College Packing 101: Ten Essentials You Need + Advice from a REAL College Student
Back to school sales are starting, which is a great reminder that the school year will begin soon. Now is the time to get all the back to school essentials like notebooks, pencil, and pens. But for college students, this list is so much longer. If you are sending a kid off to college soon, or if you are soon-to-be college student yourself, then you are in the right place! Today, Cathy’s daughter Haley, a college student, is here to share with you the top college must-haves and essentials.
Shopping for college can be stressful and expensive. Before I share my favorite college dorm items, I first want to share a few tips and tricks while doing college dorm shopping.
3 College Shopping Tips
1. Shop for your kitchen supplies at your local thrift store. While it would be nice to have everything brand new (which arguably could be worth the investment), I suggest going to your local thrift store to find items that you might lose or break, such as kitchen utensils, pots, pans, and silverware. I was able to get all these things for less than $30. Throughout my college experience, things have been lost and broken and I’m so glad that I didn’t spend hundreds of dollars on these items.
If you don’t like buying things from the thrift store, you can get plates, bowls, and utensils for cheap at Walmart. Just don’t get glass, because its heavy and can break!
2. Talk to your roommates. If you are open to sharing supplies with your future roommates, organize with them on what everyone is bringing. That way, you don’t end up buying and then having 3 toasters in your apartment!
3. Keep an eye out for deals at your favorite stores. It’s back to school for everyone, which means every store will be having deals and listing items for less. Keep an eye out for great deals on the expensive items (such as bedding, storage containers, towels, etc.) You can download the Fabulessly Frugal App and get deal notifications when the items you want are on sale.
10 College Essentials You Didn’t Know You Needed
I developed this list from my own personal experience and with help from my friends. I wanted to share the things that I thought might not be included in a typical college shopping list. So, without further ado, here are 10 things you can’t live without as a college student and must be on your shopping list!
Get a quality set of Tupperware, then write your name or initials on it. This wasn’t something I originally got, but it was so useful once I finally got some! Tip: always cook a little extra of your dinner, then use Tupperware to store leftovers for later!
2. Small, Nonstick Frying Pan
Frying pans, who knew? Investing in a quality frying pan is so worth it! You want to find a small frying pan that is easy to store and perfect for making a variety of dishes.
3. Storage containers and organizers
Chances are you will have limited personal space. Keep things organized with large plastic containers to hold the things you don’t need as often. These are also great to have when moving in and out of your dorm or apartment. I recommend having a couple large containers to store off-season things, and few smaller ones that you can access easily to keep school supplies, clothes, or other necessities.
4. Water bottle
I bring my water bottle with me everywhere! If you don’t already have a water bottle you love, it is time to invest in one. I’ve used Contigo and Tal water bottles and have loved them both.
5. Toiletry bag
You want a toiletry bag or container that will help you keep your personal products organized. You also want it to be easy to move around and store.
6. Deck of cards or other games
Hosting game nights is one of the best ways to get to know your neighbors and make new friends. Even if you don’t have anyone to play with, having a deck of cards on hand is great for playing solitaire with. (You can get cards at the dollar store!)
Being away from home can be challenging, that is why it is so important to create space that is 100% you! Invest in or make décor that will help you feel at home in your new dorm or apartment. I love having fairy lights and pictures of friends and family in my space. I know its typical college décor, but it brings me so much joy!
8. Hammock or picnic blanket
There is nothing I love more than going outside during the warm months. Having a hammock or picnic blanket makes it so easy to take a break and enjoy the sun or to do homework outside. Plus, hammocking is a fun thing to do with friends!
If you have access to a kitchen, then it is so important to have a spatula that you can use for everything. You want it to be sturdy enough to break up meat. Find and invest in a spatula that you will actually use and love.
Similar to a spatula, you want to get a knife set, or one or two knives, that you love. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to have knives that are dull or don’t work.
One More Piece of Important Advice
College is a new and fun experience! You will meet life long friends and have amazing experiences! However, it is also hard! It is a time of adjusting, learning, discovering, and frustration. Give yourself a lot of grace as you take a step into this new life. And, make a snack box for yourself! Reward yourself for the hard days; you did it! Sometimes, the only motivation I have is knowing that I can eat a bowl of ice cream, cereal, or chocolate covered pretzels once I get home from an exhausting day of work and classes.
What college essentials do you think need to be added to this list?
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