What You Absolutely Need to Bring to College This Fall

Are you stressing about what to bring to college with you this fall? Are you worried that you’ll leave something behind and your life will be over as you go back to school?

You don’t need to worry any longer!

You’ll find all of the help you need here when it comes to deciding what to bring to college and what you can’t leave off your college dorm checklist.

A few years ago I put together a piece on college dorm room essentials. This post ended up being much more popular than I expected it to be. Little did I know how many students are looking for what to bring for college.

Let’s go over the original college dorm room essentials that I included the first time around:

  • Coffee maker.
  • Hangers.
  • Can opener.
  • The dorm room fridge.
  • Microwave.
  • Laptop.
  • Desk lamp.
  • TV w/ dvd player.
  • USB stick.
  • Sandals.

While my list was pretty extensive at the time, I missed a few key items and you guys missed out on a few items to bring for college. I then updated my college dorm checklist with what you guys had to add.

What did the readers add to this college dorm checklist?

Una wrote in:

My dorm had a common room with a TV, DVD-player and kitchen (including microwave, kettle and fridge). I used the common room TV or my laptop form all my TV/movie needs (besides, TV’s are time drains). We were also not allowed to bring microwaves, hotplate or anything of the sort, and I never needed it because there were some in the common area that I could use. I did get a mini fridge though, as food in the common room fridge would consequently be eaten by drunken floormates. I also never needed quarters for laundry, as we had a pre-paid card system.

Stuff I really recommend bringing to college with you:

– Two sets of sheets.
– Mini-fridge.
– Printer (I don’t think I would have saved anything by printing at the library – plus I could print and run, instead of lining up for a computer to print from).
– Comfy chair/bean bag chair/futon and a drawstring bag – if you want to hang out in your room too – also great for doing your first read-throughs).
– Posters, pictures and keepsakes..

Stephanie added in some more items to the college dorm checklist:

Always check to see what’s allowed in your dorm! My dorm disallowed microwaves, hot plates, or any other heating appliance without an automatic shutoff. They provided at least one microwave for community use on each floor. I definitely second the can opener, though – I was the only freshman on my floor to bring one, so people were constantly borrowing mine! And bring really cheap flip-flops for the shower – my siblings bought me a pair, but didn’t realize they were actually cool light-up ones that weren’t waterproof, so I had to buy another pair. (I miss those light-up sandals, they were awesome!)

Then a year later I wrote another post based on reader feedback and the crazy amount of emails that I received on the topic. This time the post was about even more college dorm room essentials that you need. On this list I included:

  • Leave your closet behind (an anti-item).
  • Vacuum cleaner.
  • Cleaning supplies.
  • Stack of movies.
  • Earphones.
  • Earplugs.

This post once again received some great reader feedback.

MFO wrote in:

I just want to re-emphasize the earplugs. Those can be a SERIOUS grade saver! Not in that hearing you roomates will keep you awake while you try to sleep (though that DOES happen), but also so that when you hear your roomates having fun, you don’t get up and join them.

I’d also add an eyecover thing (not sure what it’s called). The little pieces of fabric that you strap over your eyes to block out light, they hand them out on airplanes, but they work wonders if you have roomates studying in the same room!

Another reader chimed in with:

Ahh, bring as many clothes as possible so you have to do laundry as little as possible. Also don’t bring a vacuum, make friends with the girls across the hall and borrow theirs. Bring plenty of trash bags, also popcorn smells good to most people and makes them stop in.

Now I challenge you to find something that I missed off this list. What else can you bring with you to college? What are things that you need for college?

9 thoughts on “What You Absolutely Need to Bring to College This Fall”

  1. Edward Antrobus

    Do colleges generally allow George Foreman grills in dorms these days? I know my buddy had one and, ever the entrepreneur, made grilled cheese with it and sold them to his team mates during summer training camp when the cafeterias were closed. I didn’t get mine until after I left campus, so I’m not sure what my school’s policy was. I did, however have an illicit hot plate to make weekly spaghetti dinner for my roommates (took 2 hrs to boil the water).
    I’m mostly wondering because I’m working on a short guide to cooking without a stove that I intended to gear towards students. If George Foremans are out, I’m going to have to retool.

