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What You REALLY Need for College


*There are referral links present in this post. All opinions within this post are 100% honest – I only recommend products that I personally use and love!

We've all seen them. The "Ultimate College Checklist" is probably the first thing every high school graduate refers to when it comes to shopping for their new college life. And I speak from experience! I referred to college dorm checklists wayyyy back when I was still in high school (except, I went to a boarding school and lived in a dorm, so I have an excuse).

And with college dorm move-in day just a short month away, retailers are gearing up. Just this past week, my family got Target's College 2015 mailer. As much as I love Target (like, loooove Target!), I can't help but get slightly annoyed at their suggested "College Checklist". 

I mean, listen to this:

  • futon
  • decorative lights
  • futon cover
  • dry-erase board
  • lounge chair
  • corkboard
  • area rug
  • bookcase
  • decorative pillow
  • wall shelves
  • back rest pillow
  • nightstand
  • wall clock
  • dresser
  • wall art
  • accent table
  • picture frames
  • ottoman
  • door mirror
  • desk
  • floor lamp
  • desk chair
  • tv stand
  • desk lamp

And that was just the Furniture section. To those of you headed off to college this fall: you really don't need all of this. I don't even think it'll fit into your small room anyways! Plus, you don't want to have to pack up all that stuff at the end of the year. Trust me. Things accumulate faster than you think.



Unless your room doesn't have a desk or bed (it probably will though) don't bring any recliners, sofas, coffee tables, or ottomans, even the ones that store stuff. A small futon is fine if you're ok with having people in your room all the time. Other than that, they just take up space, and you do not want to be a real estate hog.

Kitchen Appliances

Other than a fridge, microwave, and coffee maker. If you feel like baking cookies or something, most dorms have cooking facilities with pans and things that you can use. Save those other kitchen gadgets for any future off-campus living days.

A Printer

I started my freshman year with a printer in my room, fully stocked with ink and paper. Then, I hardly used it because there are free computer labs everywhere! Honestly, a personal printer isn't really all that practical (Hint: you won't be doing THAT many paper essays). A printer not only takes up space, but it can also lead to unnecessary spending on ink and paper.

A Computer Lock

You're most likely going to be carrying your laptop with you everywhere anyways.

A Wall Clock, or Alarm Clock

Simply use the clock app on your smartphone. I recommend Sleep Cycle, since it helps you wake up in your lightest sleep phase, so you're less groggy! Plus, it tracks the quality of your sleep.


College students, THIS is what you really need for college.

An Amazon Student subscription

Students get unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping(with no minimum order size), plus exclusive deals and promotions for 6 months!

A mini steamer

Often overlooked, this little beauty will take wrinkles out of clothes in less than 5 minutes and it’s easier to use than an iron. Just fill with tap water, plug it in, and go!

Extra pillowcases

While I do agree with having at least two sets of sheets, I also recommend that you bring along a few extra pillowcases. Pillowcases trap the oils from your face and hair, so try changing it every week. By having extra, you can switch them out and toss the old one into the dirty clothes hamper.

Throw blanket

Perfect for those late (or early) study sessions in the heart of winter, or for sitting out on the front lawn, a blanket is a must! I'm loving this striped one right now!

An umbrella / raincoat

I love this cute umbrella from Bando! Or you could go classic with a wooden handle. But you can also opt for this compact umbrella–it comes in a bunch of color options.

Costumes (or at least ideas of things to wear to make your own costume)

Colleges love having themed events! You will be invited to parties of every theme you can imagine — '70s, '80s, Western, Hawaiian, and many times there are costume contests where you can win prizes. Be prepared!

Easy extra shelves

There's a good chance your closet is going to be small. Velcro a neat organizer to any metal poll, and you'll have the perfect place to store all your sweaters and tees.

An essentials pouch

What I mean by this is that you have a small pencil / cosmetic size pouch that you fill with things such as: bandages, hair ties, chapstick, pads/tampons, pen/pencil, eye drops, safety pins, etc. Having it in a pouch makes it so easy to switch the bag between your backpack and purse while keeping everything organized and neat.


So, so useful.

Air freshener spray

Must I say more?

Hand sanitizer

Keep yourself healthy when the seasons change and the flu starts going around! Get a pack of mini hand sanitizers and keep one in your backpack, purse, and dorm room.

A reusable water bottle

Many college campuses have water bottle filling stations, making it super easy to refill your favorite water bottle. I have the bkr bottle and I love it! It’s made of glass and comes with a silicone sleeve in the color you choose.

A study playlist

Music makes the long hours of studying go by so much faster. I created a Hit the Books playlist on Spotify that includes music from John Mayer, Of Monsters and Men, and Imagine Dragons. Currently it’s 5 hours and 6 minutes long, and I keep on adding to it! Enjoy! (Feel free to check out my other playlists as well)

I hope this helps those of you headed off to college this fall! :)

P.S. Don't forget to check out these 10+ Must Have Apps for College Students!