18 Overlooked Things Everyone Should Bring to College

When it comes to bringing things for college, a lot of people make the mistake of packing stuff they don’t need, or forgetting to pack stuff they will need. Everyone knows that you need to take clothes, sheets, a micro-fridge, and a computer. However, I recently came across an article that listed some overlooked items students should bring to college. I’ve come up with my own, expanded list of less-common, often forgotten, items that you should take to college. So if any of these items aren’t on your college supply list, they should be. They will certainly prove to be quite useful.

1. Ear plugs – I think I would have been lost had I not gotten ear plugs my freshman year. My roommate said in the summer that he “snored occasionally” but that it “wasn’t a big deal.” He should have told me that his snoring could wake the dead. For the first few weeks I couldn’t sleep hardly at all without being woken up by my roommate’s obnoxious snoring. Luckily, my father sent me some industrial strength earplugs. Once I started using those, I slept like a baby. It’s also good to have earplugs, because sometimes students can be quite rambunctious in the hallways. You may have the unfortunate luck of having to live below someone who’s obsessed with using his or her subwoofer at all hours of the night.

2. Flip flops or any type of shower shoe – When you go to college, you may be unfortunate enough to have to share a bathroom with many more people than you ever thought you would. While some students live in dorms with private bathrooms, a vast majority of students either have hall bathrooms, or otherwise share a bathroom with several other rooms. The result of this is that it can be pretty disgusting to have to take a shower (especially in male bathrooms). Having shower shoes, flip-flops, or any sort of covering for your feet is a must. You don’t want to have to walk barefoot down to the bathroom…and you don’t want to stand in that shower that oh-so-many people have used before you.

3. Carrying case for toiletries – This goes along with the preparation for college showers. Some students may be relatively far from the bathroom (at the other end of the hall, for example). In this unfortunate circumstance, having a tote to bring your shampoo, soap, conditioner, toothpaste, etc with you can be quite helpful. Also, it ensures that you don’t have to leave your belongings in the bathroom and risk the chance of someone else using them.

4. Plugs, power strips, and adaptors oh my – It never hurts to bring a lot of plugs and adaptors to college. When I first arrived, I had my power strip for my computer all nice and ready. However, much to my chagrin, there were no three-pronged outlets to be found. Once again, I had to have my father send me an adaptor, and I had to go almost a week without a computer (in college, a week without a computer or iPod can feel like an eternity). Also, luckily my roommates brought power strips because we needed to have our TV, Playstation 2, and Xbox hooked up. We undoubtedly violated several fire codes with our entertainment center, but at least we had enough plugs. So, remember, bring power strips, plugs, extension cords, adaptors, and any other type of electricity outlet thing you may need. You’ll be happy you did.

5. Cleaning supplies – True, one could go to the store and simply buy cleaning supplies. However, why not take them from home, or have your parents buy them for you instead? Cleaning supplies are too often forgotten in college. Getting the basics to clean windows, tables, desks, and chairs is a must. If you have your own bathroom that isn’t cleaned for you on a weekly basis, then you should definitely get bathroom-cleaning supplies. Women are generally much better about keeping their dorm rooms clean than men are. However, a bit of personal advice for the young college men out there: if you have a nice clean room, I guarantee she’ll be 100 times more likely to actually enter it. Too many women have horror stories of the cleanliness atrocities they’ve observed in male dorm rooms, don’t add another story.

6. Duct Tape – Duct Tape is a fantastic all-purpose solution to many of the problems college students encounter in dorm rooms. It can help keep unwanted cords out of the way, and can fix many things that may become broken. It can help keep posters up on the wall (although it will often stick to the poster itself, so watch out for potential rips). In college, one encounters a variety of problems; duct tape can be a viable solution to many.

7. Hammer - Most universities will not allow their students to put holes in the dorm room walls. This does little to stop students from actually doing it though. The fact remains that the best way to put pictures with frames, huge posters, and many other items on the wall involves using nails. This requires the possession of a hammer. Hammers can also be used for a variety of other handy needs. Having a hammer in college can be extremely helpful.

