you! Check it out here.

Getting Your Luggage To College


Once you’ve finished packing, you then face the challenge of transporting all of that luggage to your new home at college. This can be quite an effort if you’re going to college in a whole new town, city, or even country. Thankfully, that’s where My Baggage comes in.

So, to help make life easier, you can use a student shipping service like us! My Baggage specializes in transporting students’ belongings to and from college every single term. We ship to over 200 countries worldwide, and we’re trusted by 50,000 students across the world. You can read about how we can help here, or get a quote!

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