The ULTIMATE College Packing List

College Packing List

August is approaching quickly and everyone knows that August is back-to-school season! I’m gearing up to start my junior year at Temple University and I can’t help but think back and be amazed at how far I’ve come since starting my college career. My mind immediately drifts back to how scared I was to start a whole new life at Temple. I had no clue what to expect or how to make the most of my experience.

One thing I distinctly remember is not knowing what to bring with me to school. I am the first one in my family to head off to college (cousins included!) so I was spending lots and lots of time on Pinterest looking up packing lists and asking other incoming freshmen in the Temple University Class of 2017 Facebook group what they were bringing and leaving at home.

It was a grueling process trying to find THE college packing list. You know what I mean, THE packing list that had EVERYTHING I needed… even the really obscure things that no one would think of. So, in order to assist you incoming freshman, I’ve poured over college packing list upon college packing list to compile THE list of your dreams. If there is anything I’ve missed (we all make mistakes) please let me know down in the comments!

Here’s a link to a printable version of this list.


  • Comforter
  • Sheets
  • Pillow(s)
  • Mattress pad (optional)
  • Mattress topper (optional)
  • Towels
  • Washcloths/ Lufa
  • Extra blanket (it gets chilly in the dorms!)
  • Sleeping bag (for when your friends sleep over… they’ll thank you for it)

Storage & Organization

  • Hangers
  • Storage bins (you’ll need at least a couple to put under your bed!)
  • Bed lifts (optional if your dorm allows them… most dorms have beds that can be adjusted!)
  • Hooks (for towels, purses, jackets, scarves)


  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush/ toothbrush heads (if you have an electric one)
  • Floss (if you use it)
  • Mouth wash
  • Face wash
  • Hand soap
  • Bar soap/body wash/shower gel
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body lotion/hand lotion
  • Razor/razor blades
  • Shaving cream
  • Nair or Veet (if you use that)
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush holder (if you think you’ll need it… I kept my toothbrush in an over-the-door organizer so I didn’t use one)
  • Soap dish (if you will be using bar soap to wash your hands)
  • Shower caddy/shower shelves (the showers in my dorm didn’t have shelves so I bought some to put in the shower. It was a huge help! If you don’t have your own bathroom then you obviously won’t need them. Get a cute shower caddy instead!)
  • Shower curtain, bath mat (if you have your own bathroom!)
  • Bath robe
  • Tampons, pads, liners
  • Shower shoes (if you’re using a communal bathroom… most people I know just used an old pair of Old Navy flip flops)
  • Perfume, body spray

Hair Products

  • Mousse
  • Hair spray
  • Heat protector spray
  • Gel
  • Bobby pins
  • Hair clips
  • Brush
  • Hair ties (many, many, hair ties)
  • Headbands
  • Blow dryer
  • Straightener
  • Curling iron/wand


  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish remover
  • Nail file
  • Nail clippers


  • Makeup bag
  • Chapstick/lipstick/lipgloss
  • Mascara
  • Eye liner
  • Eye shadow
  • Eyebrow pencil
  • Primer
  • Moisturizer
  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • Powder
  • Blush
  • Brushes
  • Makeup remover/makeup remover wipes

Cleaning Supplies/Paper Products

  • Toilet paper, baby wipes (if you’re living in a suite)
  • Paper towels
  • Tissues
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Shower cleaner, bathroom cleaner (suite style)
  • Lysol
  • Toilet brush, plunger (suite style)
  • Air freshener
  • Broom + dust pan
  • Swiffer (if your room is big enough)
  • Vacuum (if there’s going to be a rug in your room… you’ll need it)
  • Mop + bucket (if you decide you want one… we never used ours)
  • Garbage bags
  • Garbage can (one for your side of the room, and one big one for the common area if you’re living in a suite)

Room Essentials

  • Lamp (the lighting in our dorm room was super harsh so we bought a lamp and we LOVED using it. It made the room so much more homey)
  • Fan (my roommate can’t sleep without the noise of a fan so we had one blowing at night… but at times it got really hot in the room and we needed it for cooling purposes!)
  • Christmas lights (seriously… you need them)
  • Full length mirror for door
  • Area rug (if you want one)


  • Drying rack (I used mine a LOT)
  • Laundry basket (I had 2… one laundry bag and one basket. I kept my dirty clothes in the bag and used the basket to take my clothes to the laundry room)
  • Laundry detergent
  • Stain remover (you’ll probs need this)
  • Iron, ironing board (if you think you’ll need it… we never used it)
  • Dryer sheets
  • QUARTERS (if your washers and dryers take quarters… at Temple we were lucky enough to be able to use our IDs to pay)

Desk Stuff

  • Desk lamp
  • Calendar
  • Light bulbs (for your desk lamp and your bedroom lamp!)
  • Dry erase/bulletin board (my roommate and I used the bulletin board to tack our schedules up so we knew where the other was during the day!)


