15 College Essentials You Do Not Want to Forget

by Rachel Weeks

15 College Essentials You Do Not Want to Forget

If you’re headed off to college this year, you’ve probably read your school’s extensive packing list. As you may have guessed, not all of those items are essentials. Here are the 15 things you definitely don’t want to leave at home.


Painter’s Tape



Some lists recommend hanging posters and pictures with sticky tack or Command Strips, but painter’s tape is an easy and cheap alternative for decorating your room. Save those pricy Command Strips for hanging picture frames or bulletin boards, one roll of standard painter’s tape will do the trick.


Disinfecting Wipes



Most college kids don’t do a whole lot of cleaning during their time at school, so an easy cleaning tool like disinfecting wipes will go a long way to keeping your space livable. Plus, one container of wipes takes less space than bulkier cleaning products like spray bottles.


Touch Lights



The majority of college students will be sharing a room and—trust me—roommates don’t always go to bed at the same time. Plan an easy way to light up your side of the room without disturbing your dozing roommate (too much). Desk lamps are often too bright or placed inconveniently for changing in the dark. Simple touch lights in your wardrobe or under your bed are a good alternative.


To-Go Coffee Cup



If you’re not a big coffee drinker yet, you probably will be in college. Make sure you have good-sized travel coffee mug—preferrably one that won’t leak—to get you through those morning classes. Sometimes a hot, tall cup of coffee is all you need to brighten up your day.

Contigo AUTOSEAL Transit Stainless Steel Travel Mug; $20


Wireless Mouse



You have your new laptop and protective carrying case, but don’t forget a wireless mouse, especially if you’ll be doing anything with video production or design. Sometimes your computers track pad is too cumbersome for your assignment and you definitely don’t want to be slowed down by a lack of equipment.

CTC Tech Rechargeable Silent Thin Wireless Optical Mouse; $6


Power Strip



This is the most commonly forgotten item and one of the most essential. You’re going to have a lot of cords and may be very limited when it comes to outlets. Pack at least one power strip—preferrably with a long cord—to make organizing your dorm room 100 times easier. A long cord is important because many dorms prohibit the use of extension cords.

Trozk Smart 4-Outlet with 4-USB Output Lemon Shape Surge Protector Power Strip; $18


Rolls of Quarters



Quarters aren’t an essential for every school—many of them have switched to digital systems to pay for laundry—but others are still stuck in the quarter-ages. Coming prepared with a few rolls will save you a headache down the road, when you’re out of both underwear and money in your laundry account.


Cord Ties



As stated previously, you’re going to have a lot of cords to contain. Pick up a couble Velcro cord ties to keep things organized underneath your desk. They also come in handy for storing your computer charger in your backpack, especially if you like to keep things neat.

AGPtEK Colorful Nylon Reusable Cable Ties; $7


Key Ring



College may be the first time many students are managing a full key ring, so keeping it organized is very important. Many students like to use key chain card holders so that all of their essentials are in one place. You’re expected to have your ID on you at all times, might as well keep it with your keys.

Big O Key Rings; $28-55


Can Opener



The cheapest soups come in cans.

Can Opener and 4-in-1 Heavy Duty Bottle Opener Combo Set; $24


Good Bike Lock



If you’re bringing a bike to campus with you, be prepared to lock it effectively. Bicycle theft is extremely common on college campuses, so having a good lock is essential. While there are a lot of bike locks out there, a U-Lock is usually your best bet. Be sure to lock both your bike frame and front wheel!

Etronic Security Lock M4 Self Coiling Cable Lock; $7.50





You’ll be walking around a lot, don’t get caught out in the rain.

Black & Cream Striped Pagoda Umbrella; $34


Ethernet Cable



While most college campuses have wireless Internet in every building, it can be painfully slow, especially in the residence halls. Bring a long Ethernet cable to make sure you always have the connection you need to get your work done.


Air/Fabric Fresheners



If you’re not already intimately acquainted with the benefits of Febreze, you will be soon. Pack an aerosol air freshener for when your floor bathrooms are too much to handle. A fabric refresher will also come in handy for when you inevitably put off washing your clothes or your sheets too long.





You’d be surprised how many people forget scissors. Don’t be that girl.