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Checklist: What to Bring to College — and What to Leave at Home

As if planning your academic future isn't enough pressure, odds are your freshman year at college will also be your first time away from home. Everyone from big box stores to relatives and friends wants to tell you what to bring, but do you really need bed risers or your goldfish?

Coordinate with your roommate to eliminate overlap (you will not need two ironing boards — trust us), then stock up with this real-life list of things to bring to college.


Room Basics

  • Sheets, blanket, comforter and mattress pad (XL twin)
  • Pillows
  • Towels/washcloths
  • Desk lamp
  • Waste basket
  • Full-length mirror
  • Bean bag chair
  • Foot locker
  • Underbed storage (if you won't be lofting your bed)
  • In-season clothing
  • Robe
  • Shower shoes and slippers
  • Toiletries
  • Hangers
  • First-aid kit
  • Fan
  • Plants
  • Posters or wall decor
  • Shower tote
  • Family photos

Eating In

  • Microwave (under 700 watts)
  • Mini fridge (under 3 cubic feet)
  • Bullet blender (great for smoothies)
  • Pitcher with water filter
  • Utensils
  • Mugs, plates and bowls
  • Can opener, pizza cutter
  • Paper plates, aluminum foil and plastic bags
  • Pantry basics (peanut butter, popcorn, soup, oatmeal packets)

Tech and Entertainment

  • Cell phone charger
  • Extension cords
  • Coaxial cable
  • Power strip
  • Cable organizer
  • MP3 player
  • Speakers or docking station
  • Headphones or earbuds
  • TV

Academic Basics

  • Desk supplies (index cards, highlighters, sticky notes)
  • Laptop or desktop computer
  • Flash drives
  • Printer (with paper and extra ink)
  • Bulletin board, dry erase board
  • Book light

Cleaning Up and Organizing

  • Dish detergent
  • Sponge and dishcloth
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Tissues
  • Febreze
  • Hand-held vacuum
  • Laundry supplies (bag, detergent, fabric softener)
  • Instant stain remover
  • 3M wall hooks
  • Double closet rod

Campus Gear

  • Raincoat and umbrella
  • Bike and bike lock
  • Backpack
  • Swimsuit
  • Walking shoes
  • Water bottle
  • Travel mug
  • Sunscreen

Don't Forget

  • Important paperwork (health insurance card, driver's license)
  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Batteries
  • House key for home!

Ask First

Some schools have restrictions on the following items. Before you pack them, contact your college’s housing and residence life office.