8. Screwdriver (Phillips and Flathead) – College students like to build things, fix things (it saves money), and generally just mess with stuff. Having a screwdriver set is essential in college. Not only if you are planning to loft your bed, or take it apart, build some sort of cabinet system, or a TV entertainment center. Screwdrivers can also come in handy in a variety of other situations. One example is when my roommates and I had the most unfortunate disaster of our PS2 going on the fritz. We determined (though extensive internet research) that the lens was dirty. Long story short, we ended up having to go throughout the entire building to find a screwdriver to use to open up the CD tray and subsequently clean the lens. We could have saved quite a bit of time if one of us had thought of bringing a screwdriver with us to college.

9. Stapler – There will be countless times that you will find yourself needing a stapler. If you think you are going to go through college without ever writing a paper that is more than one page long, then you may be in for a rude awakening. The amount of college students who don’t have staplers is staggering. Many students are forced to walk around, wasting precious hours that could be spent playing an exciting video game, partying, or just hanging with friends, trying to find a stapler to use for their long research paper. I made the unfortunate mistake of going my freshman year without a stapler. Not only did I procrastinate with papers, but I was also forced to run around frantically half an hour before the paper was due trying to find someone with a stapler. Take a page out of Milton’s book, and bring that stapler.

10. Door hangers/Hooks with adhesive backing/Something to hang stuff on – In college, there never seems to be enough places to hang things. Wet towels often end up on the floor (disgusting), coats end up strewn over beds, belts end up hanging from the most odd places, and more. Having extra hangers is definitely an advantage. The best types of hangers to use are the ones that you put on the top of your door. They are metal and can be obtained at any department/superstore. Hangers with adhesive backing are also fantastic because you can put them on walls. It’s surprising how much cleaner a college dorm room can be when students have places to hang everything. There are many other hangers that you could use. The point is, bring something extra to hang stuff on, you won’t regret it.

11. Storage containers/Crates – There never seems to be enough room for all your stuff in college. Dorm rooms are always too small, and students always seem to have too many possessions. Bringing storage containers or crates can create an elegant solution to two prevalent college dorm room issues; space and organization. Storage containers that either are stacked, or can be placed under beds or in closets can create space where there was none previously. Having specific containers for things is also a great way to organize. When you are able to actually see the floor in your dorm room, you’ll be happy you brought some extra storage containers.

12. Bottle opener – Countless college students are stranded trying to find beers with twist off tops. Most people agree beer tastes better in bottles than it does in cans. So, having a bottle opener in college can be a great asset. It may even make you popular on the floor (assuming everyone else forgot to bring bottle openers as well). Who doesn’t want to be known as “the guy (or girl) with the bottle opener”? Get one of the nice key chain bottle openers if you can. Trust me, the alternative usually involves banging the bottle on desks, which usually results in a party foul as you spill everywhere.

13. USB Flash Drive – I can’t even begin to truly explain how useful flash drives are in college. Chances are that during your college experience, you may have to run a paper to the library or somewhere else to print it. You may also have to do a PowerPoint presentation. Friends may want some pictures from your digital camera. Or you may just want to share some great music with one of the people in your room or on your floor. Flash drives are much faster than trying to e-mail huge files. They are also much quicker than trying to burn countless CDs full of important data. My freshman year, I was constantly borrowing people’s flash drives to transfer pictures, papers, and loads of other files.

14. Pliers – When the hammer won’t work. If screwdrivers are proving to be useless, then you may just want some pliers. Pliers, like many other items on this list, have many, many uses. You never know when you may need to bend something metal, clamp something together, or remove something from something else. It is important to note that you can use pliers in lieu of a bottle opener (although it is a bit more difficult).