  • Laptop
  • Laptop charger
  • Laptop carrying case (if you use one… I just use my backpack)
  • Extension cords (you’ll need multiple)
  • Power strips (at least 2, probably)
  • Cables if you want to set up an ethernet connection with your laptop
  • Printer and ink cartridges (Temple has a lot of printers but there were a lot of times where I found myself finishing up a paper late at night and had no way to print it… having my own printer was a lifesaver many times)
  • Flash drive (if you still use one… most times you’ll just be emailing papers to yourself or saving it on Google drive or Dropbox)
  • TV
  • DVD player
  • DVDs
  • Alarm clock/iHome
  • iPhone cases
  • Mini fridge (if you need one)
  • Microwave (if you dorm doesn’t already have one)
  • Video came console
  • Video games


  • Batteries
  • Umbrella (highly recommend a bubble umbrella if you’re going to college in the city… cities are WINDY)
  • Mini tool kit (you probs won’t need this after move in day but it might be nice to have in case of an emergency)
  • Sewing kit (never used one of these but if you think you will, go for it!)
  • Flashlight (to be honest, I never needed to use a flashlight… there’s one already on your iPhone)
  • First Aid Kit (this one is important… make sure you have extra bandaids and Neosporin)
  • Duffel Bag (for those all-important trips home or when you head over to your friends dorm for a sleepover!)
  • Books (don’t bring too many… you probably won’t have time to read)
  • Wall decor… pictures from home, art prints, posters, etc. You know what you’re decorating your walls with.
  • Refillable water bottle (THIS one is important. I didn’t have one before coming to Temple but I bought one on my first day. There are so many filtered water stations around campus and I love having my refillable water bottle with me at all times!)
  • Raincoat
  • Rain boots
  • Blender bottle (if you have one/if you work out)
  • Camera
  • Board games/playing cards (basically, just bring Cards Against Humanity and a deck of playing cards)
  • Bug spray
  • Beach towel (you’ll probably want this if you’re planning to do any sort of grass lounging outside)
  • Bike/bike lock (if you want to bring your bike)
  • Ziplock bags (can be used for so many things…)
  • Jewelry: earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets, watch
  • Tin foil/saran wrap (to store the leftover pizza I know you’ve ordered to the dorm… pizza boxes don’t fit well in a mini fridge)


  • Backpack/tote/purse/whatever you use
  • A few envelopes with stamps on them (just in case)
  • Push pins
  • Glue
  • Check out this list for the rest of the school supplies I think you’ll need!


  • Acne cream
  • Aspirin/Advil
  • Ibuprofen
  • Eye drops, glasses, contacts, contact solution
  • Ice pack (if you’ll have your own fridge)
  • Retainer
  • Allergy medicine
  • Vitamins
  • Birth control (pills, condoms, whatever you use)
  • Any other medication you might need


  • Popcorn (for movie nights!)
  • Granola bars (this is usually all I eat for breakfast so I loved having these in my room)
  • Easy mac (for the nights you just don’t feel like leaving the dorm)
  • Ketchup
  • Snacks

Important Documents

  • Student ID
  • Bank information/checks
  • Debit card
  • Credit card (if you have one… I don’t)
  • Cash
  • Gift cards (if you can use them somewhere at or near campus)
  • Driver’s license
  • Medical insurance card
  • Social security card (or at least have the number memorized!)


I’m not going to tell you what clothes you should pack but please remember these items…

  • Heavy winter coat
  • Hats/gloves/scarves
  • At least one professional interview outfit
  • Lots and lots of socks & underwear

Phew! That was a lot. Hopefully this list was helpful for you, and don’t forget to write in the comments if you think there’s anything I’ve missed.

If you want the list for yourself to edit and print, leave your email below and a link to a Google drive doc will be sent to you. You can’t edit on Google drive (please don’t request access!) but you can save it to your own drive or download it to your computer to edit there. Or you can just print it out! Happy shopping!

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  • Ashley Vickney

    I wish i would have had this when I left for college! My favorite tip is to wait to buy cords for TV’s, powerstrips, command strips and other things until you get there! I was able to buy exactly what I needed for my room, it saved a lot of money! xoxo

    • That is a great tip!! Thanks for stopping by, Ashley!! :)

  • Jamie @ The Fashion Newcomer

    This was SO great and so necessary for me! I’m headed off to college in the fall and definitely was extremely confused with what to actually bring (so many lists out there!). Thanks so much for this – so helpful!

    xoxo, Jamie

    • Hi Jamie, I’m SO glad you found this helpful!! There definitely are a ton of lists out there!! XO

  • Julie @ Making Mindfulness

    Awesome list! Super helpful for any students starting school (or too relaxed this summer to think…) I LOVE that you’ve included a drying rack and a refillable water bottle–we use ours daily! Nice work.
    Julie @ Making Mindfulness

    • I absolutely love my refillable water bottle!! I think I’m going to get another one before school starts back up again, any recommendations? :)

  • Definitely helpful tips!
    I would totally use this list if I were going into college this year.
    Thanks for compiling this list :)

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

  • Kristine Circenis

    Great list! I would also include a Swiffer (to avoid the hot mess that is a mop and bucket). (Semi)Pro tip: make sure you know what size bed you will be sleeping on…


    • That is a great point!! And I have the swiffer on there as well as a mop + bucket. We never used our mop but we did wish we had a swiffer many times!!

