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Freshman College Packing Checklist - Foolproof List for the College Bound Girl

Updated on May 1, 2012

Packing for college is a huge job, especially if you are heading somewhere far from home. You don't have the luxury of zipping on back to mom and dads to grab that shirt you forgot to pack up.

So, this is the fool proof checklist my oh-so-practical mother and I made up when the time rolled around for me to head off to college. I hope that it helps you as much as it helped me!

The battle plan (checklist) is broken up into three sections:

Section 1: What you need to bring with you that you should already own

Section 2: What you will need to pick up at the store before you leave

Section 3: What you should buy once you get to your school

Section 1: Packing up your stuff!!!

[ ] 2 Umbrellas - one for your car, and one for your dorm

[ ] Down Comforter - they're the best!

[ ] Pillow Mattress Pad - university mattresses are sub-par at best, so this will turn your college dorm bed comfier than your one at home!

[ ] 2 Towels - one bath towel and one beach/swimming towel

[ ] Clorox wipes - essential for detoxifying your room after your roommate gets sick

[ ] Tool Kit - will come in handy, take my word for it

[ ] First Aid Kit - also, will come in handy

[ ] Lamp - dorms have harsh fluorescent lights in most cases, so a good lamp is nice to read by

[ ] Laundry Hamper - make sure it's a big one, because my experience has been that laundry is expensive and laundry day comes about every 2-3 weeks, so clothes will pile up and you don't want to make multiple trips!

[ ] Sticky tack - great for sticking up posters, pictures, whatever

[ ] Post-its - who doesn't like post-its? They help remind me of big projects coming up, and they're also good for leading your roommate on a scavenger hunt to find their hidden _____ (you fill in the blank)

[ ] Scissors - duh

[ ] Highlighters - the text books are yours now! you bought them, so mark away!

[ ] Pens/Pencils - ya ya ya... it's a digital world... blah blah blah, bring them anyway

[ ] Stapler - fun for many activities

[ ] Shampoo/Conditioner - don't forget that stuff!

[ ] Face Wash - or this

[ ] Hand mirror - this too

[ ] Toothpaste/brush - definitely not these

[ ] Computer Paper - most people forget about this one till they need to print out a first assignment, but then it's too late. Of course, you get to meet all the cool people on your hall in your quest to find printer paper!

[ ] Clothes/Shoes - well I hope at least these things are on your top list of priorities

[ ] Pictures - don't bring too many, because surface area is rare in a dorm room if they are framed, otherwise, bring as many as you want!

[ ] Hair dryer/Straightener - can't have caveman hair on your first day of class now can you?

[ ] IPOD/Alarm/Stereo - essential for shakin your groove thang

[ ] Bicycle - good for exercise or getting to class on time if you have a large campus

[ ] Bicycle lock - if you value your bike, look into investing in one of these

[ ] Backpack - or shoulder bag if that's more your thing

[ ] Flashlight - always a good idea

[ ] Sleeping Bag - if you wanna go camping you'll want one of these

[ ] Movies - people pride themselves on how many movies they have at college, so bag them all!

[ ] Stationary - your parents will love you to death for getting some, but then of course you actually have to use it sometime before graduation : )

[ ] Books - but not too many, they're heavy and take up space. Only take your favorites

[ ] Jewelry - accessorize, accessorize, ACCESSORIZE!

[ ] Calendar - lets you keep track of all the breaks you have coming up during the year!

[ ] Fan - nice if your room is not air conditioned

Section 2: Shopping time!!!

[ ] Washcloths - nice if you're running late, wash your face real quick and get to class!

[ ] Rug - some dorms are tile or concrete, so rugs are nice and make the room feel more homey

[ ] Duck Tape - never a bad idea

[ ] File Cabinet - optional, some dorms have them already

[ ] Passport - you never know where you might want to study or what fun trips you'll want to take in the upcoming years. If you looking for travel advice, check out my Trusty Travel Tips article for a quick peek at funny travel mistakes most people fall prey to.

[ ] Air Freshener - to ward off smelly laundry, roommates, etc

[ ] Dishes - not too many, bring one of each thing

[ ] Stamps - for all that stationary you bought for writing letters to your parents! or if your grandparents send you cookies, you can send them a thank you card

[ ] Trash Can - this will get a lot of use

[ ] Raincoat - you don't wanna sit through class in wet clothes after walking through a downpour do you?

[ ] Snow gloves - how else are you supposed to wage snowball war on unsuspecting classmates?

Section 3: Last minute stuff!

