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What to Bring to College: The Best College Packing List Ever


If you ask me, one of the most exciting parts of college is packing. Think about it: you're grabbing everything you need to build your ~brand new life~ as a college student, and it's a pretty big deal. But while it's super exciting, it can also be really, really stressful. And that's where, with help from some of my fave brands, I come in. Welcome to the College Packing list, your guide to everything you need for college.

Whether you're moving into a dorm, off-campus housing, an apartment or even just redecorating your bedroom at home, refreshing that space is the best way to start the semester off on a fresh note. From the key items (hello, bedding and snacks!) to little details and the small things you're bound to forget, here at HCHQ we have years of college shopping knowledge all rounded up into one comprehensive list. Ready to start shopping?! Me too!



college packing listIs anything more important than the perfect bedding for your first college bedroom? As far as I'm concerned, nope, not really. Your bed is where you'll end up spending a good amount of time, from eating late-night take-out to cramming for your final. So make it a cozy space you can be proud of — and take some amazing shots for Insta.

  • Bedbug-protecting mattress cover (HC Pick)
  • Foam topper (HC Pick)
  • Mattress pad (HC Pick)
  • Twin XL sheet set (HC Pick)
  • Duvet and duvet cover or comforter set (HC Pick)
  • Twin XL bed skirt
  • Pillows 
  • Pillowcases 
  • Reading pillow
  • Throw blanket (HC Pick)
  • Throw pillows (HC Pick)
  • Underbed storage  (HC Pick)
  • Sleeping bag or air mattress (HC Pick)


college packing listIn college, your room is like... your entire living space. So don't underestimate the importance of a really killer set-up. Picture brand new friends walking into your room (or video calling and admiring your background!). What do you want them to see? What's the vibe you want to give off? If it was up to me, here's what I'd get.


college packing listWelcome to college, otherwise known as your introduction to doing your own laundry 100% of the time. Want clean leggings? You've gotta wash them yourself. Want to not run out of underwear before the week ends — hey, it happens — throw them in the wash. The last thing you want is to realize that, no, college laundry rooms actually don't provide you with stain remover or drying sheets, so come prepared.

  • Laundry hamper or bag 
  • Lingerie bag
  • Laundry detergent
  • Bleach
  • Color catchers
  • Fabric softener
  • Stain remover
  • Dryer sheets
  • Drying rack
  • Garment bag
  • Iron
  • Ironing board 
  • Lint brush
  • Portable stain remover pen
  • Quarters
  • Sewing kit 


college packing list

Food doesn't grow on trees in college. Well, it might, if you live in Florida or something. But your pantry (or, more likely, the plastic storage bin under your bed) isn't going to suddenly appear stocked with food. So stock it up with just a few of my faves, because microwavable food is a lifestyle.

    • Bulk snacks 
    • Bottled water
    • Granola bars
    • Popcorn
    • Microwavable meals (HC Pick: Tasty Bite Channa Masala or Thai Ginger Curry)
    • Cereal
    • Coffee
    • Coffee creamer
    • Lentils (HC Pick: Tasty Bite Madras Lentils)
    • Sugar
    • Instant hot chocolate
    • Gum 
    • Microwaveable rice (HC Pick: Tasty Bite Basmati Rice or Coconut Rice)
    • Ramen
    • Soup
    • Instant oatmeal
    • Peanut butter and jelly

    Desk/School Supplies

    college packing listWho doesn't love the fresh smell of school supplies? School supplies are a little different in high school than they are in college, mostly because you'll definitely have one professor who will totally chew you out if you don't own a stapler (trust me). You're at college to learn, so do so ~in style~ so you can impress all of your new classmates and also inspire yourself via your fave notebook. Plus, keep your desk as stocked as your closet and you'll never run into an awkward, last minute, "Wait, can I borrow a highlighter?" situation. 

