A Real Life Packing List for Freshman Year

Photo by Bino Storyteller via Unsplash.

Ah, freshman year. The smell of new books that cost a mere $500 to purchase. The feeling of freedom from the parents. And the anxiety of packing. Don’t worry! By your second semester in university, you’ll be an old pro at the packing list. Until then, here are our suggestions for ten items you might forget on your packing list for freshman year.

Coffee maker

Even if you don’t drink coffee now, you’ll need it when midnight comes and you remember your 5-page paper on the disappearing bee population is due at 8 a.m. A one-cup Keurig is perfect for your room. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and they make K-cups for everything from cappuccino to lemonade.

2 sets of sheets

You can start with the best of intentions, but at some point you’re going to fall behind on laundry or spill something on your sheets right before bedtime. You’ll thank yourself when you can pull out a fresh set of sheets and avoid a surprisingly uncomfortable night of sleep.

Mattress protector

A pre-owned mattress is nobody’s best friend. They’re thin, usually made of an unidentifiable material, and they’ve been slept on by countless people. Do yourself multiple favors by investing in a quality mattress protector. Pro tip: pair the protector with a memory foam mattress topper – you’ll sleep like a little angel baby.

Cold medicine

You can wash your hands 30 times a day, but at some point you ARE going to get sick. It’s basically unavoidable when you live in a building completely inhabited by 18- or 19-year-olds. So one day when you wake up feeling like you got hit by truck and you can’t breathe through your nose, you’ll be thankful you planned ahead.


There’s a law that holds true in all student housing: Any time you really need a good night’s sleep, your neighbor will make as much noise as they possibly can. Stock up on earplugs and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.


Most days you’ll be able to get away with wrinkled clothes; but once in a while you’re going to have to look like you didn’t just roll out of bed and grab the first shirt you could reach. On those days, you’ll need a steamer. It’s easier to use and way more compact than an iron and ironing board.

Power strip/extension cords

Student housing outlets are few and far between and they’re never actually where you need them to be. Almost everything you own requires some form of electricity. Avoid the migraine and invest in a power strip and a few quality extension cords.

Adhesive hooks/strips

Your room is a blank canvas. You can decorate it the way you’ve always wanted to and your parents can’t say anything. You can’t paint or put holes in the walls, but you can buy adhesive hooks/strips so you’ll be able to hang posters, lights, and that awesome tapestry you found at the tea lounge down the street.


The lighting in your room is most likely going to be fluorescent. It’s super inexpensive, but it doesn’t do anyone any favors. A floor lamp with a standard bulb should give plenty of light for your room and a desk lamp will prevent you from straining your eyes during those late nights.


You’re going to get homesick at some point (or multiple points). It happens to everyone and it’s ok. Bringing a few meaningful items from home will help you get through those lonely nights when you’re missing mom and dad.

Photo by Bino Storyteller via Unsplash.

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