15. Extra sheets - Too many college students bring themselves only one set of sheets. When in college, you may think that you’ll be responsible, and do all your washing. Unfortunately, college students rarely make time to do their laundry immediately, so having a change of sheets can be immensely beneficial. Also, you never know when sheets may need to be changed in an emergency. Who knows if you could end up with the roommate who shows you how much partying he or she has been doing by projectile vomiting all over your nice clean sheets. True, it’s a graphic description, but a very real problem. You’ll be quite pleased you have a solution to it, although I bet you’ll still be annoyed with your roommate.

16. Vitamins – College students don’t eat very well at all. Unfortunately, a diet consisting of pizza and beer does not contain all the vitamins that humans need. Neither do Ramen noodles. The best solution to this nutritional problem is having a great multiple vitamin to take every day. Women should also consider taking calcium and iron tablets. You may find that you’ll be much more energized for class. Also, when the unfortunate time of the year arrives when everyone in the dorms seems to get sick, you may be able to avoid it. I’m no doctor, but I’ve noticed that when I’m taking vitamins regularly, my roommates get sick and I remain healthy as can be.

17. Air fresheners - It doesn’t matter if it is a spray, or one of those plug in air fresheners, but you should bring many with you to college. This is especially important if you have your own bathroom. I’ll save the grim details, but needless to say, you may find yourself surprised at some of the smells your roommates can produce. Not to mention, you may have the unfortunate luck of being stuck across the hall from the “smelly room.” Being prepared can help your smell defense. You may also get stuck with the smelly roommate. If that is the case, then you may want to write to your family for re-enforcements. Maybe if that roommate sees you opening a care package full of Febreze bottles they’ll get the message. All joking aside, you want to do whatever you can to avoid being known as the stinky room. Once again, women are generally much better about this than men. Trust me guys, girls will enjoy themselves much more if your room doesn’t smell like a New Jersey garbage dump.

18. Microwave – Bringing a micro-fridge is common sense. Bringing a microwave is often overlooked. The advantages of having a microwave at your disposal are nearly endless. With a microwave, the amount of food you are able to cook for yourself increases astronomically. Not to mention, you can save extra money by staying in and heating up cheap things like soup, Ramen, and any leftovers from the cafeteria (although college cafeteria food is even worse if it’s leftovers, so I wouldn’t suggest eating it too often). Some college students are lucky enough to have microwaves provided for them by the university. However, if your college doesn’t provide you with one, you should definitely bring one.

These items may be less common, but they will be so useful in college you’d be insane to not take them. Rather than wasting valuable time trying to find someone else who has the thing you need, you can simply look to your own room. The only thing you’ll have to deal with is the casual annoyance of everyone coming to use your stuff. However, that’s much better than the alternative.

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August 07 2007 08:02 pm | College Advice

65 Responses to “18 Overlooked Things Everyone Should Bring to College”

  1. Durk Price on 08 Aug 2007 at 8:01 am #

    I am printing this out for my daughter who will be starting college this fall. Great stuff.

  2. Dave on 08 Aug 2007 at 11:49 am #

    I’m going to university next year. These tips seem great, thanks a lot!

  3. Shannon on 09 Aug 2007 at 8:40 am #

    A personal printer is also a huge help. Do yourself a favor, and get an inexpensive laserjet black and white printer. As long as you are not doing any graphics work, the black and white printer will more than suffice. You can easily pick one up for $100 (try using the Google product search). These babies save considerable amounts of money on toner vs. inkjet printers on inkjet cartridges, and they also tend to print faster and last longer. Don’t forget to get that USB cable with the printer as most printers DO NOT come with one. This can save you much time when you are procrastinating writing that paper and don’t have time to run off to the computer lab to print your paper before class.

  4. Ciprian on 10 Aug 2007 at 8:46 am #

    Yes, these are some useful things it’s good to have in college. I’ve lived in college campus for 5 years, and during this time I’ve used most of this stuff. It’s a preety good list, though one can always find some extra stuff to add :)

  5. JHS on 12 Aug 2007 at 9:57 pm #

    Duct tape is great for tying up your roommates or taping them into their dorm room while sleeping. The extra sheets will come in handy after you put shaving cream on them in their sleep and it gets on the sheets when they wake up and realize. :-)

    Ah, college memories . . .

