Packing to go away to college is crazy stressful. Not only do you have to pack everything in the most compact way possible, but you also have to know what to leave behind and what to bring with you during a time when you’re feeling nervous, excited, scared, and unsure of what’s to come. It’s normal to get totally flustered and forget things you actually need while stockpiling on things you don’t really need. Mix packing stress with back to school shopping stress, and you’re almost guaranteed to be left with a list of items you didn’t bring to your dorm room that you probably should have bought with you.
The good news is that you’re not out of hope! Most major colleges are conveniently located near a giant Wal-Mart or Target (or something similar), making it easy to pick up the items you’ll inevitably leave behind. Some things are obvious – like waking up the first morning and realizing “OMG I forgot my toothbrush!” – and other things aren’t noticeable until you’re in a situation where you actually need them. Stay ahead of the curve and purchase the below items to make your school year the best it can be. You could probably use these things even if you’re a high school student or a working girl, to be honest. Can’t afford ’em all right now? Don’t worry girl – the holidays will be here before you know it (sorry, that was awful). Check out these items you didn’t buy for your dorm room that you need to get now:
1. Healthy Snacks
Rhythm Kale Chips, $3.95, Thrive Market
I get it – you’re finally out from under your parent’s roof and you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s definitely liberating, especially if you’ve always had the kind of parents who watch everything that goes in your mouth and doesn’t let you have fun stuff like fast food and chips. Stock up on junk food and pig out to your heart’s desire! But also, have some healthier snacks on hand. You will eventually reach junk food overload, and you want to be healthy, right? Right. I suggest something like these Rhythm Kale Chips, which might sound dubious but are actually incredible. They’re better for you and they’ll fill you up.
2. A Jewelry Subscription Box
Rocksbox Subscription, use code jboothyyxoxo to get a free month-long trial, Rocksbox
“But Jessica,” you might be saying. “Why would you tell me to spend money on a jewelry subscription box when I am a broke college student, you lunatic?” I get what you’re saying, but hear me out. Jewelry is a great accessory – it’s versatile and can dress up certain outfits. You don’t need it, but you kind of it. Jewelry is also expensive, which is why Rocksbox is awesome. You pay $19 a month for a box of three pieces of jewelry that you can wear for three weeks. When that time is up, either send them back in exchange for new pieces, or decide to purchase and keep what you want. It’s great for girls who are broke but want cool stuff! Want to try it? Use the code jboothyyxoxo and you can get a free month.
3. A Mattress Topper
Sertarest Gel Memory Foam Mattress Toppers, $69.99 -$119.99, Big Lots
You know what’s worse than the size of your twin bed? The mattress on your twin bed. This isn’t the Four Seasons, it’s your college dorm room, and they don’t care how comfy you may or may not be while you sleep. Get yourself a gel foam memory topper, which will make sleeping significantly more comfortable.
4. A Simple Coffee Machine
Keurig K10 Mini Plus Brewing System, $79.99, Amazon
Coffee is a necessity when you’re in college, and if you’re the type who has to drink it multiple times a day, do yourself a favor and get a small coffee machine for your dorm room. You’ll save a lot of money, and it’s convenient. I love Keurigs because they’re ridiculously easy to make, store, and clean. Make sure it’s okay for you to have one, then buy it. Trust me!
5. A Neck Pillow
Cabeau Evolution Cool Neck Pillow, $59.99, Cabeau
Whether you have long road trips to and from school/home or you have to fly back home, you need a comfy neck pillow for all of that traveling. You’ll be going back and forth a few times a year, and being stiff and uncomfortable in a car or on a plane sucks. This neck pillow from Cabeau is cooling as well as super comfy.
6. A Backpack
State Bags The Smith Cobble Hill, $235, State Bags
If you’re anything like me, you cackled “Good riddance!” to your backpack on the last day of school and then tossed it away. You’ll regret that soon, I promise. College classes require textbooks and notebooks too, and stuffing them in a tote bag isn’t always the best option. You should hold onto a backpack. Want something more mature and grown up? State Bags make this gorgeous leather backpack that I’m completely obsessed with. It will hold your books for a few classes and it will look chic on your shoulders.
7. Exercise Earbuds
Skullcandy Ink’d Wireless, $39.99, Skullcandy
If you work out, or you want to be the type of girl who runs on campus (you know what I mean), then you should get yourself a pair of earbuds that comfortably work for you while you move around a lot. I really like these Skullcandy earbuds that sit against the back of your neck and don’t budge while you run.
8. Your Own Bowls
Buddha Bowl, $30, TheGrommet.com
Did you pack your own dishwear? If not, you should at least grab a good bowl or two. I like this Buddha Bowl because you can use it for so many different things – soup, mac and cheese, cereal, snacks, and even as a mug. It fits comfortably in your hands and is easy to clean and reuse. It’s the perfect piece to have in a dorm room.
