Packing for college can be super stressful! It is really easy to forget a ton of important things when trying to prepare.
I know exactly what the stress is like, so I made a list of forgotten college essentials you’ll regret not packing! If you have the basics covered and just want to double-check that you have it all, this is the list for you!
Commonly Forgotten College Essentials
Most college kids forget the following items all the time:
- Tool kit
- Social security card + Passport
- Water filter
- First Aid Kit
- Surge Protector
- Bed bug mattress protector
- Eye mask
- Business professional clothes
- Trash can
I’ll break down why you need each of these to thrive!
This one is almost always forgotten by freshmen and transfer students! A tool kit is something every adult needs when they move. You do not have to be a super handy person to use one since the basic kits include screwdrivers, pliers, and a hammer. My freshman roommate’s desk chair broke on her randomly throughout the year and she was able to easily fix it with a screwdriver I had in my kit. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
If you are living in the dorms, then you are definitely going to need some dishes. Whether you have an actual kitchen, kitchenette, or microwave, dishes are a must. I grew super tired of dorm food in the middle of the year and having my own dishes, microwave, and fridge allowed me to mix things up from time to time.
It also helps you save on time if you just need to make some oatmeal really quick before heading out to classes. Don’t forget to also pack some dish soap and a sponge!
Social Security Card and Passport
As a new adult, you should have your social security card and passport in a safe place at your dorm or apartment. You never know if you will need that information for some college documents, job applications, or signing up for loans/a new bank account. I also recommend that you know your social security number by heart, but you’ll still need a physical copy of it.
As for your passport, you should always have it since it can serve as a second form of identification. You could lose your ID, trust me I know quite a few people who have, and DMV appointments are always backed up. By having your passport, you run less of a risk of dealing with any sort of identification issues.
Umbrellas are a MUST depending on the area you are moving to. I was going from LA where it rarely ever rains to Northern California, and I really didn’t think about the weather too much. My first year there was so much rain that I had to get rain boots and a rain jacket, it was insane. Don’t be like me. Be prepared and make sure you at least have an umbrella when you move into the college dorms or apartments.
A water filter or Brita is an essential college item! Sure everyone has their Hydroflasks or other reusable water bottles that you can easily fill up in the dining halls. BUT what if you finished your water and just got back to your dorm room? It can be super annoying to have to walk all the way back to the dining halls or have to go up/down 3 flights of stairs just to get some water.
Save yourself the trip and get yourself a water filter to easily store some in your fridge or somewhere in your room.
First Aid Kit
Whether you are clumsy or not, you should always have a first aid kit wherever you live. I even recommend having one in your car just in case. You never know if you will cut yourself accidentally trying to cook or need some Tylenol for a headache from cramming for exams. And if you are cramming for exams, you should check out these Bad Study Habits to Quit Now. Cramming is never good!
You don’t even realize how many things you need to charge or plug into an outlet until you move. If you are in the dorms and plan on getting some appliances, that alone could take up all your outlets! My roommates and I had a mini-fridge, microwave, and Keurig. The outlet only had 2 spots so we needed a surge protector just for that. Then we had all our individual items like laptop chargers, cell phone chargers, fans, speaker chargers, etc.
Don’t forget to pick up a surge protector before you move into your college dorm or apartment!
Bed Bug Mattress Protector
This advice is more so for those who are moving into the dorms or into pre-furnished apartments. You have no idea how many people have slept on that mattress before you and their level of cleanliness. I highly recommend you clean the mattress before putting any of your things on it by wiping it down with sanitizing wipes and ironing it.
I think adding a bed bug mattress protector also gives you an extra bit of security knowing that you will be okay.
If you have roommates in your dorm room or plan to share a room in an apartment, an eye mask is a MUST. Everyone has a different schedule. You could be a night owl and your roommate could be an early bird. Whatever the case is, there isn’t a guarantee that you will all be sleeping at the same time.
To save yourself some drama with roommates about deciding when lights are off, pack an eye mask ahead of time. I’m a complete early bird and one of my roommates was a night owl. I would go to sleep at 9 pm and she was finally comfortable doing her school work. I used my eye mask and was not disturbed at all by her lamp.
Business Professional Clothes
Being in college, you will have tons of opportunities to network with alums and other professionals. A lot of these events require business casual or business professional clothing and you should always have an outfit on standby. Also if you plan to interview for internships or jobs, you are going to need some formal clothing.
Make sure to not forget some professional-looking shoes either!
Most people assume your school will provide this (and some do!), but it’s always better to be prepared and have a trash can just in case. Even though I had one when I was in the dorms, some of the other buildings only had recycling bins. This was super annoying for those who planned to have a trashcan and then needed to take trips back and forth on moving day to throw stuff out.
There you have it, 11 forgotten college essentials! Let me know in the comments if you have forgotten anything major when packing for college or if you have anything I should add to this list!