The Ultimate College Packing Checklist
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Over 2 million students attend college for the first time every year, excited (and a little apprehensive) about the new friends and newfound independence that campus life can bring. This checklist helps make packing for college less overwhelming. It features 50 items divided into six categories: dorm room essentials, toiletries, clothing, school supplies, electronics, and health and wellness.
If you want even more tools to combat the first-time college jitters, check out our guide on how to make the most of your first week on campus.
- Price Legend
$ = Under $10 | $$ = $10-$25 | $$$ = $26-$50 | $$$$ = Over $50
Dorm Room Essentials
This energy-efficient LED lamp emits soft and flickerless light, reducing eye fatigue. With a 15-inch flexible gooseneck and a sturdy aluminum clip, this lamp can be mounted to a desk, a headboard, or even your laptop. Choose from a black, white, or silver finish.
Compatible with Alexa voice commands, the HeimVision alarm clock lets you fall asleep to one of three natural soothing sounds or your favorite FM radio station. When it's time to wake up, this smart clock can mimic a gradual sunrise to help you feel calmer and more rested in the morning.
Maximize limited dorm room space with this two-pack of underbed storage containers made from breathable woven fabric. Each container holds 20 articles of clothing or a full-size comforter. With sturdy handles, zippers, and sidewalls, the storageLAB containers are both durable and lightweight, making them easy to carry when it's time to move in or out.
With over 1 million units sold, the Apollo Tools hand tool set is one of the most popular options for general home repair and DIY projects. The kit comes with 39 pieces, including commonly used tools like pliers, a claw hammer, and a bit driver. Every piece fits securely in a compact and sturdy carrying case.
These 12-liter Brabantia waste bins are made of high-quality plastic and come in various colors. They also come with brackets so you can mount bins to a wall or on the side of your desk. Smaller and larger bins are available.
Sleep better on that dorm room bed with a twin XL mattress pad from Bedsure. Made from stain-resistant and hypoallergenic microfiber, this mattress pad fits mattresses that are up to 18 inches deep. The Bedsure mattress pad uses a polygon design that reduces shifting to help you get an uninterrupted night's rest.
Amazon Basics offers a two-pack of firm, polyester, microfiber pillows that are suitable for back and side sleepers. Filled with down alternative material to about 4 inches thick, these pillows may appeal to people with allergies.
The twin XL bed sheets set from LIANLAM comes with one fitted sheet, one flat sheet, and one pillowcase. Sheets come in nine color options, including purple, dark gray, lake blue, and ivory. On top of their hypoallergenic properties, these microfiber sheets are resistant to wrinkles, stains, and fading.
This microfiber comforter provides the warmth of down without the odor and risk of potential allergies. You can use it as a stand-alone comforter or attach a duvet by using the eight built-in loops. Choose from different colors to match your decor.
Coming in eight color options, the Attmu shower caddy contains inner and outer compartments that let you store and organize shampoo and conditioner bottles, razors, combs, and other toiletries. Made from durable mesh, the caddy is compact, lightweight, and quick to dry. Use the reinforced handles to hang the caddy from hooks and pegs.
Shower Flip Flops
These unisex slippers are constructed from soft but strong plastic and come in 13 colors, including black, red, and turquoise. The slippers' unique design and hydrophobic quality make them slip-resistant and fast-drying.
Made from 100% ring-spun cotton, these bath towels are soft, absorbent, and lightweight. The comfortable set comes in a pack of four with color options like white, burgundy, dark brown, and plum.
This bath robe features a double-stitched waffle design, a tailored collar, two front pockets, and a self-tie wrap. Made from a combination of cotton and polyester, the robe's universal fit is 49 inches long with 18-inch sleeves. Choose from several color options.
This hair dryer uses ceramic technology to produce uniform heat to quickly dry hair without frizz or damage. In addition to three heat and two speed settings, this full-size hair dryer comes with a "Cool Shot" feature and concentrator nozzle designed for styling.
Almooni offers a two-pack of body scrubbers made from natural Egyptian loofah that contours to the shape of your body. The loofah pad features an abrasive side for exfoliating and a soft pad that can be used to apply body wash and moisturizer. Remember to clean your loofah weekly.
Backed by the American Dental Association, the Fairywill electric toothbrush produces 40,000 brush strokes each minute using near-silent ultrasonic technology. This affordable electric toothbrush offers five settings, including a gentle mode for people with sensitive teeth and gums. Efficient energy use allows the brush to run for up to four hours on a single charge.