    Great list!

    Thanks for participating in this week’s Carnival of Family Life. It will be posted at midnight (PDT) at http://www.jhsiess.com!

  6. Kari on 13 Aug 2007 at 12:34 am #

    For the girls out there…. also go buy yourself a closet shoe organizer (the ones that hang on the back of a closet door). Not for your shoes mind you, but for your toiletries. We all own way too many bottles of shampoo, hairspray, brushes, curling irons, lotions etc for any small tote; the shoe organizer has the perfect space for each of these items to be kept, easily accessible and out of the way. Trust me, this will work wonders for tiny freshman dorms.

  7. Judy Aron on 14 Aug 2007 at 6:22 am #

    An envelope of coupons to chain stores or restaurants are also nice to have unless relatives give you stuff like Dunkin Donut gift cards etc (that goes with your vitamin entry)

    great post!

  8. Alasandra on 14 Aug 2007 at 10:25 am #

    Thanks for the list. My eldest is leaving for college this weekend.

  9. Wendy on 19 Aug 2007 at 10:35 pm #

    In response to Shannon: you can find muuuuch cheaper multi purpose printers. I’ve never spent that much on a printer; mine’s b&w and color, has scanner/copier functions, and all for $60. $100 is expensive in my book.

  10. Charles on 28 Aug 2007 at 6:05 am #

    Wendy – Shannon was talking about a laser printer, you are talking about an inkjet, and I’ve got to agree with her that a laser is MUCH cheaper in the long run, since buying ink cartridges for a printer like you have is normally more expensive than the printer itself and don’t last nearly as long.

  11. Sam on 28 Aug 2007 at 6:14 am #

    Don’t forget an umbrella! Everyone forgets to bring one.

  12. Jay C on 28 Aug 2007 at 6:48 am #

    This list is very helpful – someone needs to put together not just the list of overlooked items but a complete list of items. I just discovered this resource: tradeinmyzone.com that may be helpful for finding cheap stuff – it seems to be available to college students only.

  13. Bernice on 28 Aug 2007 at 8:39 am #

    Look into the 3M strips (found in Target etc in the nail/light bulb area) that stick to the wall then have a tab that pulls down when you want to remove it. They don’t remove paint or damage the back of paper although they are double sticky. They come in hooks & strips like velcro (also a good thing to take. Used them, they work and my landlord never knew the difference.

  14. leslie on 28 Aug 2007 at 9:17 am #

    First-aid kit!!

  15. hb on 28 Aug 2007 at 9:17 am #

    I agree that MFU is good to have. In our days they are cheap (even free with some new systems, but all profit is made when you buy ink) and if you print just several pages in emergency 3-5c per page are not a problem.

  16. Kevin on 28 Aug 2007 at 10:41 am #

    The tools are classic. I packed screwdriver/hammer/pliers for my daughter when she went off to college 5 years ago, and she was very popular in her all-girls dorm as “the one with the tools”.

    Wendy, you’re saving money on initial cost but you’ll spend it many times over on ink carts vs laser toner carts.

  17. Alex on 28 Aug 2007 at 10:46 am #

    Wow..I’m from India and we stay off campus but everything you mentioned is EXACTLY the stuff we needed (and now have :) )..

    totally useful!
    cheers,

  18. Parelle on 28 Aug 2007 at 11:01 am #

    Excellent list – I’ve had some of these items before (particularly the over-door hanger) which have been immensely helpful. My one addition would be a hot water kettle – they’re not expensive, can be used for cooking ramen, and buying coffee or tea from Starbucks is a huge waste of money over making your own.

    It’s also nice that none of these are a large piece of furniture – you never have another room in a dorm room!