  • This is such a thorough list Kayla! I will certainly share and pass it along…#millennialblogger

  • These are all great ideas! I would also suggest a type of small vacuum. I had one both years in the dorms and it came in handy very often. Carpets/rugs get very dirty quickly when people are constantly in and out of your room. Other than that, I don’t see anything I would recommend that you didn’t mention! I will totally second the stain remover times like a million. I had it and it came in handy a few times, and people were constantly asking to borrow it!

    Colleen | Buckeye Bliss

  • Cassie Arenz

    I wish I could go back to freshman year sometimes!
    A couple items I would add to the clothes is a good pair of winter boots (especially for the cold areas). Bean boots are my fave. Also a good pair of rain boots for the rainier climates (like central Illinois). I would also bring some wool socks, because those things can be a life saver in the winter!

    • I’m dying to get myself a pair of Bean boots!! These are great additions, Cassie, thanks!!

      • I definitely recommend them! But make sure you order them early enough; mine were on a 3 month back order when I ordered them last year.

  • This is such a great list, I totally could have used a list like this my freshman year of college. I think the important documents section is especially important, a lot of students don’t think about those things at the end of high school!

    • So true!! I didn’t even think to bring them, but luckily my mom was on point with remembering that stuff haha.

  • Ashley

    I wish I would have had this list when I was getting ready to go to college! Such a helpful checklist, especially those (like myself) who are the first in their family to go!

    xo Ashley

    • Yeah, I was the first to go as well and it was really hard trying to figure everything out for the first time without any guidance!! Hopefully this list will help some other first-gen college goers :)

  • I didn’t go away to school, but this seems like the perfect list! You’ve thought of everything.

  • Tiffani Grosser

    I didn’t even live in a dorm room and I think this list is PHENOMENAL! Going to have to “Pin” this for all of my younger friends to see!

  • I miss college so much! Like you, when I first went, I was so overwhelmed because I had no idea that I’d need so much stuff! This packing list is amazing! It definitely would have come in handy back when I was in school. Good luck with your junior year!

  • Lauren Ashley

    I never went away to college but this seems like an amazing list!


    The Fashionista’s Diary

  • I’ve never had to “go away” for school but this is so absolutely perfect! Love that you included a printable version, so helpful!

    xx | Steph @ The Lovely Essentials & Jenssen’s Designs

  • College is a memory of the past for me but wow I wish I had this list when I went off to school! I’m thinking I should pin this for safe keeping for my little sister that will go to college in a couple of years! Thanks!

    How 2 Wear It []

  • Allison Ellzey

    Where was this when I was in college lol I would say that a mattress pad and topper are both MANDATORY lol it makes ALL the difference!

  • I wish I had this list back when I was in school! I totally overpacked, but you really broke down the essentials.

    xo, Alicia | Alicia Tenise

    • Thanks Alicia!! I had a hard time with over packing as well, but I tried to make note of the things that I didn’t need within this list

  • I think that this is a great, all-inclusive list! We often forget so many little things when packing for college, and you cover all the bases!
    Alexandra |

    • Thanks Alexandra!! It was my goal to try to remember every little thing and I’m glad you think I did a good job of remembering it all :)

  • This is such a great list, and I wish I had this back when I was in college! So many little things that get forgotten, I almost always had to make a trip to the store to get something I forgot!

  • The perfect packing list! Amazing! Nothing was left out. I wish I had this two years ago. I literally left behind most of my important documents (birth certificate, medical insurance card, social security, etc.)

    xoxo, Danielle

  • I’m so impressed by this list!! It really is the only packing list you will need. Stamps are an especially good idea since I used them a lot more than I thought I would.

    • Aww, thanks Jenni!! Yeah, I found myself wishing I had a few stamps, especially last year. I volunteered to be a pen pal for some children with autism for my frat’s philanthropy and I was running around looking everywhere for stamps lol.

  • Drying racks all the way!! Wait, how did I not know you went to Temple??? I’m finishing up at Penn! We were/are neighbors! Also awesome list. I’m finally trying to pack more minimally this final year…we shall see how it goes!

    Coming Up Roses

    • Thanks!! Good luck with packing minimally, lol. It’s such a hard thing to do!! And I didn’t know you went to Penn?! Maybe we can meet up and talk blogging sometime :)

      • YES, definitely down!

  • Cat

    This is perfect! It’s crazy how much you actually need when you go to college.

    • I know right, there’s so much to remember! Thanks for stopping by + leaving a comment!

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  • I wish I’d had this list when I was in college! Such a great resource! I definitely second the Lysol (saw way too much weird stuff as an RA lol) & quarters!!! They never had any quarters on my campus!

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  • Lisette Ranger

    great list but the link to the printable version is broken. :(