This cordless water pick helps you improve the health of your teeth and gums without having to buy dental floss. The flosser comes with five speed settings and six jet tips so you can customize the function according to your needs. Additional features include a leak-proof design and a 10-day battery life.
Clothing and Laundry
This two-piece set of wheel luggage from Rockland comes in dozens of color combinations and features hard backing made from a lightweight but strong ABS material. Spinner wheels and ergonomic handles let you maneuver the 28-inch upright and 22-inch carry-on suitcases with ease. The luggage maximizes storage capacity by expanding up to 2 inches.
Manufactured by PurSteam, this iron quickly removes wrinkles. It features axial steam holes and a stainless steel soleplate that lets you iron cotton, polyester, silk, linen, and even wool. Safety features include an anti-drip design and a three-way automatic shutdown mechanism.
The Honey-Can-Do tabletop ironing board is compact and collapsible. You can store it underneath your bed or hang it from a door. The cover and underlying pad are made from heat-resistant and durable polycotton. This ironing board also includes a designated rest spot for your clothes iron to prevent accidental scorching.
These ultra thin clothes hangers are constructed from sturdy ABS material and black velvet. With chrome hooks, each hanger can hold up to 10 pounds. These hangers also feature a pants bar so you can store more clothing in less space.
Spanning 19 inches across and 64 inches long, this clear hanging organizer contains 24 pockets for shoes and accessories. Use the built-in hooks to hang the organizer from any standard door without the need for hardware.
This two-pack of mesh laundry hampers is made from sturdy black mesh. When not in use, the hamper collapses into a flat disc for easy storage, making it ideal for dorm life and travel. Hamper dimensions are 13 inches by 14 inches by 21 inches.
These unisex sunglasses from Joopin offer full sunlight protection, blocking harmful UVA and UVB rays. The composite lenses also reduce glare, which makes them great for skiing or hiking.
Keep yourself dry and warm in inclement weather with a Charles River Apparel unisex rain jacket. The coat's exterior is made of water- and wind-resistant RiverTec nylon, while the interior is constructed from a soft cotton flannel.
Stay on top of assignments, exams, and extracurricular responsibilities with this combination magnetic calendar and corkboard. Spanning 23 inches across and 17 inches tall, the board comes with mounting hardware, magnet accessories, and a dry-erase marker.
This 8-by-5-inch planner from Clever Fox allows you to organize your schedule by week and/or month with an undated format. The planner comes with decorative and time-management stickers and contains writing exercises that can help you reach short- and long-term goals.
The WENIG multipurpose backpack features 12 interior pockets (including a padded laptop compartment) and three exterior pockets. This durable and water-resistant bag also contains a hidden compartment that lets you hook up your electronic devices to a power bank. The package comes with a USB cable, a headset extension cable, and a combination lock.
For students who prefer to take notes with a pen and paper, Amazon Basics offers a four-pack of college-ruled composition notebooks. Each notebook contains 100 sheets of paper. The sturdy front and back covers display a weekly scheduler and quick-reference conversion information.
Seamlessly alternate between your notebook and smart device with these two-in-one ballpoint and stylus pens from SyPen. The sensitive stylus tip is compatible with most phones, tablets, and touch-screen laptops. Choose from either a twist action or click pen.
Protect passports, transcripts, and other important documents with this portable file organizer. Constructed from five layers of silicone-coated fiberglass and insulated aluminum, the folder is waterproof and capable of withstanding temperatures that exceed 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. The BluePower fireproof file folder can hold about 600 sheets of standard paper.
The Besign multifunctional laptop table lets you comfortably study while sitting on your bed or standing at your desk. The tray adjusts between zero and 36 degrees, and the table itself comes with five height settings. This laptop table is big enough to accomodate a 17-inch computer and mouse and folds up for easy storage.
Leven's mini stapler allows you to attach up to 25 sheets of paper with a single finger. Additional features include a jam-free design; quick, spring-powered loading; and a rubber base that minimizes skidding and scratching. The package comes with a staple remover and 1,000 staplers.
The Snap-N-Store index card box can come in handy during midterms and finals when you're studying from several sets of notecards. You can also use this chrome-protected and water-resistant box to store business cards, photos, and receipts. The 3-by-5-inch box holds up to 1,100 cards and comes with a pack of blank labels.