  19. Blackdan on 28 Aug 2007 at 11:04 am #

    how about some condoms? :-D

    A flashlight. Headphones. Money (cash + card). ethernet cable. A small lock. Deck of cards.

  20. jason on 28 Aug 2007 at 11:05 am #

    for the $60.00 printer… what is the price of your ink refills? If it’s a inkjet, bubble jet, liquid ink printer, you’re paying $30-40 bucks a side (color & black), that’s 70 dollars in ink.

    The Laser printer, although 100 dollars, you can get roughly 40,000 sheets of paper out of the toner. 40,000!. you can buy a new printer when it runs out, and it’s still cheaper in the long run than buying bubble jet ink, for getting what? 500 sheets of bw text?.. that’s the long term savings is for.

  21. Noah on 28 Aug 2007 at 12:33 pm #

    How about quarters. So useful in many situations from laundry to parking meters… Why not steal borrow them from your parents before you head off to school!

  22. Elizabeth on 28 Aug 2007 at 12:38 pm #

    My dad made sure we all left home with a roll of duct tape and a screwdriver kit with interchangeable heads. All my guy friends came to me when they needed allen-headed screwdrivers to take their furniture apart and move it. It has socket wrench fittings and multiple sizes of every other head I would use in a handy case similar to the “Crescent 39 Piece Mechanics Ratcheting Screwdriver Kit” from Amazon.com. It was much more useful to me than a hammer, because of the “no nail holes” policy.

  23. Ben on 28 Aug 2007 at 12:44 pm #

    3M command strips solve the “putting holes in the wall” problem, plus they’re really handy.

  24. Guillermo on 28 Aug 2007 at 12:53 pm #

    That is a great list. I also reccomend taking with you a sewing kit, which you can make into any box (without buying): a couple of scissors, straight pins and a pin cushion, a tape measure, a pack of sewing needles (of a variety of sizes), a pack of buttons, safety pins and some thread, in basic colors (according to your wardrobe choices): black, navy blue, tan, brown, grey red and white (one of each).

    I still have the one I got for boarding school some twelve years ago. I only add the items that I run out of (mostly threads). That kit has saved me from emergencies many, many times!

  25. DiggUser on 28 Aug 2007 at 2:31 pm #

    Great list! Maybe a fan too, unless you have air conditioning.

  26. booboo on 28 Aug 2007 at 2:43 pm #

    Don’t forget a can opener, ’specially if you’re bringing a microwave.

  27. Rodey on 28 Aug 2007 at 3:13 pm #

    I could not have functioned without my three hole punch. I wish I was lying.

  28. jgv on 28 Aug 2007 at 3:15 pm #

    I imagine printer ink is largely forgotten. I’m going to have to send this to my kid sister– just left for freshman year yesterday.

  29. Jorad on 28 Aug 2007 at 3:59 pm #

    Don’t forget a sewing kit, even if all you need it for is sewing on buttons.

  30. Live TV on 28 Aug 2007 at 4:03 pm #

    Stapler not so much a necessity, we found other ways including gluing pages together, biting it into unity. folding the corners, bulldog clips, chewing gum, rope, string, burning the corners into submission.

  31. sano on 28 Aug 2007 at 4:10 pm #

    I don’t know about all schools, but I know the dorms at my college banned personal microwaves and toasters. Make sure you’re allowed to have one before buying one.

  32. Ken on 28 Aug 2007 at 4:12 pm #

    One caution about laser printers vs. inkjet printers. If it’s an older dorm with inadequate wiring, a laser printer is much more likely to blow a fuse due to the power surge it draws when firing up the heating element. An inkjet doesn’t need much power.

    Another nice thing to have is a pocket-sized 3-outlet surge protector to toss in the laptop bag. Not only does it provide some power protection in libraries and cafes, but it extends any power outlet so multiple students can plug in their laptops.

    So, no birth control on this list? :)

  33. Dave on 28 Aug 2007 at 4:48 pm #

    Bottle opener? Lightweights!

