To ease your pain and suffering as you return to the real world after your blissful summer (sorry about by the way), we’ve compiled a college packing list for 2022 to make packing for your home away from home a breeze.
While we can’t guarantee you won’t break a sweat carrying boxes up three flights of stairs in an elevator-less building, we can guarantee you won’t break out in a panic sweat because you left something at home.
Tips for Packing for College
Boxes. Check. Packing tape. Check. As for the rest, throw it in a box and figure it out once you get to your dorm or apartment. Kidding. Here are some tips to keep you semi-organized.
1. Inventory your life. Don’t get too emotional. If you’re lucky, your parents won’t immediately turn your room into a gym. Pack only the essentials, and ask your parental units to save the mementos for collection once they can really kick you out of the house. If you have a roomie, check with them to see what they’re bringing. No need to have two microwaves, right?
2. Label everything. Put your name on everything with Sharpie or a label maker. Moving day is nuts around a college campus, and if you set a box down on a curb, you might as well have shipped it to space. Mark boxes accordingly: clothes, towels, books, etc. to make unpacking a cinch.
3. Don’t pack like a maniac. Pack with unpacking in mind. If you’ll want to shower immediately after a day of moving, have a handy tote bag set aside that has your toiletry bag, a change of clothes, and your rubber ducky towel.
4. Bubble wrap is your friend. As fun as it is to pop, save some bubble wrap for your belongings, too. Bundle up your most precious items with this poppy-plastic for safekeeping. (And then keep some on hand as a stress reliever during midterms!)
5. Pack snacks and H2O. Moving is hard work. Have your mom send you off with her famous chocolate chip cookies. Keep your water bottle handy for hydration. Don’t be the kid who faints in front of the RA the first week of college.
You’ll actually need these to do college right.
Hangovers and messy hair aren’t the only things you’re supposed to bring to class. Show up with even half of the items on this list, and you’re guaranteed an A for effort.
If you write notes until your hand cramps, you may as well look cute while doing it! Here are just a few things you’ll want to have in class.
- Pencil Pouch
- Temporary Tattoos
- Tote bag or backpack
- Pens and pencils
Clothing (Because You Can’t Walk Around Naked)
It’s a fact of life — you have to wear clothes. This isn’t a season of Project Runway, though, so you don’t have to pack for a fashion show in Paris. The essentials will do.
- Socks (quirky and plain)
- Sweatpants and/or leggings
- Hoodies (the ultimate college accessory)
- Light/heavy jackets
- Rain jacket
- Baseball caps for bad hair days
- Gloves/scarf/hat (anything else you may need if a blizzard hits)
- Business casual clothes
- Dressy clothes like dresses and skirts
- Tank tops (for warm days on the quad)
- Flip flops
- Dress shoes
- Boots (rain and/or snow)
- Masks (because you never know what’s going to happen this year)
Now is the time to talk your parents into buying you that super sweet laptop you really want. Just make sure they buy the extra warranty in case you spill your $5 latte on it during one of those all-nighter study sessions.
- Laptop or desktop computer
- HDMI cord, Ethernet cord for computer (see if your dorm has wireless)
- Power cords
- Laptop and cell phone chargers
- Any electronics warranty paperwork
- Surge protector
- Phone cases
- Backup drive (flash drives, external hard drives, etc.)
- Portable speakers
- Extension cords
- Laptop sleeves
- Mouse pads and desk mats
They say you spend one-third of your life sleeping. You might as well be comfortable, and your bed should probably be a beautiful fortress for studying, too.
- Sheets and pillowcases (2 sets. Check with college for size needed — some dorm beds are extra long.)
- Mattress protector
- Mattress topper
- Pillows and throw pillows
- Throw blankets (consider more than one size — one for the bed and one for your desk chair!)
- Duvet and duvet cover or comforter
- Study pillow/bed lounger
- Bed risers
- Underbed storage
- Floor pillows
Bathroom and Toiletries
You’ll need all the little toiletries that used to magically appear in your bathroom. Thanks, mom.