[ ] Laundry soap/Dryer sheets - static cling is very unfashionable

[ ] Plastic storage bins - great for storing winter clothes or a makeshift coffee table

[ ] Microwave - essential for late night snacks

[ ] Pillow - this can go overlooked, don't pick one up until you get to school because they're big and bulky. You don't want to have to pack a pillow.


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    • profile image

      Agnes 2 years ago

      It's just so thoughtfully.:) I think I'll adapt those tips for my next year! Thanks for your tips!

    • profile image

      David-craes 5 years ago

      Hi again CJ - Hope all is well! The College Checklist APP is now available for certain Android devices in Google Play or Amazon Mobile

    • profile image

      David 6 years ago

      Hey CJ - I wanted to let you know The College Checklist App is out now for the NOOK®

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 6 years ago from Minnesota

      Awesome list! This is very helpful and you covered a lot of ground here!

    • profile image

      David 6 years ago

      CJ - Thanks! Keep it in mind for the college bound people in your life!

    • cjcarter profile image

      cjcarter 6 years ago

      ElleBee - I brought two bath towels and one beach/swimming towel, so I guess I did bring 3 towels.

      David - That would have been SO helpful when I was in school!

      puddingicecream - SO true. If you plan to do any international traveling though, it's nice to already have a passport on hand instead of trying to get one in the midst of travel arrangements and classes.

      Thanks for the feedback!

    • puddingicecream profile image

      puddingicecream 7 years ago from United States

      I really like the passport idea because there were many times when a school ID was not an acceptable form. But usually a state ID like a driver's license or permit was just fine (and more portable on an everyday basis) for me.

    • profile image

      David 7 years ago

      There is a great new app for packing for college. Check out "The College Checklist" by craes on iTunes®

    • profile image

      ElleBee 7 years ago

      I like this post. Although my one reaction - two towels! That's it! I think you might need a few more than that. I know I didn't have time to do tons of laundry at school.

      And @Chris - I think I managed to find my extra long twin ones just at WalMart or Target, nowhere too fancy. In a pinch however, a regular twin flat sheet will fit on the bed too (as long as you don't have too many matress pads or egg crate pads that is!)

    • cjcarter profile image

      cjcarter 7 years ago

      diogenes- Thanks for the feedback! You would be amazed at how college students become capable of utilizing any available space in their dorm rooms! Yes I did take all of this stuff (minus the file cabinet as my dorm already had them), and I even had room for my roommate. She is only 4'9'' however... :)

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Where in heck are you going to stuff the room mate!? (as in allow space). And my mind is still boggling over what "fun activities" could be in mind for the stapler?

      By the way, did you take all that stuff, and was it in Maine? (it sure wasn't UCLA!)

      Good luck with the vote...and the stapler plans. Diogenes.

    • amsmoving profile image

      amsmoving 7 years ago

      And don't forget the forgettable of forgettables - toilet paper!

    • cjcarter profile image

      cjcarter 8 years ago

      Oh the microwave...a college student's best friend! Have your daughter google the Cake in a Mug recipe. It's great for birthdays at college, takes about 5 minutes, and you cook it in your microwave! It's brilliant.

      I think the best thing my parents bought me when I left for college was the memory foam mattress pad... my bed was the envy of my hall!

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

      Nice checklist. I'm printing this out for my daughter who will be leaving for college in two weeks. This week we are shopping for the microwave! We bought the long twin sheets and quilt online through the college and they had excellent prices too and many colors to choose from.

    • profile image

      sup 8 years ago

      they have some at target. actually, they're on sale now for like... $7.50

      its also a not so large collection, they have about 15 choices, and many of them are just plain solid colors, but they're super cheap, so you can buy a few and mix and match!

    • buyessay profile image

      buyessay 8 years ago from Essay

      You forget about MONEY. Most important thing you need to take. )))))))

    • cjcarter profile image

      cjcarter 8 years ago

      This just in: Kohls sells extra-long twin sheets! Gotta love Kohls.

    • cjcarter profile image

      cjcarter 8 years ago

      I used Bed Bath & Beyond myself, as for other places, I can't think of any off the top of my head. You could always search online for extra long twin sheets. That would be the way I would go.

    • Chris1|Chris2 profile image

      Chris1|Chris2 8 years ago from Los Angeles

      As a college student myself, I am always interested in finding companies that sell extra-long twin sheets and mattress pads to fit my dorm bed. For some reason, I can only ever find them at Bed Bath & Beyond and Pottery Barn, and even at those big places, their selection is puny. Do you know of any other places that sell extra-long sheets and bedding?


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