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Getting ready to pack and move off to college is incredibly exciting. You can find an endless number of packing lists online, some of my favorites are from Bed Bath and Beyond or Her Campus. But I’ve compiled a list of must have, random things that no one thinks of. These are absolutely college must haves to survive!
30 College Must Haves
1. An extra set of sheets
One of the college must haves is an extra set of sheets. Why? You never know when someone is going to show up and want to stay the night. An extra set of sheets just might save your futon (or save your guests from your well loved futon). And there’s always a chance that you might spill your SpaghettiOs while doing homework in bed–no one wants to do late-night laundry when they’re tired.
- AmazonBasics Microfiber Sheet Set — Twin, Navy
- Mellani Microfiber Bed Sheet Set 3 Piece — Twin, White
2. A fan…or 4
Very rarely will you have temperature control in your dorm. You aren’t granted the power to turn the furnace or AC on/off. Depending on where you go to college, a fan could potentially save your life. In fact, I’d recommend two. One of those big oscillating or box ones, and then one you can clip to your bed or desk. They even make fancy desk fans you can plus into a USB port. Bonus benefit: they are great for making white noise!
3. At least one big microwaveable bowl
What you’ve heard is true–college kids eat a lot of Ramen and soup. I even had nights where there would be 5 of us hanging out in one dorm, each with our own large bowl of noodles. Thus, another college must have is at least one large microwaveable bowl.
Fun fact: You can also make macaroni and cheese in the microwave, but make sure you sneak some milk from the cafeteria if that’s the plan.
4. Noise-canceling headphones
Invest in a good pair and take care of them. You can use them for de-stressing, meditating, jamming out on the way to class, or lullabies at bedtime. Sometimes you just need to block out the craziness of the world.
- Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
- TREBLAB Z2 Active Noise Cancelling T-Quiet Headphones
5. Cleaning Wipes
Clorox wipes are my go-to for just about everything. You can clean your laptop keyboard, desk, doorknob, or that mystery spill on the floor. They’re quick, easy, and come in giant tubs that last forever. Definitely one of the college must haves.
6. A Coffeemaker
7. A big lamp
Dorm rooms are notorious for having terrible lighting. If you want to save your eyes, make sure you get a lamp for your room.
Many schools are switching to a credit/debit system for laundry, but some are still using quarters. However, it’s more likely that you’ll be searching for spare change at 3 a.m. because you really want that bag of Combos and a Coke from the vending machine down the hall.
9. A mini toolkit
10. A surplus of school and office supplies
And by surplus, I mean piles. We’re talking pens, pencils, highlighters, those fancy little tabs to stick on textbook pages, a 3-hole puncher, a regular-size stapler and a mini one to throw in your backpack, paper, notebooks, binders, dividers, report covers, etc.
11. A really long TV cable
12. A cozy, colorful rug
Your dorm will either have nice drab, tan tile, or 20 year old carpet covered in questionable stains. Bring an area rug that suits you and your roommate’s style. It will instantly transform your small, boring dorm room, into your home.
13. Trash liners
You’ll be amazed how much trash you accumulate in a short amount of time, so you’ll need plenty of liners for when you need to haul it down to the dumpster. Money saving tip: save your grocery bags and use them for trash when possible!
14. An umbrella
15. Twinkle lights and other decor
16. Command hanging strips and hooks
These are a life saver. You can’t pound a nail into a brick or cinder block wall very well–nor are you supposed to. Use the strips for your posters and decorations. And use the hooks for easy hat and jewelry storage.
17. A pile of pillows and blankets
You never know when unexpected guests will arrive, or when friends decide to crash during an all-nighter. If you like to study on the floor or in your bed, a few extra pillows and blankets will come in handy.
18. A big calendar (desk or wall) in addition to your planner
Use a big calendar to map out when big projects and papers are due. If you can see that everyday, and continually update your planner, you’re less likely to forget that something important is coming up. A calendar to go along with your planner is one of the college must haves.
19. A backpack
Accept it now, you’re basically going to be living out of your backpack for 4 years. The more pockets, the merrier. A pocket for snacks, a pocket for homework, a pocket for electronic things, a pocket for pencils, you get the point. Get a good, sturdy bag, it’s going to be carrying some hefty textbooks.
20. A water filter
If you’re like me, you’re super picky about what your water tastes like. If you’re moving away from home, whether it’s to a bigger city or even a different town, chances are the water is going to taste different than what you’re used to.
Solution: Either buy a filtration system or succumb to the fact that you’re going to be carrying cases of water up however many flights of stairs to your humble abode. Thus, another college must haves.
21. Flipflops for the shower
22. Storage bins and/or an ottoman
Your space won’t be huge, but you’ll have a lot of random stuff lying around. Make cleaning up quick and easy by tossing it into a cloth or canvas storage bin. Ottomans are also nice to have around if you get a sturdy one it can even be used for extra seating.
- Foldable cube storage bins – 6 pack
- AmazonBasics 4 Cube Wire Storage
- Household Essentials 6 shelf hanging closet
23. Air Freshener Spray
- Citrus Magic Natural Odor-Eliminating Air Freshener (3 Count)
- Febreeze AIR Freshener Heavy Duty Crisp Clean (3 Count)
24. An ethernet cable
An ethernet cable is one of the college must haves. Wi-Fi s a great thing–just not in dorms. It’s pretty typical for every student to be using the wi-fi on multiple devices at the same time, which slows it down drastically. Plugging into an ethernet cable will usually keep you running faster, making homework and getting that project turned in at the last minute more doable.
25. Your calculator
It might sound strange, but even history majors need a calculator for college. You’ll be taking at least one math and science class, so chances are you’ll need that fancy TI-84 to work some statistical magic.
- Texas Instruments TI-36X Pro Engineering / Scientific Calculator
- Casio fx-115ES PLUS Engineering / Scientific Calculator
26. A spare phone charger and battery
Keep a spare phone charger in your backpack, especially if you’re on your phone 24/7. You can plug-in in the library, in class, or while you’re grabbing a bite to eat, then by the time you’re ready to move on to the next place you’ll be fully charged!
27. A flashlight and/or booklight
If you have a roomie, chances are pretty good that your sleeping habits won’t be exactly the same. On nights that you aren’t feeling the library and would rather study in your room, you’re going to need a book light. Don’t be that person who demands to have the overhead light on while your roommate is trying to get their beauty rest.
28. AA and AAA batteries
- Energizer Combo AA and AAA Max Alkaline Batteries (24 Count Each)
- Rayovac AA Batteries & AAA Batteries Combo Pack, 30 AA and 24 AAA (54 Battery Count)
29. A lap desk
Greatest invention ever. I just invested in a nice lap desk that cost a whopping $11. It has a cup holder and everything. Really though, you need to let your laptop breathe, put it on a flat surface instead of your lap.
30. Laundry hamper
Have something that didn’t make the list that you wouldn’t have survived college without? Let us know in the comments!