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Packing For College (Part 1 of 2): 25 Must-Haves

July 25, 2008 By: Category: Best College Tips, Campus Life

Since the first days of college are upon us, we thought it would be a perfect time for an article on college preparation. Of course you’re going to remember to bring your favorite pillow, your cell phone and your iPod. But would you have remembered to bring a flashlight? How about vitamins? Here are some items that you might want to bring along to college. (You’ll thank me later.)

alarm clock

Photo by Tony Newell.

Before you read this, I should let you know that if you are pressed for time, you can just trust me and buy everything I recommend in this post by visiting our 25 College Must Haves listmania list.

  1. A good mechanical pencil (or two). Even if you take your laptop to class with you, there may come a time when you’ll actually have to use the antique practice of writing (exams, quizzes, passing funny notes to a friend, etc.) I recommend a mechanical pencil that takes 0.5 lead. Don’t forget to buy extra lead.
  2. A collapsible laundry bag. If you can get one that isn’t see-through, that’s even better. Regular laundry baskets take up way too much room. Dorm rooms are tiny so every inch of space is precious. When you’ve run out of clean clothes (or, clothes that don’t stink), you can just pull the collapsible laundry bag out from your closet or under your bed.
  3. Vitamins. Living without Mom for the first time can really effect your eating habits. So, vitamins are important, unless you’re a fan of scurvy and anemia, that is.
  4. This article at suggests a Student Advantage Card. For an annual cost of $20, a student can use this card at businesses like Target, Pearle Vision, eMusic and Footlocker and save up to 50% on their purchases. (Click here for more info.)
  5. Decor. Dorm rooms are pretty dull-looking, so personalize yours with posters, artwork and photos of friends, family and pets. (Don’t forget the sticky tack. Tape and tacks aren’t allowed in most dorm rooms as it damages the walls.)
  6. Ear plugs. This is especially important if you are a light sleeper. Your roommate might say they don’t snore… but how do they know that? And while we’re on the subject of sleep…
  7. An alarm clock (or two). Make sure the alarm is loud(ish), especially if you take advantage of #6.
  8. USB Flash drive. Whether you’re transferring a report from your laptop to the library printer or sharing music with friends, a USB Flash drive is a very handy device to have. I recommend getting one with a keychain on it so you don’t lose it.
  9. Umbrella. The walk from the dorm to class seems even longer when you’re drenched.
  10. First aid kit. Whether you fell off your loft bed or got a bug bite during a weekend road trip, a first-aid kit is a must. (Check out this article on how to put together a personalized first aid kit.)
  11. Flashlight. The power goes out at college, too!
  12. Quarters, quarters and more quarters. Since you will need to wash your clothes eventually.
  13. Stapler. Don’t forget to buy staples, too!
  14. Laptop lock. I already mentioned this in another article but it belongs here, too. One of these locks will cost about $20- a lot less than your laptop did.
  15. Address book. especially if you’re attending college in a town you aren’t familiar with. This could be good for addresses of businesses, grocery stores and phone numbers of friends. Look up local businesses on Google Maps before moving in.
  16. Hangers. Y’know… for clothes?
  17. Shower caddy. The best kind are the waterproof plastic/rubber ones with a handle.
  18. A Lamp. Generally, dorm rooms are poorly lit, so a desk lamp is probably a good idea.
  19. Laundry stuff. Detergent, bleach, Bounce sheets, etc. (Again, only necessary if you plan to wash your clothes.)
  20. Trash can. Try to get a small one. (Check out this article on how to personalize a waste basket for your dorm room.)
  21. Computer-related cords. This might include an internet cord, an extension cord, a power bar, etc. Check with your school to see what they provide before buying anything.
  22. Microwavable dishes. For those lucky students with microwaves in the dorm, make sure your dishes (and Tupperware) is microwave safe. Unless you want to catch something on fire or scare your entire dorm with a bomb scare.
  23. Non-stick frying pan (for those who have a kitchen in their dorm or students in apartments). Otherwise, you’ll have to buy another one ’cause there’s stuff stuck to the bottom and it will never come off.
  24. 101 Things To Do With Ramen Noodles by Toni Patrick. (Buy this book on Amazon.)
  25. Duct tape. The uses for duct tape are endless. (Here are just 25 of those uses.)

Well, there you have it. Feel free to add your own college must-haves to the list or buy our recommended products through our 25 College Must Haves listmania list. You might want to also check out another article on this website, College Dorm Items Worth The Investment.

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