    Something I learnt in Germany is how to open a bottle of beer with a lighter, a key or most any other solid object.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zG4ztixR2KM

    The key is to keep your index finger around the bottle neck solid.

  34. Joe on 28 Aug 2007 at 4:50 pm #

    Medicine/First aid… Headache medicine, Cough medicine, Stomach Ache medicine, band-aids, antibiotic ointment

  35. Linnea on 28 Aug 2007 at 5:06 pm #

    A 4-month calendar comes in really handy. You can tell at a glance everything that has to get done in the near future. You can plan trips home and party weekends around your assignment schedule.

  36. Jon Parker on 28 Aug 2007 at 5:38 pm #

    Nearly everything on that list i ended up taking my girlfriend to Target to buy during her freshman year.

  37. Rob on 28 Aug 2007 at 5:49 pm #

    I personally give people staplers along with high school graduation presents. I found that having a mini stapler in your pack is actually a good way to meet people in college.

  38. Warren on 28 Aug 2007 at 5:55 pm #

    To Wendy above:

    While you may save $0 on the printer bu getting an inkjet, with the amount of printing you will do, the cost of consumables (ink vs. toner) will soon make the inkjet FAR more expensive than the laserjet by the end of the first year.

  39. EWW on 28 Aug 2007 at 6:28 pm #

    Lived in boarding schools and college for way too long, so I’m going to suggest the following as well:

    * Hand can opener for canned food (the one with the built-in bottle opener – double your fun)
    * Multi-tool (like a Leatherman)
    * Compact eating kit – knife / spork / micro-wave save bowl
    * A small bag of paperclips
    * A small bag of rubber bands* A small bag of … zip lock bags
    * A roll of paper towels
    * An extra roll of toilet paper

    All handy stuff that can be used in a lot of different ways. The multi-tool is the gift that keeps on giving ;)

  40. Ravage on 28 Aug 2007 at 6:46 pm #

    toothpaste will solve the “no nail holes” problem, just try to get a semi close match in colour to the wall

  41. Kay on 28 Aug 2007 at 8:06 pm #

    When I was in college I always had a mini stapler in my backpack…you never know when you or someone else would need them!
    On another note, this list is also handy for soldiers deploying overseas. A lot of these things I’ve used or could have used during my tour!

  42. Julie on 28 Aug 2007 at 10:49 pm #

    Hopefully people will check university policy before bringing some items. Our campus banned microwaves except in new dorms. And anyone staying in a very old dorm might need outlet adapters so they can plug in 3-pronged items.

  43. Brendan on 28 Aug 2007 at 10:57 pm #

    Definitely bring a first aid kit. If you went to the infirmary at my school we had a saying, no matter what the ailment was, even if it was just a headache, if you were a guy they assumed you had mono, if you were a girl they assumed you were pregnant. Laser jets are definitely the way to go, cheaper in the long run, more pages per cartridge, and they print much faster (think of that 50 page term paper due in five minutes because you overslept). Also, bowls, cups, silverware (note: plastic dishes require no cleaning)

  44. Derek on 28 Aug 2007 at 11:02 pm #

    Quote:
    “The Laser printer, although 100 dollars, you can get roughly 40,000 sheets of paper out of the toner. 40,000!. you can buy a new printer when it runs out, and it’s still cheaper in the long run than buying bubble jet ink, for getting what? 500 sheets of bw text?.. that’s the long term savings is for.”

    40,000? Uh no.
    Average $50-100 inkjet printer cartridge prints about 500 pages black based on 5% page coverage, depending on brand and model, ranges from $15 to $25.
    Average monochrome laser printer in $80-150 price range full toner cartridges print about 1,750 to 2,500 pages. The full toner cartridges cost between $60 and $90.
    Almost no low cost monochrome laser printers come with full starter toner.

