Packing to go away to college is incredibly overwhelming. You have to try to figure out how to bring all of your clothes, school supplies, accessories, and shoes in a practical way that still allows room for the bigger stuff: dorm room furnishings, towels, blankets, pillows, and more. It’s exhausting, and it’s easy to forget about things you’ll eventually need. In fact, it’s easy to overlook certain items because you don’t think they’re a necessity, even if they’ll ultimately make your life a whole lot easier. And while I don’t want to encourage you to over-pack, exactly, I do think you should know about certain things that will be total life-savers while you’re living in a dorm room.
Living in a dorm can be harder than it seems! You don’t have your parents to turn to if you need help with something, and you don’t usually have easy access to a shopping center to pick up something you might need. So, it’s important to be as prepared as possible, when it comes to fashion issues, school stuff, and dorm decor that has more of a purpose than just looking good. There are lots of checklists on what you need for college, but this one is a little bit different. Check out these unexpected items to bring to college to make your life easier. They might not be 100 percent necessary, but they’re definitely worth purchasing!
1. Period Underwear
Knixteen Oh-No Proof Boyshort, $17, Knixteen
Whenever I tell someone about period underwear, they inevitably say something like, “Ewwww, I could never.” Well, um, they are wrong. Period underwear is a lifesaver! If you don’t feel comfortable using it in place of a tampon or a pad, you can use it as extra protection for your heaviest days, or as protection on those days where you think you’re done with your period but then you end up spotting. I love Knixteen underwear because they are so incredibly comfy and they come in this great boyshort style, which is ideal under jeans or workout pants. They’re also super light and comfortable – I’ve tried period underwear that feels almost like a diaper, and I think this pair is a huge improvement.
2. An Eye Mask
Slip Silk Eye Mask, $45, Urban Outfitters
Eye masks sort of seem like an item of luxury – I always think of them in terms of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s. While they might seem like a little dramatic, they’re actually incredibly helpful, especially for a college student in a dorm room. You can’t control when your roomie wakes up and turns the light on, but you can wear a sleep mask to keep that light from waking you up.
3. A Keurig
Keurig K-Compact Single Serve Coffee Maker, $59, Wal-Mart
Having a coffee maker in your room will make life so much easier – you’ll be able to have a cup whenever you want without having to venture outside. I love this Keurip Compact option. It’s small, so it will fit in your tiny room, and it’s a single serve, so it’s super easy to use.
4. Healthy Snacks
Natierra Dark Chocolate Goji Berries, $9.49, VitaCoast
It might be fun to pig out on your favorite snacks in your dorm room, but you should also be stocking up on healthy snacks that are good for you and will keep you full. Natierra makes these great dark chocolate covered goji berries, a superfood that tastes sweet and is healthy for you.
5. A Portable Mouse
Logitech MX Anywhere S2 Wireless Laser Mouse, $79.99, Best Buy
To be honest, I don’t know how anyone works on a laptop without a wireless mouse. They are so convenient! Get yourself one, because you’ll be doing a lot of work on your laptop, and after a while, using your finger will get tiring. I love this Logitech mouse because it’s wireless and it was designed to work on any surface – hence the name “Anywhere.” Plus, it’s very sleek looking.
6. Bedside Shelf
Bunk Buddy Bedside Shelf, $28.50, Amazon
Chances are good that many of you will be in a bunk bed, or in a high-rise bed that doesn’t offer convenient access to a night table. I wear glasses and can’t stand to be without a night table, because I need my glasses to be in reach. If your bed is high, this bedside shelf will save your life. It’s awesome for food, drinks, your phone, or just random small objects you want nearby.
7. A Handheld Vacuum
Black & Decker Cordless Wet and Dry Dust Buster, $39.99, Wal-Mart
A vacuum isn’t the sexist thing to think about when you’re packing for school, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need one. You can get a big vacuum, which might speed up cleaning, but you might not have the room for that – and honestly, you probably don’t even need one. A cordless dust buster will do the trick, and this one is a great price point. You don’t want bugs!
8. Cool Binders
Avery Peek-A-View Binders, Avery
I know you’re, like, very *adult* now that you’re in college, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need school supplies. Binders sometimes seem made for little kids, but they’re incredibly useful for anyone of any age! They keep all of your stuff together in an organized way, and they’re hard to destroy. These Avery binders can be customized with your choice of emojis, making them super fun to buy.