    I never brought or used earplugs or eye cover. Music/tv while I was in bed never bothered me, I sleep better with some noise. My roommate for my first two years was nocturnal, he didn’t go to bed until about an hour before I got up in the morning. But the light never bothered me either. I was the perfect roommate, as long as you weren’t too much of a slob, pretty much nothing ever bothered me.

    I definitely agree with the student credit card. Discover treated me well until I got out of school and started abusing it. The student card has no annual fee and you earn cash back. And I still use the lunch bag I got for applying. 🙂

  2. alysa@impulsesave.com

    When it comes to essential dorms items, Lysol wipes are a must! They’re great, and especially useful for move-in day to wipe down the dorm room. The other couple must haves: extension cords/power strips (dorms are notorious for putting outlets in the most awkward places), command hooks, and air freshener. I also totally agree with Sabrina about getting a small fan – those come in handy not just for air circulation purposes, but my friend uses it for the white noise too!

  3. I agree with the comment about the Lysol wipes. You do NOT want to get sick in college, but everyone does because they live in such close quarters. I’m a freak when it comes to staying healthy. I take more vitamins and ingest more vitamin C than is probably recommended but I usually stay pretty healthy. I bring anti-bac wipes with me to class and wipe down my desk before class starts too. I’ve gotten some dirty looks before but I rarely miss class [when I’m sick haha.] Also, try to stock up on some medicines before you leave for college when your parents take you shopping. You won’t want to dish out cash for medicine if you DO get sick, and it’s always good to have some things handy.

    1. I’m of the opposite opinion. In order to have a strong and healthy immune system, you need to expose yourself to pathogens. I don’t use anti-bacterial anything. And the one time I got sick in 4 years of dorm living was a bad flu that was going around and I got from my girlfriend. Since that time (10 years ago), I have had a bad cold where the cough stayed with me for a month, and a stomach flu that I picked up while volunteering in a prison. 2 illnesses in a decade; I feel I must be doing something right.

  4. There were definitely some good things on this list. I would possibly add the multi-packs of Raman noodles as well! Warning against bringing the “anti-item”, the whole closet, is a good idea in my experience. Sometimes, people buy everything they could ever need for a year in the Amazon before they ever get to their dorm room, forgetting that they can usually get a ride to Wal Mart pretty easily and pick up whatever they need once they have a better understanding as life happens in the dorm.

    I spend time advising people about researching credit cards before they carelessly sign up for one. If this is true for people with great credit histories researching cards, then it is even more true for college students signing up for their first credit card and beginning their credit history.

    1. Thanks for the comment Mac. It’s funny how much shopping can be done at Wal Mart. I’ve been to a Wal Mart in Canada, U.S, and Mexico, and these guys got everything you could ask for.

  5. Naturally when you first move in to a dorm, it is likely to be the time you are most liable to become homesick and feel lost. So a simple thing like reminding you to ensure you have all you need as well as some boredom buster tools is an invaluable help.

    Earplugs, I definitely agree, are a must but here is a thought many would not have thought about. Ok, others may distract you when you’re sleeping but have you ever considered the fact you may be a snorer yourself. It can be very embarrassing if you are but easily remedied with nose strips available at most drug stores.

    Reading down the list I see the student credit card is mentioned. Well far be it from me to spoil the party but I would advise anyone to be very careful here and if at all possible to live without one then do just that and don’t have.

    We all think we are disciplined but frankly when it comes to it not many of us are and if you can live on your allowance only then it would be wiser. However yes they are useful for online purchases but still give it serious thought before you apply for one.

    As time goes by and you make new friends, things get easier but this post is a great aid to prevent those early day blues as having all you need certainly makes life a little easier.

  6. An adequate supply of vitamins. You won’t have your parents to take care of you when your sick. Aside from the busy schedule of a college student, adjusting to a new environment can be draining. Bring the essential vitamins with you since nothing can ruin your experience more than being sick in your first years.

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