- Shower caddy
- Shower shoes
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Hair products
- Contact lenses and supplies
- Eyeglasses and case
- Facial wash
- Body soap
- Travel soap container
- Shower pouf
- Acetaphetamine or other pain relievers
- First aid kit
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Dental floss
- Nail clippers
- Razor and shaving cream
- Facial moisturizer
- Hair dryer/curling iron/straightener
- Cotton swabs
- Cough medicine and cough drops
- Feminine hygiene products
- Makeup (and makeup bag!)
- Shower curtain (if you’re lucky enough to have a private bathroom)
Laundry and Cleaning Supplies
Someone has to clean the toilet. Spoiler alert: It’s probably you. And we’re betting you don’t already have anything on this college packing list.
- Glass cleaner
- Toilet bowl cleaner
- Disinfectant wipes
- Toilet scrubber
- Laundry detergent
- Stain remover
- Fabric softener sheets
- Ironing board
- Drying rack
- Lint brush
- Hand vacuum or full-size vacuum
- Mop or steam mop
Let the real hunger games begin. You’ll learn how to use your microwave real fast. Even if it’s only for t.v. dinners.
- Paper towels
- Trash bags
- Trash can
- All-purpose cleaner
- Plastic food storage baggies
- Food-storage containers
- Dish soap
- Dishwasher detergent
- Cooking utensils (spatula, whisk, etc.)
- Drinking cups
- Coffee mug
- Travel mug
- Reusable water bottle
- Can/bottle opener
- Basic spices
- Water pitcher and filters
- Oven mitt
- Kitchen towels
- Fridge magnets
First Aid and Emergency Kit
When you burn your food, you might burn yourself. Be ready with all the peroxide in the world.
- First aid manual
- Cotton balls
- Antibiotic ointment
- Plastic non-latex gloves
- Rubbing alcohol
- Antiseptic wipes
- Adhesive tape
- Hand sanitizer
- Calamine lotion
- Disposable instant cold packs
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Allergy meds
- Flashlight and batteries
- Magnifying glass
- Safety pins
- List of emergency contacts and phone numbers (poison control, for example)
There’s always something you’ll forget. It’s probably from this part of the college packing list.
- Box fan
- Space heater (check with your college)
- Important papers (social security card, birth certificate, etc.)
- Personal fireproof safe
- Board games and playing cards
- Pepper spray
No college packing list would be complete without decor. Decorate to your heart’s content. All within college regulations, of course.
- Area rugs
- Double-sided tape
- Picture frames
- Indoor string lights
What to Leave at Home
Some things just need to stay with your parents. Like your creepy dead spider collection. Use your best judgment, but here’s our guess on some things that are better left behind.
- Candles. Even if you hate your roommate, you can’t stink him out with your candle that smells like farts. Sorry.
- Yearbooks. You’ll miss your high school friends, sure. But about two weeks in when you’re buried deep in freshman biology, you’ll forget all about them. The yearbooks will just make you sad you’re not in easy high school classes anymore.
- Bowling trophies. And other knick knacks. It’s safe to say your dorm is smaller than your current bedroom. Mom will keep your bowling trophy safe for a minimum of four years.
- Hammocks. It’s fun in theory until you pull a muscle trying to get out of one after a night of partying too hard. Save it for your actual backyard.
- Pets. This makes us sad for you. If you really need to bring a pet, we hear sea monkeys slip under the radar pretty easily.
Leaving home can be tough. Leaving home to go be a responsible human being is even tougher. A college packing list shouldn’t overwhelm you, and this ultimate packing list will make sure you can start the year right. Once you’re settled and everything is (mostly) unpacked, start decorating your dorm room so it truly expresses who you are! Check out all of Redbubble’s Back to School products and express yourself on everything from your organized backpack to your outfits to your walls.
Now, go get your college on.