9. A Multi-Functional Blender
Rocket Extract Pro Plus Multifunctional Blender, $99.99, Bella Housewares
Okay, so this blender set might be too big for a dorm room – but if you’re moving into an apartment or house on campus, or you’re just home looking for a blender, get this one from Bella Housewares. It does everything from making smoothies to sauces to grinding nuts, and it’s not even that pricey for all of those functions. Why spend $7 on smoothies every day when you could make them yourself?
10. An Allergen Mattress Pad
AllerEase Maximum Mattress Protector, $20.99, Target
This mattress protector might seem similar to the mattress topper I told you about above, but it’s a different thing – plus, this one is made with allergies in mind. Your dorm room is going to be full of dust mites and other icky things that can easily bug your allergies (or even give them to you). This mattress topper helps protect against that stuff and keeps your mattress safe.
11. Luxe Sheets
Brooklinen Classic Core Sheet Set, $109, Brooklinen
As we discussed, your dorm bed is not going to be comfy and cozy. But you can make it that way, and one way to do that is to buy a great sheet set. The right sheets will be soft and cool and feel nice on your skin, like these from Brooklinen, which are conveniently sold in Twin XL sets. Pick the color you want and spoil yourself.
12. An Air Purifier
Blue Air Purifier Pure 211, $349, Shop Pure Blue
This air purifier is expensive, so it’s not for the faint of heart – but it could be really worth it. As I said, dorm rooms are full of dust mites and icky things, and this little guy cleans the air for you. Clearing the air can give you more energy and a clear head, and it’s surprisingly low maintenance. This is something you’ll want to hold onto.
13. A Tampon Subscription Box
Cora Tampon Subscription Box, $12 per month (depends on amount you want), Cora
Stocking up on tampons can take up a lot of room, and then there’s always the issue of running out – you have to find a way to get to the store or beg a friend to loan you some. Make things easier with a tampon subscription box, like this one from Cora. These all-natural tampons are good for your body, they look very chic and cool, and they come with a little box that holds three tampons in your handbag. You can sync up deliveries to your cycle so that you’re never unprepared.
14. Wireless Headphones
LG Tone Platinum Wireless In-Ear Behind-The-Neck Headphones, $169.99, Best Buy
The Skullcandy earbuds above are some of my favorite earbuds ever, but in case you’re looking for something a little more sleek and techy, here are some pricier LG wireless earbuds. They sit comfortably around your neck, the earbuds can be pulled out and spun back in with the push of a button, and they make listening to music so easy. Want to walk to class listening to your favorite song? Cool, but regular earbuds with wires catch on everything. These don’t. I’m obsessed with mine!
15. A Laptop Bag
eBags Professional Slim Laptop Bag, $109.99, eBags.com
If you’re planning on carrying your laptop to class and all over the campus, then you need a laptop bag. Don’t make the same mistake I did, which was to assume I could take my laptop in a tote bag – it got scratched up, almost broken, and it ruined my bag. Get yourself a laptop bag, or better yet, get this one from eBags. It has tons of little compartments that hold everything, and you can either wear it over your shoulders, or tuck the sleeves in and carry it like a briefcase.
16. Cleansing Wipes
Well Kept Wipes, $6, Sephora
These little wipes might seem unnecessary, but trust me, they’re a game changer. They clean your phone, tablet, computer screen, or eyeglasses amazingly well and make everything so much more clear. Plus, the packaging is adorable. Keep them around. I have one by my desk and one in my handbag for emergencies.
17. Safety Devices
You might feel safe on campus, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t dangers around you – it sounds dramatic, but it’s true. Having a personal safety device on you is in your best interest, especially if you walk around a lot by yourself or if you jog. This Wearsafe device clips onto your clothes or keychain and with the push of a button alerts your network of friends and family that you need help. It’s definitely worth looking into.
18. Charging Station
Multi-Device Charging Station and Dock, $34.99, Great Useful Stuff
Like everyone else out there, I’m sure you have a bunch of tech stuff – a phone, tablet, computer, etc. Your roomie does too. Keep things neat and in place with a charging station and dock that holds multiple items and keeps your stuff in one spot.
ECOS Earth Friendly Products Set, $29.99, Costco
Up until now, you probably haven’t spent much time purchasing cleaning items. But now you’re responsible for keeping your dorm room clean, which means scrubbing the bathroom, floors, and counter services (for starters). Get yourself some cleaning products. I like ECOS because they’re Earth-friendly and don’t contain as many harmful ingredients as a lot of other cleaners do.
Whine Coasters, $20, Fab.com
Let’s not pretend you aren’t going to have drinks all over the place. It sounds lame, but you should use coasters to protect the furniture you (or your parents) just dropped money on. Have fun with it with these cute pieces from Fab.com, which are funny and colorful.
21. Healthy Bars
Pure Bar Organic Variety Pack, $15.89, Walgreens
We already went over healthy snacks, but healthy bars are in their own category. Bars are great to have on hand because they can make for a light meal or the perfect thing to eat after a workout. They’re also so easy to carry around – throw them in your bag if you have a lot of classes in a row, and easily eat them while walking. These Pure bars are organic and offer tons of different flavors with lots of healthy protein and fibers.
Which one of these items are you going to buy? What do you already have? Tell me in the comments.