The Tile Bluetooth Tracker makes retrieving your keys, backpack, and phone much less stressful. Use the free app to ring your Tile from within 200 feet or locate fareway items with help from the anonymous Tile Network. The starter bundle comes with an all-purpose Tile Mate, as well as a Tile Slim that is suitable for keeping track of wallets, tablets, and passports.
This cordless water boiler from Hamilton Beach heats water faster and more safely than a microwave or conventional stove. The kettle features an automatic shutoff function to keep water from boiling dry and a mesh pour spout that traps deposits caused by hard water.
Keep your beverages cool and leftovers fresh with this compact refrigerator. At a little over 1.7 cubic feet, this mini fridge easily fits underneath a bed or desk. Additional features include reversible doors and adjustable temperature controls.
The Acer Aspire 5 Slim laptop boasts powerful mobile processing capabilities, 15.6 inches of full HD IPS visuals, and balanced TrueHarmony sound output, making it ideal for class presentations or watching your favorite shows.
This two-pack of portable power banks lets you keep your electronics running on long trips or busy days. Each charger features USB and USB-C connectivity and enough power to fully charge the latest iPhones and Androids five times over. A durable rubber exterior protects the charger from being damaged.
The SanDisk Cruzer USB 2.0 flash drive lets you store and transport up to 128 GB of documents, pictures, and media files. The drive comes with SecureAccess software that uses 128-bit AES encryption, enabling you to password-protect private files.
This power Strip features three AC outlets, three USB-A ports, and one USB-C port. This charging station uses smart technology to maximize energy efficiency between different devices and works with voltages between 100 and 240 volts. Additional features include a 5-foot extension cord and fire-resistant surge protection.
Wireless Mouse and Keyboard
With the amount of writing and researching you'll be doing in college, using only the small keyboard and trackpad on your laptop could get uncomfortable. Logitech's full-size keyboard boasts spill-resistant design and a comfortable palm rest. The right-handed mouse contours to your hand for precise maneuverability.
These wireless headphones cancel low- and mid-frequency noises, including nearby conversation, traffic, and airplane engines. They also produce hi-res audio using dynamic drivers and BassUp technology. Additional features include an enhanced voice pickup microphone and a Bluetooth 5 connection.
This portable Bluetooth speaker uses dual precision acoustic stereo drivers and a passive bass radiator to produce clear sound with little to no distortion — even at the loudest volume setting. The speaker's 14-hour battery life and 100-foot Bluetooth range make it suitable for movie marathons and dance parties.
Health and Wellness
This 16-ounce compact dehumidifier removes moisture from the air, extracting harmful spores and other irritants. The result is a cooler, less muggy room where you'll be more comfortable studying, hanging out, and falling asleep. This mini dehumidifier features energy-efficient and ultra-quiet thermoelectric cooling technology, as well as an automatic shutdown function.
First Aid Kit
Accidents happen. Prepare for these incidents with this OSHA-compliant portable first-aid kit. The kit contains 57 pieces (including antiseptic towelettes, sterile gauze pads, plastic and fabric bandages, and scissors) and is capable of treating up to 10 people. All the supplies fit neatly in a durable plastic case that can be stored in a drawer or mounted on a wall.
Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, this moisturizing lotion is gentle on acne-prone and sensitive skin. This moisturizer contains ceramides and niacinamides to calm skin and restore the body's natural lipid barrier. It also protects skin from UVA and UVB rays with an SPF 30, broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Water helps your body regulate its temperature, protect joints and sensitive tissues, and expel waste. Drink more of it with this YETI water bottle, which features a quick-release cap and stainless steel construction. The bottle's double-wall vacuum insulation keeps up to 26 ounces of liquid cool (or hot) from morning to night.
Weighted blankets offer a form of deep pressure stimulation therapy that can relieve pain and improve your mood. This 15-pound, twin-size blanket from Weighted Idea is made from breathable cotton that can help keep you cool or warm, depending on the conditions of your room. Customize your weighted blanket with a selection of removable duvet covers.
Made out of shredded memory foam, the ComfortSpa reading pillow offers upright back support, whether you're studying at a desk or watching a movie on your bed. Pockets on either arm offer storage space for remotes, magazines, and e-readers. The stain-resistant velour cover is easy to spot clean with a wet cloth.
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