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Leaving for college? Here's your ultimate college packing list by Sarah Frank

It is undeniable that packing, planning, and prepping for college is overwhelming. There are so many things to bring that most people immediately need to go shopping after arrival.

Published Aug 1st, 2022

Sarah Frank of TikTok college tips account Frank Advice has put together her ultimate college packing list for everyone starting their first semester in 2022!

In order to avoid needing to spend more than the unavoidable product and moving costs, let’s talk about what you need to bring– the obvious and the non-obvious.

The easiest way to make a college packing list is by category. The ones I use are clothing, comfort, food, organization, social, stationary,  technology, toiletries, and miscellaneous.


Clothing depends very much on your style and where your college is. A packing list for New England looks very different than SoCal. Write your own to fit your vibe and destination but here’s a list to get you started.

  • Bathrobe

  • Fuzzy socks

  • Sweats

  • Hoodie

  • Short sleeve shirts

  • Long sleeve shirts

  • Athletic shorts

  • Jeans

  • Leggings

  • Regular socks

  • Bras

  • Underwear

  • Dresses

  • Blouses

  • Jumpsuit

  • Accessories

  • Scrunchies

  • Hair ties

  • Necklaces

  • Rings

  • Bracelets

  • Sunglasses

  • Blue light glasses

  • Prescription glasses

  • Glasses case/cleaner

  • Cardigan

  • Light sweater

  • Scarf

  • Coat

  • Winter socks

  • Gloves

  • Winter pants

  • Rain coat

  • Rain boots

  • Snow boots

  • Beanie

  • Shoes

  • Slippers

  • Sandals/birks

  • Dress shoes

  • Sneakers

  • shower shoes

  • Swimsuits

  • Bathing suit cover up

  • Pyjama tops

  • Pyjama bottoms

  • Baseball cap

Brown University Freshman dorm tour by Sarah Frank

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Comfort items are the things that make your dorm feel more like home and help give you a comfortable night’s rest.

Comfort bits and pieces
  • Weighted blanket and/or heated blanket

  • Throw blanket

  • Reading light

  • Mattress topper

  • Fan

  • Back pillow

  • Essential oil diffuser

  • Essential oils

  • Heating pad

  • Eye mask

  • Throw pillows

  • Stuffed animals

  • Blackout curtains

  • Sleeping pillows

  • Sheets

  • Comforter


All things food and kitchen. Dining varies by college but no matter where you go, there might be times you don’t want to go to a dining hall. Have sustenance available in your dorm!

Cooking / dining essentials
  • Microwave cover

  • Britta

  • Kettle

  • Microwave

  • Mini-fridge

  • Mugs

  • Saran wrap

  • Water bottle

  • Ice cube tray

  • Paper plates

  • Paper bowls

  • Reusable plates+bowls

  • Plastic utensils

  • Reusable utensils


One of the most important things you can do when you move in is set yourself up to be organized. Space is limited so you have to make the most of it.

Organisation helpers
  • Hangers

  • Shoe holder

  • Closet organizer

  • Drawer organizers

  • Desk mirror

  • Phone stand

  • Desk container

  • Power tower

  • Cable holder

  • Storage cubes

  • Storage ottoman

  • Command hooks

  • Storage cart

  • Collapsible bins

  • Fairy lights

  • Full length mirror

  • Pictures

  • Stickers

  • Trash bags

  • Chip clips

  • Ziploc bags

  • Yoga mat

  • Bedside pocket/shelf

  • Seat cushion

  • Bedside lamp

  • Bulletin /dry erase board


Social is the category I use to encapsulate all the things you need for leaving your dorm. But of course, those things have to be kept in your dorm and need to have a place (use the above organization category!).

Social essentials
  • Phone wallet

  • Small umbrella

  • Speaker

  • Picnic blanket

  • Invisiwear

  • Safety keychain

  • Nightcap

  • Cards

  • Wallet

  • Actual backpack

  • Casual bag/backpack

  • Purse

  • Lanyard

  • Sunglasses

  • Tide to-go stick


Office Depot-type of things. Stationary is all the supplies you’ll need for class. If you are an iPad/laptop user you might not need all of this, but some classes require hand-writing things, so consider these regardless.

Stationary essentials
  • Superglue

  • Lap desk

  • Screwdriver

  • Tape

  • Scissors

  • Pens

  • Mechanical pencils

  • Pencil lead

  • Highlighters

  • Paper

  • Mildliners

  • Sticky notes

  • Index cards

  • Notebooks

  • Clipboard

  • Tape measure

  • Folder


No college student can go without technology, but it’s one of the things most frequently forgotten. Very few people remember flashlights and batteries, for instance. Also, make sure to check your school’s guidelines on power strips and surge protectors. Some dorm RAs are unfortunately strict with enforcing those rules.

Tech essentials
  • iPhone charger

  • Surge protectors

  • Power strips

  • Echodot (Alexa)

  • Conair fabric shaver

  • Clock

  • Portable charger

  • Lamp

  • Mini vacuum

  • iPad/tablet

  • Desk mirror with lights

  • Batteries

  • Computer

  • Computer charger

  • Flashlight

  • Flashdrives


One thing college has taught me is that having stuff is not just about you needing it– it’s about being there for your roommate, your friends, your hallmates. I even made a couple friends by having nail polish remover and ginger ale. Being helpful is an easy way to make friends, especially in the first couple weeks.

College toiletries
  • Toothbrush cover

  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste

  • Efferdent

  • Vaseline

  • Floss/floss picks

  • Retainer case/retainer

  • Beach towel

  • Hand towels

  • Body towels

  • Face towels

  • Body wipes/baby wipes

  • Brush

  • Shampoo

  • Conditioner

  • Styling products

  • Bandaids

  • Benadryl spray

  • Essential skincare

  • Soap

  • Sunscreen

  • Shower caddy

  • Shower shoes

  • Deodorant

  • Razor

  • Pads/tampons/mc

  • Nail polish

  • First aid kit

  • Tissues

  • Tweezers

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Lysol

  • Ice pack

  • Perfume

  • Chapstick

  • Earplugs

  • Thermometer

  • Ibuprofen

  • Benadryl

  • Allergy medication

  • Flonase

  • Saline

  • Afrin

  • Cough drops

  • Antacids

  • Ginger ale/something similar


There are some things that simply don’t fit into a category but important nonetheless.

Important extras!
  • Laundry bag with handles

  • Doorstop

  • Detergent

  • Insurance card

  • Copy of birth certificate

  • Lint roller

  • Rubber mallet

  • Coasters

  • Toolkit

As I said in the beginning, tailor this to your needs: what products you use, where you are going to school, what your roommate wants you to bring, etc. Hopefully these lists can help you curate your own. And remember– it is better to have and not need, than to need and not have!