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College Shop & Pack Checklist

We're going to assume that books, tuition and transportation have all been paid for. If you don't know that you need to put aside some cash for all of that, then you're not ready to start reading this list yet. Now, every college experience is different. Whether you're studying advanced mathematics or literature, art or business, your experience in college is probably going to be unique to anyone else's, so the following isn't just one simple checklist, but a series of checklists based on the various types of colleges and living situations you might be experiencing, starting with what we all need.


Make sure that your dorm room doesn't come with furnishings before you put the money down on it. Some dorm rooms will provide you with a desk, a bookshelf, etc.
  1. Mini-Fridge
  2. Microwave
  3. Small Desk
  4. Bookshelf
  5. Laundry Hamper
  6. Bedsheets
  7. Blanket
  8. Pillow
  9. Mattress Pad
  10. Office Chair
  11. Dresser or Foot Locker


You'll want to add or subtract from this list based on your own daily shower-and-shave routine, but use this list as a starting point.
  1. Toothbrush
  2. Toothpaste
  3. Shampoo
  4. Razors
  5. Shaving Cream, Lotion or Gel
  6. Toiletries Bag
  7. Plunger
  8. Toilet Brush
  9. Mouth Rinse
  10. Floss
  11. Soap or Body Wash
  12. Hand Lotion
  13. Toilet Paper
  14. Tissue Paper
  15. Deodorant or Anti-Perspirant
  16. Hairbrush
  17. Comb
  18. Hair Gel, Spray, or other Styling Products Used
  19. Hand Towels
  20. Wash Cloths
  21. Bath Towels


You may wonder why you would keep a shared bathroom clean, but remember, you're not cleaning it for them, you're cleaning it for you.
  1. Bleach for the Bathroom
  2. Rubber Gloves
  3. Window Cleaner
  4. Paper Towels
  5. Laundry Detergent
  6. Dryer Sheets
  7. Lysol
  8. Duster
  9. Aerosol Computer Duster
  10. Broom
  11. Mop
  12. Garbage Can
  13. Garbage Bags
  14. Wastebin for Desk


Adjust this list based on your own diet. Obviously, if you have a gluten allergy, you won't need to buy any wheat bread, and vegetarians won't be picking up any hamburger.
  1. Coffee Machine
  2. Coffee Grinder
  3. Coffee Beans
  4. Coffee Mug
  5. Sugar
  6. Cream/Half and Half/Milk
  7. A Pack of Favorite Energy Drinks
  8. Some Favorite Snacks
  9. Basic Groceries
  10. Toaster
  11. Granola Bars for Early Morning Rushes
  12. Rice Cooker
  13. Bags of Rice
  14. Instant Noodles
  15. Instant Oatmeal
  16. Tap Water Filter for Sink
  17. Salt
  18. Pepper
  19. Bread
  20. Pasta
  21. Tomato Sauce
  22. Canned Fruit
  23. Ground Beef, Chicken or Meat of Choice
  24. Tomatos
  25. Peppers
  26. Onions
  27. Carrots
  28. Lettuce
  29. Salad Dressing
  30. Eggs
  31. Potatoes
  32. Milk
If you have never cooked for yourself before, now is the time to learn. Before you head out to your dorm, spend a couple of weeks learning how to create some of your favorite meals and making the most of cheap ingredients.


There's nothing worse than being sick or sore away from home without the stuff to make it better.
  1. NyQuil or Other Nighttime Medicine
  2. Cough Syrup
  3. Burn Ointment
  4. First Aid Kit, Including...
  5. Adhesive Bandages
  6. Smelling Salts
  7. Hydrogen Peroxide
  8. Disinfectant Ointment
  9. Aspirin
  10. Cold Medicine
  11. Sore Throat Spray
  12. Hot Water Bottle
  13. Ice Pack


You'll want to take some time to yourself now and then, and these entertainment purchases should help to make that time enjoyable.
  1. Blank Media, CD's, DVD's, etc.
  2. Computer Speakers
  3. DVD or Blu-Ray Player
  4. Some Favorite Movies
  5. Books for You, Not for Class
  6. Small TV


This is one of the longest lists here, for obvious reason: You're here, primarily, to learn, so expect to fill a whole box with office supplies.
  1. Notebook
  2. Spare Keyboard for Laptop
  3. Spare Mouse for Laptop
  4. Microphone for Skype
  5. Computer Speakers
  6. Whiteboard for Notes Between Dorm Mates
  7. Felt Tip Magic Marker
  8. Extension Cord
  9. Power Strip
  10. Extra Batteries
  11. Desktop Printer
  12. Laptop
  13. External Hard Drive
  14. Extra Laptop Battery
  15. SD Cards
  16. Laptop Bag
  17. Printer Paper
  18. Extra Ink Cartridges
  19. Index Cards
  20. Memo Pads
  21. Scotch Tape
  22. Paper Clips
  23. Stapler
  24. Staples
  25. Three Ring Binders
  26. Loose Leaf Paper
  27. File Folders
  28. Pencil Holder
  29. Sharpies
  30. Sketchbook
  31. Pens
  32. Pencils
  33. Digital Scanner
  34. Erasers
  35. Clipboard
  36. Tape Recorder (assuming that you don't have a smartphone with voice recording app)