  45. Dingo on 28 Aug 2007 at 11:35 pm #

    I used everything but the duct tape, hammer, and earplugs. Its better to learn to live without earplugs- I live next to a train track now and if I didnt avoid earplugs i could probably never sleep without them.

    Note- never bring cans of spray-on febreze. most guys i know would rather deal with the smell of a fresh dump than a room full of flowers. the best thing you can get are those cone-shaped air fresheners which just wither away. most of them dont overpower, none of them have the allergenic side-effects that can come with sprays, and they actually kill crappy smells (not just cover them up.) We just call them ‘coneheads’ now and usually live with five on deck just in case.

  46. Jox on 29 Aug 2007 at 1:44 am #

    I agree with Jason. Get a laser printer. It will save you lots of time when you print stuff whenever you want it.
    Also, invest $80 in a decent chair.

  47. ws on 29 Aug 2007 at 4:08 am #

    I’ll second Elizabeth regarding the screwdriver with multiple bits: A good one isn’t that much more expensive than several individual screwdrivers. Screws come in different sizes for each shape: #1, #2, etc. Use the wrong size and you’ll strip it. Stripped screws are a pain to deal with.

    If anything else, it’s only a single thing to lose instead of a single screwdriver out of a set.

    Unless you’re a pro at driving screws rapidly, and you need to put together furniture, invest in a powered screwdriver: it pays for itself in the amount of time saved.

  48. Adam on 29 Aug 2007 at 5:43 am #

    Some universities / Colleges don’t allow beer bottles so check about that first. I’d bring a fan even if there is air conditioning (the rooms are small and they get hot). Have a fridge with drinks and food too. The cafe’s can be far away and it’s always good to have food close.

  49. Vega on 29 Aug 2007 at 7:13 am #

    A flashlight and 1-2 locks are essentials. A personal alarm is also worth having – one of those devices where you pull out the pin and it makes a siren. Especially if you’re female and living in an unfamiliar town. Take it with you if you’re out at night and/or in unfamiliar places, you never know when you need it.

  50. rg on 29 Aug 2007 at 8:00 am #

    Dorm rooms quickly get filled up with stuff that doesn’t do much. The stuff on this list is great, but it’s worth checking with future roommates to make sure you’re not duplicating too much. Staplers, hammers, pliers, and door hangers are all useful things, but when you’ve got three of each in a room they just add clutter.

    Then again, dorm rooms aren’t exactly known for being clutter-free.

  51. Perfectputt on 29 Aug 2007 at 9:56 am #

    We missed an umbrella when my oldest went off to college. Now I give one as a graduation gift to college bound seniors. I got an e-mail from one last week. It was storming on his first day of classes and he was thankful for his umbrella. Another good tip is to put together a small tool kit. Buy a plastic storage container with a lid and put a small hammer, pliers, screw drivers, duct tape, poster putty etc in it. Do the same with basic sewing supplies and another with basic medicines and band aids. My 20 something daughters have thanked me for all 3!

  52. Robyn on 30 Aug 2007 at 10:30 am #

    Great list! This is exactly the list of stuff I’ve taken to my dorm room the last two years. Hooks are invaluable. And echoing the other comment about a hanging shoe rack for the closet: GET ONE! I have WAY too many pairs of cheap shoes, and the hanging shoe rack saved me so much space and clutter in the bottom of my closet.

    you’ll also want a sleeping bag for people to randomly crash on your floor. i even keep guest towels for my surprise guests as well!

  53. freecia on 30 Aug 2007 at 6:07 pm #

    In addition to the stapler (a small portable one usually does the job), don’t forget a hole punch. It can also be good to get a small lock box and laptop lock. Better to put valuables and private documents away than to have them swiped. It’s not about trust, it’s about pragmatism.

  54. Evan Dunville on 31 Aug 2007 at 11:38 pm #

    also Flu pills, tylonol, pepto. when you are sick/hungover you dont want to go out to the store. fridge baking soda. if your lucky enough to have a car spare keys! and on the topic of cleaning supplies the wet swiffer cloths are prefect for dorm cleaning, there are no rags or buckets needed just wipe and toss. spare light bulbs, my dorm would not supply them.

