Must-Have College Essentials for Move-in Day

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27 September, 2021

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Packing for college may seem like an overwhelming and impossible task, especially when you’ve got the first day of school jitters! But whether you are attending college across the country or only a few minutes away from home, having the right supplies can make a huge difference in acclimating to a new school environment and shaking off the homesickness. While stylish room decor and your new campus wardrobe may seem like top priorities, it’s important not to forget about the necessities you wouldn’t want to be without. It can be easy to skip over laundry baskets and snow-proof shoes, but these are the practical items that you will need on a day-to-day basis.

Before jumping into the list of must-have items for college, here are a few tried packing tips. Firstly, if you are on a shopping budget, you can cut back on online spending by using browser extensions like Capital One shopping. Next, before you purchase any of your college goods, make sure to check if there are any items prohibited on campus. Finally, consider reaching out to a current student about what to pack. After all, they’ve been in your shoes once before!

Whether you are living in a dorm or off-campus, this cohesive list will provide you with all of the essentials to survive freshman year. Are you ready to start the next chapter of your life? Let’s get started!

Bedding Basics

First things first: Bedding. This is most likely an essential you have already thought about, and it’s going to go a long way in making your freshman year cosy and comfortable. Nothing shouts dorm life quite like a tiny twin bed — sorry freshman! Make sure to double-check the bed size in your freshman dorm, but you most likely will be purchasing pillowcases, pillows, a comforter or quilt, and a sheet set that fits a twin-sized bed. Depending on where you are attending college, you may want to consider buying a warmer duvet for the cold winter months. 

While the twin bed life may be unavoidable, purchasing a few extra bedding items will help you sleep like a baby. The first must-have item is a mattress topper. Mattress toppers do wonders for back pain and posture and are also a cost-effective way to help make your bed a soft haven to come home to after classes. If you struggle with sleeping or are prone to anxiety, purchasing a weighted blanket is also highly recommended. These miracle workers are great for bad sleepers and are sure to help with blissful sleep, even if your roommate is a snorer. 

Shower Essentials and Toiletries

Taking your first shower in freshman year will bring you back to your high school locker room days. It may not be as relaxing as a bubble bath at home, but it’s part of the true college experience! To embrace showering in college, you will want all of your basic toiletries, shampoo, soap, conditioner, razors, and everything you typically use when showering. However, there are a couple of new items you will also want to purchase. 

Firstly, a waterproof shower caddy that you can either bring into the shower with you or leave outside, is a useful way to carry your items to the shower. Depending on your dorm, you might have to walk a little to reach the communal bathroom. Having all of your toiletries in one place will make your transition as smooth as possible. Next up, you will want to purchase some waterproof shower shoes or flip-flops that will protect your feet from the bacteria and germs lingering in communal showers. Your days showering barefoot are over, at least for now!

While loofahs may be luxurious, leave yours at home. Instead, opt for a few washcloths that you can toss in the laundry to protect yourself from germs. Last but not least, make sure to put together a first-aid kit to bring along, including bandaids, disinfectants, tweezers, basic adhesive bandages, vitamins, as well as cold and pain medication. This will help you cut down on trips to the health centre, especially when there’s a minor emergency. 

Laundry and Cleaning Supplies

Another college rite of passage will be your first load of laundry. As a young adult, you are now in charge of washing your clothes— fun right? To help survive your college laundry experience, stock up on detergent, dryer sheets, and fabric softener. You will also need a laundry basket to carry all of your dirty clothes to and from the laundry room. Think about how often you wash your clothes at home when purchasing your laundry bag — do you want to go big or small? Investing in a drying rack and stain remover stick also can’t hurt. Before your first day of school, check your college website to confirm how you pay for laundry at school. Whether you pay with cash or use a swipe system, you might want to know if you need to start stocking up on quarters. 

While your doom room doesn’t need to be spotless (really, whose is), dust and dirt can build up quickly, and you will want to invest in basic cleaning supplies, including a broom and dustpan, trash can liners, and antibacterial wipes. Although your room most likely won’t be carpeted, if it is, invest in a vacuum.

Student Supplies for College

School supplies

Let’s not forget why you are there — to learn! For all of your classes and studying, you will need school supplies. While many of these items will be available on campus, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Notebooks, planners, folders, index cards, pens and pencils, highlighters, post-its, staplers, and paper clips are some of the standard school items that will help you master your first week of classes like a pro. A sturdy backpack will also be crucial to carry all of these loose items to and from classes with ease — not to mention those heavy college textbooks!


Okay, now for the good stuff: electronics. Having the right electronics to succeed in college is now more important than ever, as classes rely more heavily on digital and virtual learning. This may seem obvious, but don’t forget to pack your laptop and charger -- you’ll need them! It’s also a good idea to pack extension cords and flash drives to back up your precious school files, just in case. 

While you will need certain electronics to complete your schoolwork, you’ll also want them to kick back and relax after hitting the books. It can be tricky balancing schoolwork with college activities, but you will certainly have some downtime. book Make sure to download and sign up for some of the hundreds of on-demand streaming services available for cosy movie nights with your new college friends. If you are a gamer, purchasing a surge protector and bringing it with you to college is well worth the investment. A reliable surge protector will keep your expensive gaming P.C from imploding at the worst moment, saving you money and heartache down the line. 

Cooking supplies for Moving Day

Cooking supplies

The last thing to add to your college checklist is cooking supplies. If you are living in a dorm room with no access to a kitchen, this may not apply to you. However, for all you off-campus housers out there, or those with access to a kitchen, listen up! 

Even though you will most likely have access to dining halls, having your own kitchen equipment can come in handy if you need to eat breakfast on the go, or if you are hankering for a midnight snack. Having at least one bowl, plate, cup, or mug, and a set of silverware will certainly be useful if you want to whip up a quick and easy student-friendly recipe. If you have a glass-top stove in your kitchen, make sure you are purchasing the appropriate cookware for that as well. Once you are done noshing, having sponges and dish soap on hand will help you clean up after the fact. If you like to snack throughout the day, it also might be worth investing in a mini-fridge.


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