* This blog post does contain affiliate links. I only recommend things that truly believe are a great product or service. *

15 unexpected necessities to pack for college - these surprising items are a must have in every dorm room!

Packing for college can be a stressful experience.

It’s your first time moving out of your parents house, on your own but still with rules and requirements. What do you bring? Aside from some obvious staples like a boat load of command hooks and a nice fuzzy blanket, incoming first year college students can be left in the dust to scramble to figure out what they need to pack.

Worry no more, for here are 15 unexpected necessities to pack for college!

1. Blackout Curtains

I’m a really sensitive sleeper and one year my dorm bedroom window faced the sunrise.. that was awful. Investing in some good back out curtains like these ones was the right choice! Now I can sleep in when I get the chance.

Pro tip: To hang the curtain use an inexpensive tension rod and some large command hooks. Works like a charm and allows you to open them to let the sunshine in when you’re awake.

2. Cheap dishes

Despite your best intentions, you probably wont want to hike to the dining hall every single morning, afternoon, and night. It gets exhausting and if you live anywhere with any sort of weather then chances are you especially wont want to walk across campus in the snow or rain if you don’t have to. Invest in some nice but inexpensive dishes like these ones, along with some dish soap and a sponge or two, to keep in your dorm for simple meals or leftovers you stole from the dining hall. Speaking of not wanting to trek to the dining hall…

3. Oatmeal

… walking to the dining hall for breakfast in the morning is probably the worst. However, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and most dorms don’t allow toasters for pop tarts so it’s time to make do with your microwave and limited ingredients. My go to my first year? Instant oatmeal. Spice it up with some cinnamon and apple slices… get creative.

4. Area Rug


Dorm room floors aren’t always the coziest, so treat yourself to a good dorm decor upgrade and a taste of home with a simple and fuzzy rug like this one.

5. Ear Plugs

This goes hand in hand with me being a light sleeper again… but college residence halls can be loud. No matter if you want some peace and quiet to take a nap or study in the middle of the day, or if your roommate’s alarm blasts loud enough that you can hear it out on the street at 5am and doesn’t turn it off for 3 hours when you specifically arranged your schedule to sleep in (I’m not bitter I swear), comfortable and effective ear plugs like these are a worthwhile purchase.

6. First Aid Kit

Accidents happen, and when you don’t have your parent’s medicine cabinet that they’ve prepared over the years you have to fend for yourself. A simple first aid kit like this one is perfect for minor accidents.

7. Water Filter


If you have to go down the hall to get to the nearest sink then you need to be prepared to best hydrate your body. A simple water pitcher with a filter like this is perfect for making sure you get in your 8 cups a day without trekking down the hall every hour.

8. Utensils

You can go the route of a few of my friends my first year who snuck some silverware out of the dining hall to keep in their rooms, but I definitely don’t recommend that. Be prepared with some inexpensive silverware or even purchase some cheap plastic utensils so you don’t have to watch them.

9. Tool Kit

There are some things that are so minor they aren’t worth the hassle of putting a facilities work order in for and waiting for the school to take care of it for you. Keep a simple tool kit on hand just in case.

10. Emergen-C


Dorm rooms are breeding grounds for bacteria. If you’re anything like me you will get sick, it’s inevitable. Boost your immune system during important times like midterms and finals by taking things like Emergen-C or Airborne to get it done.

11. Sewing Kit

Honestly, I’m not sure how but I keep getting holes in my leggings. If it weren’t for the simple sewing kit that I keep on hand these may have ripped larger and ruined my leggings. Also, accidents happen and would you rather invest in a small simple sewing kit or a new pair of jeans? Sewing kit it is.

12. HDMI Cable

A TV is commonly thought of for a dorm room, but what about an HDMI cable? With Netflix as popular as it is, being able to hook your laptop up to the TV and have people over to watch a movie is a great way to make friends in college.

13. Handheld Mirror


Lately I’ve been really into applying my makeup at my desk since it’s right next to a window and the natural light is great. To accomplish this I have a nice handheld mirror with an extra light built in that I keep in my room. Inexpensive and I don’t know where I’d be without it!

14. Washi Tape

Washi tape is so universal. From framing pictures on walls to decorating the sides of desks and so much more, a little washi tape can go a long way in adding some color and creativity to a drab dorm room. Here’s one of my favorite value packs!

15. Floor Lamp20170327_170937

Can we just agree right now that dorm room lighting sucks? That’s why so many college students love the classic string lights decor. However, floor lamps work great as well and add character to any room!

With these often surprising items on your packing list you’re sure to be on the right track for a great year.

What is one thing you didn’t expect to need at college?



15 Unexpected Necessities to Pack for College

11 thoughts on “15 Unexpected Necessities to Pack for College

  • March 27, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    Written by students for students, by a team of journalists from universities nationwide, we’re on the pulse of the college experience.

  • March 30, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    Sure wish I would’ve had something like this when I first went off to university! Haha I thought I was so prepared, and there were some things I didn’t need at all (aka the label maker my mom insisted I get), and some things I totally should have had from the start (aka, desk organizers for the desk in my dorm room!)

  • April 3, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    These are awesome tips for necessities to pack for college. Blackout curtains is brilliant. Thank you!

  • April 15, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Blackout curtains are a huge one! My room looks straight into the dining room which is handy for me, but I don’t want anyone else to see in! I hung these things on my first day and they have been great!!

  • April 29, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    This coming semester will be my first year of college and though I am not living in campus, I travel a lot and so I understand the feeling of leaving these behind when I thought I wouldn’t need it. For me, that is definitely the plastic cutlery. I don’t know why, but I never learn. Those meals they sell in the main floor fridge don’t come with utensils and neither does the room. My friends and I always have to get creative…super creative.

  • September 12, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    It is a necessity to have a Vitamin C with you because prevention is better than cure. All students must be healthy physically. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • April 1, 2018 at 4:48 am

    You also need a roll of duct tape and flip flops for the shower.

  • June 14, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    A hand held can opener andapower strip come in handy too. ( Old forms usually don’t have many plugs)

  • August 1, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    Noise reduction headphones (Good ones like Bose). A good planner, with a lot of space to write. Removable wall art!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
Read more:
Currently… {October}