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10 Objects Most People Forget to Pack for College

Updated on December 10, 2017
VerityPrice profile image

Verity is a physics with teaching BSc (Hons) graduate. In her spare time, she likes to cook, read and play video games.


Moving away from home for the first time can be scary and stressful! Some people just roll up at their dorm and then buy stuff as they need it, some people spend months with their parents making lists of what they'll need. Either way, you always have that moment when you think "If only I'd remembered to get 'blank'". Sure everyone remembers to get notebooks and shampoo, but there are some objects that you don't even think of until you really need them! In this article, I am going to list the 10 items that I always make sure I have in the house and that I can't live without.

We're all familiar with the stress that can be brought on when it's time to fill those boxes!
We're all familiar with the stress that can be brought on when it's time to fill those boxes! | Source

1. Dry Shampoo

When people start college or university they always say the same thing "I am always going to do my assignments in proper time!" Let me tell you now: you will be doing all nighters. You have a paper due that you need to hand in at 8am, you finish at 7am and have no time to shower before you leave the house: this is where dry shampoo is a life saver.

You massage it into the roots of your hair and it gets rid of any 'grease' and makes it look as though it's just been washed. Apply to your hair, get changed into fresh clothes, apply deodorant, then you are ready to leave and looking refreshed (even if you might not feel it).

Dry shampoo is also a life saver when you live with a group of people, it's just typical that when you get up in the morning someone manages to just get in the shower before you. Then you are faced with the dilemma: skip shower or be late to class? Dry shampoo completely removes this conundrum. I always have a can on my night-stand.

2. Staple & Hole-Punch

Of course you remembered stationary. You have your notepads, pens, highlighters, post-its, folders etc. But you need to remember to have these too! Remember that paper you finished at 7am? You're ready to leave when you remember that the professor said that they will only accept it when it's stapled together. Or for anyone using lab-books (as I do) no scraps of paper are allowed, everything must be stapled into the one book or it will not get graded. For these reasons staplers are always so useful to have on-hand.

As for the hole-punch; everyone has that one professor that will hand out notes that aren't punched, and then you can't fit them in your folder. You say that you'll just leave them lose, but in the end they get lost, or torn, or have tea spilt on them. There are also professors who will punch documents in a way that, bafflingly, doesn't line up with the holes in the folder and you will have to re-punch them!

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3. Breakfast Food Bars

One again, I'll refer to that all-nighter that you are definitely going to be doing. During the night you are going to need something to eat, you need to keep your energy up. Some people rely on energy drinks, however the high caffeine content can just make some people jittery and even anxious. Which is why I prefer by far to have a few breakfast bars stashed around.

They are designed to fuel you through until lunch, so if you have them at intervals throughout the night they should see you through until morning.

They are also incredibly useful for those mornings when you sleep through your alarm. Rather than running out of the door and having to spend all morning on an empty stomach, keep a few breakfast bars in your bag, then you can eat them during class and you won't have to be distracted by your rumbling stomach!

4. Washing Machine Tablets (Direct in Drum)

I was surprised when I came to university and found out that the majority of people had never done their own laundry before. This experience allowed me to pick up on an amazing tip that I have used ever since.

Sure, you can buy detergent and fabric softener and all that extra stuff, then you can measure it all out and hope that you've put it all in the right place. Or you could buy all-in-one capsules. You don't need to measure anything out, you just put one in the drum with your laundry and that's you sorted. It's less hassle, it's less mess and it by far reduces the chances of making a mistake.

I Use These For Every Load of Laundry That I Do

5. Tin (Aluminum) Foil

When you cook, things can get messy. I've put plenty of dishes in the oven to have them bubble over and splash onto the bottom of the oven, thankfully I line my oven with tin foil. This means that I can just take the tin foil out and put some fresh in and I don't have to spend half an hour scrubbing away at a blackened splodge which was once a cheese sauce.