There's no better excuse to shop for new clothes and outdoor gear than going to college.
  1. Winter Coat
  2. Duffel Bag
  3. Socks
  4. Summer Clothes
  5. Scarf
  6. Sandals
  7. Boots for Rainy and Snowy Weather
  8. New Shoes
  9. Sunscreen
  10. Bookbag
  11. Backpack
  12. Sleeping Bag


Here are some items for travel, for communication and just for fun.
  1. Digital Camera
  2. Travel Pillow
  3. Travel Water Bottle
  4. Cell Phone
  5. Extra Cell Phone Batteries
  6. Cell Phone Charger
  7. Phone Cards for Emergencies
  8. Flashlight
  9. Boxes
  10. Boxes
  11. More Boxes: You're going to need a lot of boxes for moving and storing your stuff. You can usually get a bunch of extra boxes for free from retail outlets, or buy them from shipping companies.


A big part of being an adult is, of course, being able to handle all those basic fixes that you need to perform within your living quarters without having to call someone else to do the job for you. This basic toolkit should help you handle anything from a broken desk to a leaky faucet.
  1. Masking Tape
  2. Duct Tape
  3. Pipe Wrench
  4. Small Hammer
  5. Nails
  6. Flat Head Screwdriver
  7. Philips Head Screwdriver
  8. Torque Wrench for Electronics Repairs
This may be a very long list, but chances are that you're going to need everything on it at one point or other. Remember that this isn't just a sleepover or a trip to a distant aunt's house. Rather, you are setting up a whole new home at the dorm room. Take the time to make sure that you have everything you need.
You might not wind up purchasing all of this in one trip so much as picking it up a piece at a time over your time in college. In either event, remember that you'll still need a lot of this stuff well after you leave college and move into your own apartment.


Men will, of course, have different needs at college than female students.
  1. Jock Strap: Even if you don't plan on playing a lot of sports, you should at least be prepared for the possibility of a game of basketball or soccer now and then.
  2. Profilactics: No matter what your plans for school, you need to stay safe, so bring some latex condoms just to make sure.


For young women attending college, make sure to pick up the following:
  1. Pads or Tampons
  2. Bras
  3. Birth Control


Your parents might prefer that you don't do much partying in the first place, but if you're going to party, party safe and be prepared:
  1. A Padlock to Keep Your Closet Safe During Parties
  2. Emergency Cell Phone
  3. A Cooler for Extra Drinks
  4. Stereo with iPod Dock
  5. Bacon, the Only Provable Hangover Cure


These items will stave off those long, lonesome bouts of homesickness:
  1. Webcam
  2. Postcards
  3. Locally Available Food Items from Home
  4. Something from Home, an Old Blanket, Teddy Bear, Etc.
  5. Postage Stamps
  6. Envelopes
  7. Writing Pad: Sometimes a letter is more personal than an e-mail.


More and more adults are going back to school. If this is you, keep the following items in mind.
  1. Noise Canceling Headphones for Studying During a Party
  2. A Lockable Mini-Fridge to Keep from Giving Alcohol to Minors
  3. A Comfortable Chair
  4. Caffeine Pills


If you're lucky enough to have gotten into college on an athletics scholarship, don't neglect the following:
  1. Icy/Hot or Similar Pain Creme
  2. Advil
  3. Foot and Hand Wraps
  4. Running Shoes
  5. Pull Up Bar
  6. Sit Up Mat
  7. Workout Gloves
  8. Headband
  9. Shorts
  10. Running Pants
  11. Athletic Socks
  12. Tank Tops
  13. Light T-Shirts
  14. Track Suit


If your entertainment of choice is the Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3, here are a few items you'll want to keep on hand in your dorm:
  1. Game Rental Subscription Card
  2. Xbox Live/PSN Cards: When you have extra money in college, you'll want to spend it on food and entertainment, so buy your online membership in advance.
  3. High Speed Router: Your dorm probably has free internet, but supplying your own will ensure faster online play.
  4. An Extra Controller: Nothing helps dorm mates bond like two player gaming.
  5. Portable Gaming: Whether your iPhone, PS Vita or 3DS, having some portable gaming to take with you on long trips or to play when your roommate is hogging the TV can be a good way to get your fix at any time.


You generally want to at least be prepared for every weather, but if you live in a colder climate, you'll definitely need to gear up for winter:
  1. Space Heater
  2. Thermal Socks
  3. Thermal Gloves
  4. Thermal Underwear
  5. Sweaters
  6. Winter Cap
  7. Hot Chocolate or Tea of Choice: When it's especially cold out, you'll definitely long for warm drinks and...
  8. Spicy Foods: If curry and cayenne are to your taste, that is.
  9. Snow Shovel
  10. Chapstick


If you're going to school in the southwestern US or another warm climate, you'll want to consider the following purchases:
  1. Sunglasses
  2. Summer Hat
  3. Light Clothing
  4. Popsicles: You may be surprised at how fast you go through these things during the summer in Florida.
  5. Swimsuit
The above-written lists might or might not fit your needs to the letter. Read them through and copy and paste the checklists you need into a word document so that you can print them out as an easy shopping list.

There are also websites which cater to just the college market and run various other promotions and deals, check them out here, here and here.

Let us know of any other deals in the comments below!


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