Sending a child off to college is a stressful time for everyone involved. Why let packing add to your anxiety? Most college towns have a big box store (or even a Bed Bath & Beyond) nearby, so buy the trashcans, lamps and hotpots when you get there and save room in the trunk for the true essentials.
See also: 11 Dorm Room Essentials
Bring From Home:
- 2 weeks worth of underwear and socks
- Clothes that will carry you through fall temperatures (you can bring your winter gear at Thanksgiving)
- Pajamas (you might be hanging around the dorm in them, so skip the skimpy ones)
- Raincoat & boots
- Fall jacket
- Hat & gloves (if climate-appropriate)
- At least one cocktail dress or jacket & tie (for semiformal events, particularly if you’re planning to rush a fraternity or sorority)
- At least one pair of dress shoes
- Everyday shoes
- Hiking boots if you plan to explore the outdoors
- At least one bathing suit
- 2 sets of towels & a beach towel or two (if you don’t have extras, buy them there)
- 2 sets of sheets and pillowcases (or buy them there)
- Your favorite pillow
- Under-the-bed storage bins (if you’re driving, use them to pack clothes or supplies)
- Cell phone (and charger!)
- iPod (and headphones!)
- Laptop computer (don’t forget the power cords!)
- Sports equipment (if you really think you’ll use it)
- Medications (plus your doctor’s phone number, any extra prescriptions, and something that indicates your blood type)
- Driver’s license, insurance card, social security card (or copy), birth certificate (or copy), ATM card, checkbook, credit card, passport (if you plan to travel)
- Receipts for anything you did buy at a big box store or BB&B, in case you want to exchange it
Buy at School:
- Bathroom caddy or toiletries bag (you may be toting it from your room to the bathroom daily)
- Your favorite toiletries: Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, moisturizer, facial soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, hairbrush, styling gel, baby powder, deodorant, razor, shaving cream, nail clippers, etc.
- Hair dryer
- Over the counter medications: Ibuprofen, antacid, cold reliever, band-aids, antibacterial gel, etc.
- Earplugs (you may be bunking with a snorer)
- Cleaning supplies: Surface spray or wipes, laundry detergent, dish soap, aromatic room spray, stain remover, etc.
- Air freshener
- Hand-held vacuum
- Small iron & ironing pad (if you think you’ll use them)
- Drying rack
- Wall hooks & picture hangers
- Over-the-door hooks
- Shoe bag or organizer
- Message board
- Bulletin board or magnetic board
- Pushpins or magnets
- Posters and/or picture frames
- Area rug
- Storage boxes & bins
- Laundry bag or basket
- Small safe for valuables
- Alarm clock
- Portable tool kit
- Duct tape (you never know when you’ll need it)
- Water pitcher & purifier (like a Brita filter, to cut down on buying bottled water)
- At least one good coffee mug, bowl and travel mug
- Disposable dishes & silverware (or just collect when you order take out)
- Adapters, power strips & extension cords
- Desk and/or reading lamp (check to see if your dorm provides these first)
- Trashcan (dorms usually provide these too)
- Desk supplies: stapler, staples, tape dispenser & tape, pens, pencils, highlighters, sticky notes, scissors, white-out, printer ink, printer paper, etc.
- USB flash drive (or two)
- Microwave & mini-fridge (you can often rent these in your dorm for the school year)
- Coffee maker (if you can’t even make it to the dining hall without caffeine)
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