The Ultimate Back To College Packing Checklist

August 13, 2015

*Special thanks to Target for sponsoring today’s post! As always, all opinions are my own*
Remembering everything you need to pack for college can be a daunting task. Back in 2010, I vividly remember panicking because I was afraid I didn’t pack the right essentials for my freshman year of college. Since I went out of state for college and couldn’t just drive home if I forgot something (it would have been an almost 10-hour drive), it was vital that I made sure to pack everything I needed. The only problem was, I didn’t know what I needed. I was the first person in my house to go out of state for college. My sister, who was a junior in college at the time, went to school in Chicago so financially it was better for her to just live at home. My mom also went to college in Chicago so I was the first person to experience dorm life and essentially “go away” for college. One of the things that really helped guide me was the college packing checklist from Target, which was located in the college/ school supply section. I loved how everything was broken down into different categories (i.e. kitchen supplies, dorm decor.) Throughout my four years of college, I learned what items were a MUST and what items to leave at home. Today I’m sharing my ultimate back to college packing checklist!Before you buy or pack anything, be sure to check with your school about what items are and are not allowed (at my college we weren’t allowed to bring things like candles but at my friend’s school they were allowed. Make sure to do your research.)

 For Your Dorm
  • Hangers. Depending on how your dorm is set up, you’re most likely either going to be sharing a closet with a roommate (or roommates) or have a very small closet to yourself. Since space will be limited, only bring clothes you know you will wear. 
  • A Desk Lamp.  A lot of dorm rooms suffer from poor lighting, so it’s best to bring a desk lamp just in case!
  • Mattress Pad. Sure, picking out super cute bedding is fun but it’s what’s underneath that counts! Trust me, dorm beds aren’t always the comfiest. A mattress pad (or two) is the best way to achieve that “sleeping in your own bed” status.
 For The Kitchen
  • Brita. Drinking water and staying hydrated is essential! Instead of constantly buying water bottles (which is bad for the environment and can get pricey), invest in a Brita (which are currently on sale at Target!) The best thing about a Brita is that they are the perfect size for a standard dorm mini-size fridge.
  • Kitchen Set. Regardless if you live on campus in a dorm or off campus in an apartment, it’s important to have things like cups, bowls and plates on hand (late night Ramen noodles anyone?) 

For Laundry

  • Laundry Detergent & Dryer Sheets. I’ll admit it, before going to college I didn’t know how to do my own laundry. I never know how much detergent to use or what setting to wash things on. Tide Pods came out my sophomore year of college and I’ve been using them ever since! I love that you don’t have to worry about how much detergent to use, you can just pop one into the washing machine and be done with it. Right now Target is having an AWESOME sale. For every pack of Tide Pods you buy, you get a FREE pack of Bounce dryer sheets (you got to love those Target deals!)
  • Laundry Bag. Pop & Fold laundry bags were my go-to in college since they can easily fold and be stored under your bed (the more free space in your dorm, the better!)

Bathroom Essentials

  • Shower Caddy.  Make that walk from your dorm to the communal showers easier with a trusty shower caddy!
  • Soap/Bath Toiletries. Need I say more?
  • Washcloths/Towels. Before heading to college, a high school friend of mine actually thought that college dorms were like hotels and provided you with things like towels and toiletries. A warning to everyone out there, BRING YOUR OWN TOWELS!
  • Shower Shoes. Since I was the first person in my household to live in a dorm, I actually didn’t know that ‘shower shoes’ were a thing. Thank goodness for that Target College checklist! I highly suggest checking out Target’s shoe department. They have dozens of cute sandal/shower shoes for as low as $3.99!

For Studying/School Work

  • School Supplies. You can never go wrong with folders, notebooks, pens, pencils, sharpies, sticky notes and of course, a planner or calendar to keep you on schedule!
What’s one thing you couldn’t live without at college? Check out Target’s College Styler at to find you and your roommate’s ultimate college style.