Must-Have Items for Your Freshman Year

Must-Have Items for Your Freshman Year

BIG Ideas:

  • Packing for college can be overwhelming, but having a plan can help.
  • In addition to packing essentials, bring some items that’ll make your space feel like home.
  • Having an open mind and positive attitude goes a long way on move-in day.

The time has finally come. You’re leaving behind the comfort of home and embracing all that is dorm life. Living at school is a huge transition, so it’s natural to feel a little nervous and even overwhelmed thinking about what you need to take with you and leave behind.

Fortunately, with a bit of planning and prep, you can ace the transition to dorm life. To help you, we’ve put together this list of what to pack for college, along with tips to make move-in day a whole lot easier.

Dorm Room Essentials

You’ll be spending a lot of time in your dorm room, so you want to make sure you have essentials to make you feel at home. Here are some items to include for your bedroom, bathroom, closet, and kitchen:


  • Mattress protector
  • Sheets & comforter (Twin XL size)
  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Underbed storage containers
  • Eye mask & ear plugs (if you’re a light sleeper)


  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body soap
  • Hand soap
  • Additional haircare products
  • Skincare products
  • Cleaning supplies
  • First aid kit
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Medication
  • Hand and bath towels


  • Hangers
  • Closet organizer
  • Storage bins
  • Laundry basket/bag
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dryer sheets
  • Seasonal clothing & shoes


  • Microwave
  • Minifridge (if allowed)
  • Utensils
  • Bowls & plates
  • Cups
  • Water bottle
  • Can opener
  • Cooking implements
  • Snacks & easy-to-make meals (Ramen or Mac and Cheese are top choices for students)
  • Kitchen towels

Sure, you may have a pretty good dining plan, but it doesn’t hurt to have some kitchen items to keep you nourished during late-night cram sessions.

Study Necessities

It’s great to have a cool dorm room, but don’t forget the reason you have one – to study and learn. To help make that easier, take along these necessities:

  • Laptop or desktop computer
  • Printer
  • Printer paper
  • Notebooks
  • File folders
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Cellphone & charger
  • Power strips
  • Headphones
  • Desk lamp

Personalization & Entertainment

Adding some personal touches and things that entertain you can also help make your dorm room feel like home. Here are some items to include:

  • Television
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Art supplies
  • Games (Board or card)
  • Coloring books or books for pleasure
  • Video games
  • Posters or art (and tape to affix them)
  • Photos
  • Plants
  • Musical instruments
  • Sporting goods (Soccer ball, basketball, baseball glove, etc.)

What NOT to Bring

Be familiar with dorm rules since there may be some things you want to bring to college that might not be allowed – like your pets, candles, or space heaters. And connect with your future roommates to coordinate what each of you will bring to help you avoid duplicate items that can take up prized space.

Move-in Day Tips

Though packing for college may feel overwhelming, planning can help you stay organized and better prepare for move-in day. Here are some tips to help you:

  1. Create a checklist. Write down what you want to bring and check things off as you pack them. Use this blog as your guide.
  2. Pack light and strategically. If possible, pack items that you’ll need seasonally to save space in your closet. Pack similar things into suitcases and storage bins to make it easier to unpack. Label everything.
  3. Keep your cool. Move-in day could be stressful for you, as well as your parents. Having a positive attitude and an open mind about where to put things, how to pack the car, and any bumps that may get in the way will make the day run smoother.

Brazos is Ready to Move on Your College Dreams

For more than 40 years, Brazos Higher Education has been helping make college education more affordable for students and parents. We’re a Texas non-profit, and we can offer you BIG savings on various student loans. Contact us today!