9. A Freezable Lunch Bag
Packit Freezable Soho Lunch Bag, $19.99, Target
A lunch bag is a really great thing to have whether you live at school or commute. Sometimes, packing your own lunch really saves money – and if you live at school, you can even use this to take food home from the cafeteria. I love the Packit lunch bag because the whole thing can go in a freezer to stay cool. Even if you don’t have a freezer, it’s insulated, which is helpful.
10. A Safe
Lock and Roll Portable Under The Bed Safe, $57.49, Amazon
Let’s be practical for a second: it’s really easy to get your things stolen in college, especially in freshman year when you don’t know everybody. Your roomie might have people over when you’re not home, and you don’t really get a say in it. Having a safe full of your most important items is a smart idea. This one goes under the bed for easy, private storage.
11. An Electronic Toothbrush
Quip Toothbrush, $40, Get Quip
Okay, so obviously you know that you need a toothbrush in your dorm room. You could go out and buy a cheap one, or you could treat yourself to a really great toothbrush – I recommend the latter. I love my Quip toothbrush so much that I had to write about it here. It’s an electronic toothbrush that doesn’t need to be charged (it runs on batteries), which is amazingly convenient. It works really well, never feels harsh, and makes brushing so easy with the 30 second interval timer. It also lasts at least three months before it dies. To make things even more convenient, you can set up a subscription so that every three months, you get a new brush head and toothpaste for $10. It couldn’t be easier!
12. Extra Notebooks
Moleskine Notebook, $14.95, Moleskine
One great thing to have in college is a little notebook you can take everywhere. I always had one on hand and used it to write down assignments, things I needed to remember, and writing ideas – even as a place to doodle when I was bored. Moleskine is a classic for a reason – the notebooks are simple, sturdy, and basic.
13. A Lumee Phone Case
Lumee Duo iPhone Case, $69.95, Lumee
You should definitely have a protective phone case any time, especially when living in college – your phone can easily get destroyed between all of the walking and partying. I love the Lumee case because it’s heavy duty and protects your phone while also having the added benefit of perfect selfie lighting. The Lumee Duo has these lights on both sides of the case, making it even easier to get a cute photo of you and your friend in a dark frat house basement. Oh, and that light on the back is also ideal for using as a flashlight in a pinch!
14. A Shower Cap
The Kent Shhhower Cap, $45, The Shhhower Cap
Let’s be real: you’re not going to have time to wash your hair every single day when you’re living at school. So, for that reason, get yourself a shower cap to keep your hair in place while showering. Why do you need to spend $45 on a shower cap when you could find a cheaper one at a drugstore? I mean, you don’t, but I highly recommend it. This Shhhower Cap is amazing. It fits snugly, looks stylish, keeps your hair from getting wet, and wicks away water so quickly that it barely needs time to dry after the shower. It’s the best one I’ve ever used!
15. Dry Erase Markers
Dry Erase Markers with Ink Indicator, $4.99, Amazon
Getting a dry erase board? You should. They are the easiest way to stay organized and a great place to write down important assignments and notes. And if you’re getting one, you’ll need some dry erase markers. These are particularly cool because they show you when the ink is running low, and it’s something you didn’t know you needed until you saw them right now.
16. A Yoga Bag
Handmade Yoga Bag, $49.99, Ankit
Okay, so you don’t really need a yoga bag unless you do yoga, but if you do… you need one! You don’t want to carry around your mat without some sort of protection around it. This one from Ankit is so adorable and easy to take everywhere.
17. A Bath Mat
Get Naked Bath Mat, $34, Urban Outfitters
When thinking about dorm decor, you might forget about your bathroom, but investing in a bath mat is a great idea. It will keep you from slipping and keep your feet away from the gross floor. You could get a cheap one, but I think a cute, aesthetically pleasing one like this is the way to go.
18. A Lounge Pillow
The Casper Lounger, $120, Target
Dorm rooms aren’t the most comfortable place to hang out, so you’ll want to get some large pillows and floor poufs to make things more comfy. This Casper Lounger is amazing. You can leave it out like so to lay on it and be propped up, or fold it up to make it more of a pillow you can lean on. Casper is also incredibly comfortable, so it’s worth the money.
19. Extra Desk Storage
Cameron Adjustable Desk Storage Set, $398, Urban Outfitters
Chances are good that the desk you’re provided with isn’t going to have a lot of room for storage. So, get your own storage shelf. This unit is easy to adjust and hang and gives you tons of extra space without taking up too much room.
Which one of these items are you going to get? What did we forget to include? Share in the comments.