  55. Munfis on 01 Sep 2007 at 9:14 am #

    I second the chair! Get a good one, youl save yourself a whole lot of bother. A multitool is always the best, because you can use its screwdriver and its pliers, and you have no idea how many times I was grateful I had a corkscrew when I was cooking for a date. Keep your stuff secure, get a lockbox and a laptop lock. Heres the clincher. With your computer, make sure you have a wireless adaptor. Everybody should have one. At uni I was always amazed at how many people had to lay cat5 from room to room. That still has its uses, but not so much anymore.

  56. Stephanie on 04 Sep 2007 at 9:03 pm #

    Medicine of all kinds. Colds and flu runs rampid in residence halls year round. You can guarantee that if one person is sick, within a week five more will be infected.

    I run two residence halls and no one ever seems to have tylenol or cold medicine when they need it and always refuse to go to the health center.

    As for nails in the wall — bad idea you will probably be billed a damage fee (and we are smart to the toothpaste trick)

    A couple more to add: Stamps and envelopes (everyone always needs them and never has them)

    Quarters quarters quarters: You can fit $5 in those plastic tubes that 35mm Camera film comes in, and they keep them all together and easy to carry.

  57. Pedro on 05 Sep 2007 at 9:35 am #

    Don’t ever use toothpaste to patch nail holes. Why? Because you can’t paint over it. The housing staff will get really ticked. You may not be allowed to register/graduate until you reimburse them big bucks.

  58. jay on 06 Sep 2007 at 12:43 pm #

    one major thing that i overlooked when moving into a dorm: a quart-sized saucepan. the dollar stores carry them and they are amazing to have. i will never forget my lazy floor–we all shared one b/c we were too lazy/busy to buy our own–and fighting over that stupid pot.

  59. Balachandra on 16 Sep 2007 at 12:23 pm #

    I do think you’re right on the spot with this post, i could use a lot of this stuff for my classes. Thank you very much.

  60. B on 19 Sep 2007 at 2:34 pm #

    If your school doesn’t allow you to have Microwaves in your room, I suggest a water heater for things like oatmeal, ramen noodles (essential), hot chocolate, etc. I’ve had luck with this one, its cheap and really fast: http://www.amazon.com/Sunbeam-Hot-Shot-Beverage-Machine/dp/B00006IUZ5

  61. brittney on 23 Nov 2007 at 3:54 pm #

    I;m using this list for when i go off to a uni next month… i’l come bakk and let u know how it went..

  62. ali on 04 Dec 2007 at 9:48 am #

    actually, in my town, the whole “inkjets are more expensive in the long run” isnt true. there are a few stores that will trade you full ink cartridges for empty ones and it only costs $2. its pretty fantastic. then they just refill the cartridges and sell them again.

  63. palacrosse on 05 Aug 2008 at 9:08 pm #

    after attending private school for a year (PG year at Cushing Acadmey woo) i can easily say investing in a Brita was one of the key purchases of the year. Both myself and my roomate hated having to pay for water every week and dealing with all the bottles laying around. It was always nice having cold refreshing water and not having to countdown the bottles till the end of the pack. (plus everyone else on our floor stopped asking us for water bottles)

  64. 18 Things You Already Forgot to Bring to College | HackCollege on 31 Aug 2008 at 4:27 pm #

    [...] a frequently cited post from College and Finance that lists 18 things people tend to overlook when packing for college. That ain’t no hack though. The hack comes in when you’re already at college and you [...]

  65. HackCollege’s Back-to-School Essential Student Know-How [Back To School] | The tech blog on 03 Sep 2008 at 2:18 pm #

    [...] a frequently cited post from College and Finance that lists 18 things people tend to overlook when packing for college. That ain’t no hack though. The hack comes in when you’re already at college and you [...]

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