Another great way to use tin foil is to line your oven trays with them. There is always that one person that will use an oven tray to bake oily fish and will then just leave it lying around. This way you can just replace the tin foil cover rather than having to delay dinner by having to try and remove all of the fishy traces from the tray.

Tin foil is also fantastic at keeping food fresh. If you might not have time to go and buy lunch, you can make sandwiches the night before, wrap them in tin foil and then put them in your bag before you go out for the day!

Do you line your oven to make it easier to clean?

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6. Tupperware

Leftovers are probably going to become an important part of your life, which is where Tupperware becomes extremely useful. If you order take-out food and can't finish it all, you can put the rest in a Tupperware box and put it in the fridge. If you won't have time to get lunch the next day you can make a sandwich and store it, along with a chocolate bar or a banana, in a Tupperware lunch box. If you are making food you can make in bulk, put the extras in some Tupperware and freeze it to have as a meal again later in the week.

7. Dish Rack

In my time at university I have lost count of the amount of times I've heard a crashing and breaking noise while someone is doing the dishes. Usually because the person in question decides to play Jenga with the plates, or Tetris with the mugs. A teetering tower of glasses will collapse very easily but people will still try to arrange the dishes in a haphazard way, which always results in something getting broken.

This is why I eventually went out and got a dish rack. It allows for everything to be organised neatly and provides an easy access to everything drying (which means no knocking over glasses while trying to find a spoon). It also means that the dishes dry quicker because they are spaced apart and have air circulating them, rather than the bottom plate in a pile of 10 still being wet 3 days later.

Have you ever broken any dishes?

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8. Hair Catcher for Drains

I have been in the unfortunate situation of having a blocked shower drain due to hair build up. You are standing in the shower with water up to your ankles, it takes 30 minutes to drain, you can't run the water from the sink without it bubbling up the shower drain, and then it starts to smell! At this point only a plunger or a plumber can save you. But there is something you can do to prevent this problem in the first place: hair catchers!

Hair catchers fit over the drain in the shower/bath/sink and catch any debris, whether it's hair, fluff or food from the dishes. It can then be removed after the shower (or when you've finished the dishes) and the debris caught in it can be wiped off extremely easily and placed back over the drain. I make sure that I have one on my shower drain at all times!

9. Bathroom Air Freshener

If you are sharing a bathroom then you can bet that it is most definitely going to get smelly in there. As such it's really only common courtesy to do your best to remove or neutralise any bad odours that you might be leaving behind. That's why it is always useful, and tactful, to have some air freshener on hand. It can be wise to permanently store it in the bathroom so that anyone can use it when they need to.

Air freshener can also be useful for removing the odour of burned food, or for help clearing any stale air. You can also use fabric freshener on upholstery to prevent them from smelling musky or taking on the odour of food.

I always make sure to keep this air freshener in my bathroom

10. Light bulbs

You can guarantee that you aren't even going to think about light-bulbs until one night; you're writing an important paper, then without a moments notice you hear a pop and you are plunged into darkness. Unluckily enough, this has happened to me and I did not have any on hand to replace the broken one with.

When you move in take a note of whether your light fittings are screw fit or bayonet, and the wattage of the current light bulb. Then immediately go out and buy 2 appropriate light bulbs. You can never know when you are going to need them!

We are no longer in the stone age, so we don't have to live in darkness. Make sure you have replacement light bulbs.
We are no longer in the stone age, so we don't have to live in darkness. Make sure you have replacement light bulbs. | Source


These are the 10 items that I cannot live without in my day-to-day life. Some of these I was lucky enough to have from the start, others I had to learn about the hard way! But that is all part of the experience.

Do you have any objects or tips that you would add to this list? Or do you have any of your own disaster stories? If so please comment below and let me know, or send me a message.

P.S To anyone who is moving out of home soon for the first time: good luck, you'll be great!

© 2016 VerityPrice


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