    • Backpack 
    • Tote bag
    • Binder clips
    • Paper clips 
    • Binders
    • Business cards
    • Calculator
    • Calendar
    • Clicker 
    • Desk chair 
    • Desk lamp 
    • Desk organizer
    • Envelopes
    • Stamps
    • Cards/notes to send home
    • File folder for important documents 
    • Desk storage box 
    • Folders
    • Glue
    • Notebook paper
    • Notebooks
    • Notepads
    • Index cards
    • Sticky notes
    • Journal
    • Laptop fan/stand 
    • Pencil case
    • Pencil sharpener
    • Pencils
    • Erasers
    • Pens/colored pens
    • Permanent marker
    • Highlighters
    • White out
    • Planner
    • Portfolio/portfolio case for interviews
    • Lunchbox 
    • Rubber bands
    • Ruler
    • Scissors
    • Stapler
    • Staples
    • Staple remover
    • Tape 
    • Textbooks
    • Three-hole punch

    Kitchen Supplies

    college packing listDepending on where you end up going to school, your kitchen could be anything from a microwave and a mini-fridge to a legit kitchen you're sharing with your roommates. Your college kitchen has to serve your needs whether you're trying to save money by making your coffee at home and taking it to go, or trying to dabble a bit in being a college foodie. 

    • Blender 
    • Microwave (if your school allows it)
    • Mini fridge (if your school allows it)
    • Toaster (if your school allows it)
    • Coffee maker 
    • Oven mitt
    • Water boiler
    • Water filter pitcher 
    • Water filters 
    • Reusable water bottle 
    • Utensils
    • Knives 
    • Dishes 
    • Mugs 
    • Travel mug
    • Bottle opener
    • Can opener
    • Chip clips
    • Napkins
    • Food storage containers
    • Plastic wrap
    • Paper plates
    • Sealable plastic bags
    • Tinfoil
    • Dish towels 
    • Paper towels
    • Dishwashing soap
    • Hand soap
    • Disinfecting wipes
    • Glass cleaner
    • Sponges
    • Duster
    • Broom
    • Dustpan
    • Mini vacuum
    • Mop
    • Trash bags


    college packing listSchool supplies in college definitely require a new category: tech. You'll have papers to send, emails to write, and endless photos to take. Keep your documents fresh (and fast!) with my tech essentials. 

    • Laptop 
    • External hard drive
    • Flash drives
    • Keyboard
    • Wireless mouse
    • Lap desk/stand 
    • Laptop case 
    • Camera
    • SD card for camera
    • E-reader
    • Tablet 
    • Chargers (phone, laptop, camera, etc.)
    • Portable phone charger 
    • Ethernet cable
    • HDMI cable
    • Extension cords
    • Adapters (HDMI, ethernet, etc)
    • Headphones and spare headphones 
    • Speakers 
    • Printer 
    • Printer ink
    • Cord organizer 
    • Printer paper
    • Router
    • Surge protectors 
    • TV 
    • TV stand 
    • Batteries


    college packing listWhether you got lucky and ended up in a dorm with its own bathroom, or if you’ll be experiencing the ~communal bathroom life~ here’s everything you need to pack:Air freshener

    • Shower curtain and rings (if needed)
    • Shower mat
    • Shower organizer (if your school allows it) 
    • Upgraded showerhead (if your school allows it)
    • Bathroom rug
    • Shower shoes
    • Shower cap
    • Shower caddy 
    • Bath pouf
    • Loofah
    • Washcloths
    • Bath towels
    • Hand towels
    • Bathrobe 
    • Tumbler/cup
    • Bathroom cleaning supplies (if you need them for your dorm: i.e., drain cleaner, glass cleaner, rubber gloves, shower cleaner, sponges, toilet brush, toilet cleaner)
    • Scale


    college packing list

    While sharing with your friends can be fun, it gets a little awkward when they ask to borrow your moisturizer the third time around. So share this list with your roommates and get prepared (together!) for all of this semester’s beauty needs.



      • Hand mirror
      • Toothbrush
      • Floss
      • Toothbrush holder
      • Razor
      • Tweezers
      • Hairbrush
      • Comb
      • Bobby pins
      • Blow dryer
      • Diffusers
      • Hair curlers
      • Curling iron
      • Hair straightener
      • Hair ties
      • Hair clips
      • Headbands
      • Contacts, solution, and case
      • Eyeglasses and case
      • Eyeglass cleaner
      • Cotton balls
      • Cotton swabs
      • Tissues
      • Makeup brushes
      • Nail clippers
      • Nail files
      • Pumice stone
      • Tampons and pads
      • Toilet paper


      college packing listThe fun part: your closet. Prepare for every single girl's night in, party, tailgate, formal, and that really fun time of year where your professor makes you dress up to give a presentation. Don't forget your favorite high school sweatshirt for when you're feeling nostalgic. 

