I remember being in college and my first year moving in I must have made 15 trips to Wal-Mart. Sure some of them just for the hell of it and to get food, but many times it was because I didn’t bring or take with me what I needed upon my move in. I always thought about the list I needed for my proper preparation.

Well, here it is all for you! A pretty comprehensive list of the items you need to consider. you may not need all of this, but it gives you an idea of what you should prepare for.

Mom and dad, making plans now can help you in getting together what you have at home, but it can also help you to put son or daughter on a budget to help pay for all or most of these items.

College Planning Shopping List

  • clothes (for all seasons…you just never know)
  • a ton of hangers
  • socks and underwear
  • baseball cap for bad hair days or the days when you don’t shower right away
  • raincoat/parka and/or umbrella
  • boots for rain and snow
  • laundry bag/basket and detergent
  • quarters and other change…and a lot! (bring rolls of quarters)
  • small-clothes drying rack
  • tabletop iron board and iron
  • regular sheets and pillow case (check the size of the bed first)
  • blanket/comforter
  • foam mattress pad
  • alarm clock/clock radio
  • towels, wash clothes and a few face towels (BIG wash clothes)
  • travel bag for toiletries
  • flip-flops, robe
  • any necessary toiletries
  • hair, makeup stuff,(dryer/curling iron/brushes, etc.)
  • medicine, first aid kit, bathroom cabinet-type items (goo through your own bathroom)
  • fan and extension cord (buy 2-3), or power strip with surge protector
  • stackable trays for desk
  • desk light (clip on or table top (check size of desk))
  • 3 prong adapter
  • flashlight and batteries
  • size AA, AAA batteries
  • message board (dry erase, chalk or tack board) to hang outside door or somewhere in room for notes
  • dictionary/thesaurus (
  • book bag/back pack
  • calculator, desk tray/divider, weekly planner (if not school supplied), stapler, ruler, scotch tape, stamps, stationery, pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, legal pads, pocket folders,
  • small tool kit- screwdrivers, hex screw, pliers, hammer, etc.
  • funtack  (gummy adhesive stuff you use to stick up pictures, posters, dry-erase boards). You might get in trouble for using nailing or tacks.
  • under-the-bed storage crates and small rubber maid or plastic storage containers (not too bulky or big).
  • bike and industrial strength lock
  • small collapsible chair, bean bag chair
  • carpet/floor mat
  • stereo, radio, CD’s headphones, IPOD
  • laptop, computer
  • CD’s, CD-R, DVD-R, CD-RW, etc…all media to record onto
  • flash drive (8-10GB)
  • TV/VCR/DVD player/Xbox/Video games (of course you won’t forget these :))
  • video camera, picture camera and film
  • coffeemaker/filters and coffee (instant??)*
  • can/bottle opener
  • microwave/toaster oven*
  • mini-refrigerator*
  • land-line phone, answering machine/voice mail capabilities*
  • dishwashing detergent (small bottle)
  • plasticwares: plates, spoon/fork/knife, cups
  • zip lock bags (sm, med, lg.)
  • large bowl(s)
  • chip clips
  • portable vacuum cleaner or sweeper
  • 4 decks of cards, chips, board games
  • basketball, baseball stuff, football, any sports stuff you can take and play outside with friends
  • roller blades
  • tennis racket
  • sunscreen
  • pepper spray
  • Swiss army knife*
  • Your HOPE FILE…Momentos, memorable moments documented tat you can bring with you to remember your past experiences.
  • Extra cell phone charger (2 total)

*Denotes that you must check with your school on the policies with regard to having these items.

Although I listed some specifics, you should always check with your college/school’s policies with regard to other necessary items needed for classroom work, or just required by the college in general like uniform, certain books, planners, etc.

Some extras things to consider

1. Check with your school on any and all specific school supplies. They may have a supplies list that they publish. Especially if you are attending certain hands-on, creative, vocational, etc type of schools will indeed have certain needs.

2. Always have 1 or 2 backups of things like batteries, flashlights, utensils, bags, paper, etc.

3. Corkboard bulletin boards are always good, maybe a 2′ X 3′ size board, or smaller

4. Check with your future dorm mate, roommate, etc, to see what they have and are planning to bring. Compare lists and make sure you don’t double up, and at least have a layout of what your room(s) will look like

5. Start buying this stuff NOW. Don’t wait until August. Gather the money ad buy a little each week until the week before you leave. It is so much unneeded stress that you won’t have if you have almost everything you need before you pack the car.

6. Think about the things your bringing. If its video games that you spend way too much time on, and if your afraid too many people will be hanging out in your room, playing, you may consider NOT bringing it or them. try it out first ad see how you can do without it. It might be better off, but think about those things in your life that you can leave behind. Don’t worry you can always come back for it.

7. Find out any construction limitations/policies that the school has in case you want to build a loft or make some minor adjustments to your room. Think about seating and the types of chairs you would have as well in considering this.

8. Organization…you have your own method. If you have one…use it in keeping track of ALL paperwork. Do not throw everything away. Some things must be kept ad you should keep file folders of these. That’s for life’s stuff. You can cal this your Freshmen Folder.

As for school and classes, my recommendation would be to have one of everything for each class. Until you get settled and more organized and comfortable with your work load, having one folder, one notebook, one pencil, and one legal pad, etc for all classes.

The shopping list above is everything I can think of, and then some. 🙂 It’s not the only list. If there is something I’m missing please share it with all of us!

Your Success is My Success,

Keith Lipke

Keith Lipke is a careers and college recruiter, coach, mentor and blogger at TheCareerCloset. His passion is to educate, inspire, and give hope to young people who need it upon their search for the right career and college.