When you start college — or return for another year — you’ll need to bring a lot of college school supplies with you. If you’re staying at home to attend a local college or take online classes, you’ll still need several things to help make your school year successful.
Suggestion: Don’t procrastinate getting the things you need!
Students often scramble to shop for college supplies last minute, and your selection might be limited. Additionally, you may forget important items if you wait until just before the school year begins.
Instead, you can create your shopping list now and start looking for the items you need. What items should be on your packing list for college? In the spirit of preparedness, here’s a useful breakdown of college essentials.
A Sturdy Backpack
For the first day of college, you’ll need a backpack for carrying your books and supplies around campus — and it will certainly be one of your most-used (if not beloved) essentials. So, don’t skimp on quality! For example, look for one that’s sturdy yet not too heavy, as you’ll probably already carry a lot of weight. You can also choose one that’s roomy enough to tote around everything you need — such as your laptop — with the right number and size of compartments and pockets. You can use this Backpacks Buying Guide to find a backpack that will fit your needs.
But don’t overlook aesthetics. You’ll carry your backpack everywhere, so you want to pick one that you’ll feel good slinging over your shoulders.
Storage containers: Especially with how small most dorm rooms are, storage containers are often essential for keeping your things organized. Consider a plastic storage bin that can slide under your bed. A rolling cart or storage cart can keep your books, papers, or other supplies in one place. Don’t forget a label maker to keep things organized!
Trash can. You may need to bring your own trash can and trash bags to your dorm room, which will be necessary to toss things out and keep your room tidy.
Laundry supplies. Most dorms offer a communal laundry room, so be sure to stock up on laundry detergent, fabric softener, and laundry sheets so you always have fresh clothes. You’ll also want to bring a laundry bag since you’ll probably have to tote your laundry around. Most importantly, don’t forget some money to use the washer and dryer!
Shower supplies. If you’ll use a shared shower space, you may need more than your usual toiletries and a bath towel. Consider bringing a shower caddy, shower shoes, and a robe.
Desk lamp. Putting a lamp on your desk can make it easier to burn the midnight oil — if needed — and get work done. A desk lamp can be especially helpful if you need to pull an all-nighter while your roommate sleeps.
Dry-erase board and dry-erase markers. Magnetic dry-erase boards and markers can be a great way to note important reminders and are handy for dorm room communications.
Bed sheets, pillows, and comforters. Sleeping well is important for staying focused in class and doing well on your college exams. A nice pillow, comfy bed sheets, mattress pad, and a warm comforter are must-haves for your dorm room bed. Make sure you check the size of the bed in your dorm before buying!
Comfortable desk chair. College is known for homework — a lot of homework. You’ll be spending a lot of time studying at your desk, so investing in an ergonomic office chair for your dorm can be a great idea. Consider a cool gaming chair if you also like to spend free time hanging out and gaming in your dorm with friends.
Mini Tool Kit. A mini tool kit may come in handy for minor fixes and assembling. Basic tools to include are a screwdrivers, pliers, wrench, and hammer.
Before you buy dorm room supplies, check with your college or dorm management to find out what items will be available to you and what you’re allowed — or not allowed — to have.
For example, some dorms may have communal microwaves and prohibit students from bringing their own.
Technology and Accessories
You’ll want to line up the right technology to maximize your study time. A laptop will be key for taking notes in class, writing papers, or coursework. But here are other technologies to consider putting on your college supply list:
Computer mouse. A wireless mouse is a must, even if you have a laptop with a built-in pad — speeding up your study and coursework time. You can pair your mouse with a trendy yet comfortable mouse pad.
Flash drive. It’s very handy to store and transport large files you need on a flash drive, to print at the library, for example.
External hard drive. This will give you extra storage. If you run out of room on your laptop, move files and photos to a hard drive.
Printer. Many courses now accept digital copies of papers. That said, certain professors may still ask for a hard copy, so a printer may come in handy. Remember to pack extra ink and paper for the printer.
Wireless router. If you live in a dorm, fast wireless internet is probably provided. Otherwise, you may need a wireless router and modem for your apartment or other living quarters.
Laptop cable lock. There are often many people around you. Use a laptop lock as a deterrent for would-be thieves.
Headphones. Tune out the distractions of dorm life with a new pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
Bluetooth speaker. What’s college without rocking out and having fun with friends once in a while? A Bluetooth speaker brings your jams with you wherever you go.
Don’t forget about all the everyday school supplies that can simplify college life and studying. Here’s a supply list for college:
Notebooks. To stay organized, you’ll probably want at least one college-ruled notebook per course. Color-coding composition books can help you easily tell them apart.
Academic planner. Keeping track of when assignments are due or various academic and social events can be greatly aided by a planner. The best college planners are those designed for college students.
Pens and highlighters. You’ll want ample writing utensils that make note-taking and coursework easier. Consider getting different color pens and highlighters.
Desktop organizer and pencil cup. Staying neat and organized is one of the first steps to college success. You can keep everything on your desk in place with a desk organizer, desk shelf, and pencil cup.
Drawer organizer. Use a drawer organizer inside your desk to keep all of your supplies separated and accessible. Stock it with desk essentials like tape, paper clips, binder clips, sticky notes, and scissors.
Folders and binders, and paper clips. These will help you keep papers organized. Various binders and file folders are available in different styles and colors to fit your needs.
What Not To Bring To College
You’ll likely only have so much space when moving to college. To help make the most of your dorm room, here are some items you may want to reconsider bringing:
Too much clothing. You’ll want to have enough clothes for different seasons and occasions but try to avoid bringing your whole wardrobe as it will likely be unnecessary and take up space.
Irreplaceable items. Sentimental items like a special gift from a loved one may not be a good idea to bring to your dorm. Dorms can often be busy and shared with roommates, meaning some things can get lost or misplaced more easily than at home.
Large book collections. While books are valuable for studying, bringing an extensive book collection can take up a lot of space. Consider using e-books or the college library instead.
Too many cooking utensils. A few cups, plates, bowls, and utensils can be convenient in your dorm but try to avoid bringing too many, as you can simply wash the ones you have before reusing them.
These items are just the basics. Everything you need will depend on your living situation, coursework, and how you spend your free time. For example, you might want to bring some entertainment items to your dorm, such as a gaming console and gaming headset.
Once you start school, your life will get very busy quickly. Buy the things on your checklist for college now so you can focus on your academic life once you’re there.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is,” and neither the author nor Office Depot warrants the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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