      • Bras 
      • Underwear
      • Shapewear
      • Sports bras 
      • Pajamas
      • Casual dresses
      • Little black dress
      • Semi-formal dresses
      • Formal dress
      • Going-out clothes
      • Long-sleeve shirts
      • Short-sleeve shirts
      • T-shirts
      • Tank tops
      • Jeans
      • Pants
      • Leggings/Yoga pants 
      • Shorts
      • Skirts
      • Professional clothing (dress, dress pants, button-down shirts, skirts, blazers, shoes, purse)
      • Belts
      • Tights
      • Sweaters
      • Sweatpants
      • Sweatshirts 
      • Fleece
      • Jackets
      • Raincoat
      • Winter coat
      • Gloves
      • Workout pants 
      • Workout tops 
      • Running shoes 
      • Boots
      • Casual shoes
      • Flats
      • Flip-flops
      • Heels
      • Rain boots
      • Snow boots
      • Everyday sneakers 
      • Slipper socks
      • Socks
      • Socks for rain boots
      • Slippers
      • Sunglasses
      • Bathing suits
      • Hats
      • Scarves
      • Watch
      • Wristlet
      • Everyday purse
      • Formal clutch
      • Going-out purse
      • Change purse
      • Gym bag 
      • Jewelry
      • Costume clothing for theme parties/extracurricular events


      college packing list

      You're a grown-up, now. Carry your own stuff. The fun part? You'll be ready to jet-set come spring break without panicking about your parents being able to get your passport in the mail on time. Bon voyage! 

        • Bank documents
        • Credit card
        • Debit card
        • Checks
        • Driver’s license
        • Car registration and insurance information
        • AAA card
        • Copy of birth certificate
        • Copy of Social Security card
        • Passport
        • Student ID
        • Emergency contact list
        • Financial aid documents
        • Health/dental insurance cards
        • Lease (if you have an apartment)
        • Renters insurance (if you have an apartment)
        • Product warranties


        college packing listDorms definitely don't come with a stocked medicine cabinet, so come prepared and save yourself, and your roommates, a rush trip to the drugstore. 

          Allergy medicine

          • Aloe lotion
          • Antiseptic wipes
          • Cortisone cream
          • Vaseline
          • Bandages
          • Blister bandages
          • First aid kit
          • Birth control 
          • Condoms
          • Menstrual pain medication
          • Cold medicine 
          • Decongestant
          • Throat drops/lozenges
          • Throat spray
          • Eye drops
          • Hot and cold packs
          • Humidifier
          • Insect repellent
          • Multivitamins
          • Supplements (iron pills, etc.)
          • Over-the-counter pain medication
          • Prescription medicine
          • Prescription refill information
          • Retainer/mouthguard
          • Rubbing alcohol
          • Thermometer
          • Thermometer covers
          • Upset stomach medication

          Extras that make college better

          college packing list

          Whether you’re studying on campus or remotely, you'll want to grab the below to make sure you can handle whatever random moments pop up during the semester. From being prepared for game night to hanging up your new poster (thanks to Command™ Brand Products) these items are curated to help you be ready for anything!

          • Command™ Large Picture Hanging Strips (HC Pick)
          • Command™ Poster Strips (HC Pick)
          • Command™ Bath Large Satin Nickel Double Hook (HC Pick)
          • Command™ Medium Brushed Nickel Hook (HC Pick)
          • Command™ Large Brushed Nickel Hook (HC Pick)
          • Lightbulbs
          • Safety pins
          • Safety whistle
          • Playing cards
          • Art supplies
          • Beach towel
          • Bike
          • Bike helmet
          • Bike lock
          • Board games
          • Books to read for fun
          • Video game console
          • DVDs
          • Musical instruments
          • Earplugs
          • Sleep mask
          • Flashlight
          • Weekend bag
          • Travel organizer for toiletries
          • Suitcase/duffel bag
          • Luggage tags
          • Umbrella
          • Vacuum
          • Hand weights
          • Yoga mat
          • Sports equipment

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