The Back to Campus Packing List

Whether you are headed to college for the first time or you’re moving back in for your senior year, there are certain items that need to make the trip with you no matter what – and then there are items that aren’t ‘vital’ but will certainly make your year go a lot more smoothly. If you are the type of person to always forget something important, bring too much, or have a meltdown because you don’t know what to bring – this is the campus packing list for you.


  1. CLOTHES: Obviously. But what should you bring? Make sure you have plenty of every day outfits that are fit for the first few months at school (summer/fall gear). Leave most of the heavy winter clothes at home and do a swap when you’re home for Thanksgiving or Winter Break. Also, make sure that you have some fancier stuff for any formals or date nights (if you’re involved in Greek life) and a professional outfit that will work for presentations, interviews, or career
    • T-Shirts/Tank Tops
    • Jeans/Shorts
    • Underwear & Socks
    • Pajamas
    • Shoes/Sneakers/Boots
    • Professional Attire (at least 1 outfit)
    • Formal Dress/Shirt, Pants & Tie (at least 1 outfit)
    • Jackets/Sweatshirts/Sweaters
    • Hats/Gloves/Scarves
    • Umbrella & Rain Boots
  2. DORM: Consider your daily routine at home and all of the different items that you use regularly. Bring snacks that are easily prepared, don’t need refrigeration, and won’t expire quickly. Remember that you will have to cook, clean and do laundry on your own, so you are going to need the necessary equipment.

    • Shower Caddy & Flip Flops
    • Towels & Wash Cloths
    • Comforter, Pillows, Mattress Cover & Sheets
    • Hamper
    • Vitamins & Medicine
    • Snacks
    • Toiletries
    • Laundry Detergent & Dryer Sheets
    • Garbage Bags
    • Cleaning Products & Febreeze
    • Utensils, Plates & Cups
    • Ear Buds
  3. SCHOOL: Just like any other Fall, you’ll need the essential back to school items. Figure out what will be necessary for each class and go from there. Don’t underestimate your use of index cards!

    • Book Bag
    • Notebooks/Binders
    • School Books
    • Pencils & Pens
    • Index Cards
    • Ruler
    • Stapler
    • Paperclips
    • Markers & Highlighters
    • Tape
    • Scissors


  1. DÉCOR: It may not be necessary, but making your dorm room feel like your own space is really important to adjusting – especially if you’re far away from home. Make sure you have additional lighting, fans (many dorms are AC-free!), and some art or pictures for your walls. It’s exciting to live on your own for the first time – it should be as enjoyable as possible!

    • Wall Art
    • Area Rug
    • Fans
    • Floor Lamp
    • Extra Garbage Can
    • Full Length Mirror
    • Bulletin/Dry Erase Board
  2. ORGANIZATION: By organizing your things to the best of your ability, you’ll be able to save yourself from a lot of clutter (and arguments with your roommate!). It will also allow you to fit more in a small area and/or keep you from losing track of important items.

    • Shoe Organizer
    • Desk Shelves
    • Closet Organizer
    • Under-The-Bed Storage
    • Filing Folders
    • Labels
    • Trunk Storage
  3. ENTERTAINMENT: Despite all the activities going on in college, sometimes you’ll want to veg out and relax in your room. Coordinate with your roommate on bringing extra items like a TV and games. If you have a hobby you do in your down time, bring it along. When you don’t feel like going out, you’ll be happy that you did!

    • TV
    • Video Game System
    • DVD Player
    • Laptop
    • Board Games
    • Cards
    • Arts & Crafts
    • Speakers

Now you’re all set to go! Did we miss any necessities for your campus packing list? Comfort items? Let us know by commenting below or tweet us @bncollege!


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  1. kayla says:

    Don’t forget, someone should bring a small vacuum. I didn’t think of it, but thankfully my roommate did and I didn’t realize how much we would need it.

    • Angela says:

      It’s weird that vacuum wasn’t on the list above because it WAS on the list included in the email that provided the link to this site!!

  2. Candace says:

    A broom and a plunger. Like, bathroom stuff.

    • Heather says:

      Some dorms in apartment style living do not include shower curtains in the bath, so don’t forget some type of shower curtain!

  3. Hunter Davis says:

    An iron and small ironing board

  4. Heather says:

    Ear plugs, The soft foam ones, should be included if you share a room, just in case you are a light sleeper and the roomie is a snorer!

  5. Lynn says:

    A small fridge and microwave are really nice to have for snacks!

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