10 Things You'll Wish You Brought With You to College

July 17, 2015

If you're anything like I was the summer before my freshman year of college, you've pinned hundreds of "Ultimate College Checklists" and you may think you have packed everything you'll ever need. Once I arrived at school and unpacked everything in my dorm, I found that there were several things I purchased that I would not need, but even more surprisingly, there were a lot of things I wished I had packed which I would later purchase or have my family send to me over the course of my first semester.  So much for being prepared. Here are some of the items I couldn't have survived without first semester that may not be on your mind as you begin to pack for school.

  1. Fabric Steamer. This was a lifesaver. The thought of bringing a clunky ironing board into a small space was not appealing. However, with the limited drawer and closet space you'll likely have, your clothes are bound to get wrinkled and you'll want a solution. I have the Conair Extreme Steam Steamer which is small, heats up quickly, is easy to use and removes wrinkles like a charm. It truly is a must-have and even if you're not an ironer before college, you will find that wrinkles seem to happen a lot more often when your entire wardrobe is confined to the storage in your dorm. So get a steamer. You won't regret it at all.
  2. Bluetooth Speaker. You may be used to streaming music from your computer and that's perfectly fine, however something about having music playing out of a speaker just makes your dorm room cozier and so homey. I loved using my Lilly Pulitzer bluetooth speaker to create a nice calming ambiance in my room or to rock out to Christmas music with my friends (we started listening to our holiday playlists in late October, whoops)...
  3. Baby Picture. This one is a little on the sentimental side. I framed a cute baby picture of me and my siblings and placed it on my desk. Not only was it nice to have whenever I got a little homesick (which was not too often), but it was fun to have on display so my college friends could have a little peek into my childhood (other than #TBTs on Instagram).
  4. Extra Long iPhone Charger. My roommate had a 10 foot iPhone cord which at first seemed somewhat excessive but it wasn't before long that I found myself ordering the same one from Amazon. Due to the limited outlet locations in our dorm, if I wanted to use my phone from my bed, I needed a cord that would stretch long enough to reach me.  
  5. Multiple (!) Surge Protectors. Speaking of a lack of outlets, what if there was a way you could multiply one outlet by 6 or more? Meet the surge protector, your new BFF. You and your roommate will be sharing a couple of outlets and, odds are, you each have many devices that
    need plugging in. Once you factor in your phone, computer, etc., add in a microwave, refrigerator, maybe a TV? Yeah, those plugs get filled up pretty quick. My recommendation is to bring at least 2 surge protectors and you'll be able to charge everything comfortably. I had this "flexible" surge protector along with a normal one and they worked out great all year.
  6. Slippers. I never wore slippers before college. They may seem juvenile (or senile- my grandmother has quite the slipper collection), but I wore slippers all the time in my dorm. The floors can be very cold and sometimes dusty and slippers are the perfect way to keep your toes toasty and clean! They're also great for making runs back and forth to the laundry room. Trust me, nobody will judge you. Especially if you pick up a cute pair like these.
  7. Candle (shh, don't tell the RA). Disclaimer: most schools do not allow candles in the dorm rooms as they are a fire hazard. However, I decided bit of a rebel when I found the most deliciously scented coffee candle from Paper Source. Being the coffee lover I am, I couldn't
    pass it up. The candle was a great way to make my room cozier (and isn't that the ultimate challenge when you're living in a  room with linoleum floors??). I didn't always light the candle-- the scent was still pretty fragrant regardless of whether or not it was lit. I also had friends that purchased candle warmers and melts from Yankee Candle and those were amazing too. They basically melt the candle without using an open flame  and while they were still technically against the rules at my school, they were a little less risky. Always be sure to keep it hidden when not in use to avoid fines. 
  8. Jewelry Organization. Many people bring organizers for clothing and shoes to school but people often neglect their jewelry. If you're like me and have lots of long necklaces and earrings, things can get lost and tangled easily unless they're organized. I recommend purchasing an earring "tree" or at least some acrylic organization drawers for your jewelry to keep things neat and easy to find. 
  9. Baking Sheet. Whether you're a Martha Stewart protégé or your cooking skills don't extend far past preparing toast, there will probably be at least one time you want to make chocolate chip
    cookies at school. Most dorms have at least a shared kitchen for the building and if you're lucky you may have one just for your floor. However, what these kitchens often lack is baking tools. You may be able to share with other people, but if you really want to be prepared for whenever that cookie craving hits, I recommend bringing along a baking sheet-- they hardly take up any space and your sweet tooth will thank you.
  10. Childhood or Hometown Memento. The baby picture may have you covered sentimentally, but you never know when you might feel a little nostalgic. I was surprised when I found out that most of my friends had something from home- anywhere from a favorite teddy bear or piece of a baby blanket (#nojudgment) to a sign with their zip code or town name on it (for the less mushy crowd). I love this option from GibbyGifts on Etsy. When you're living far away it can be really nice to have a little reminder of home around. 
That about covers it for my list of things you'll wish you brought to college! Am I missing anything? I guess I'll find out when  I return to school next month to begin my sophomore (eek!) year...

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