8/10/12

what to bring to college:

precisely a year ago, i was counting down the days before i headed off to college. the whole idea of college was so overwhelming -- living alone for the first time, in a new city, with so many new people and classes and precious moments of life just waiting to be experienced.

i spent hours scouring the internet for lists of things to bring to college. and you have the internet, too, so you can do that on your own. some colleges even provide their own suggestions, with all the basic things, but i thought i would compile my own list of things i brought -- and more importantly, things i didn't realize until later that i needed. 





  1. mini stapler (super handy because you can bring it everywhere and all the cool kids will ask to borrow it)
  2. mini colored pencils/colorful pens (so you can take exciting notes! i got my little set of colored pencils at the gift shop of an art museum and it's the perfect size to fit in my pencil case.)
  3. printer paper/notepad (everyone takes notes differently, but i take a sheet of printer paper and lay it on top of a legal pad so i can still see through the paper to the lines so they can guide me so i don’t write all lopsided but i still have the flexibility of line-less paper. you might prefer spiral notebooks or some other way of taking notes, so it's up to you!)
  4. binders and dividers
  5. a laptop & case
  6. big tote bag (big enough for your computer + other necessities, and also make sure the straps are long enough to fit around your shoulder when you’re wearing a big winter coat because that can get awk) (or a backpack if that’s how you roll -- if i have to carry lots of books i use my backpack)
  7. hole puncher
  8. sharpies (also good for labeling your food if you have a communal fridge)
  9. envelopes and stamps
  10. reinforcers (those little white donut-shaped stickers you can put in the holes in paper in case they rip out of your binder) (can also be used as tape at the end of the semester when you are too lazy to buy actual tape) (classynottrashy)

  1. fan (especially if your dorm does not have air conditioning!)
  2. surge protector/extension cord (especially if you are like me and you rearrange all your furniture so the outlets are all in awkward places and you don’t want to crawl under your bed/desk/behind your dresser to plug things in)
  3. hamper and laundry detergent
  4. flashlight
  5. big plastic bins and other containers (they make moving in and out way way easier!! and you can store things under your bed)
  6. pictures and things from home
  7. lamps
  8. basic medicines (advil, sudafed, pepto bismol, whatever) + band-aids
  9. shower shoes (plastic flip flops from old navy are nice)
  10. bathrobe (to go from your room to the bathroom, or you can just wrap yourself in a towel)
  11. shower caddy (plastic thing to hold all your shampoo and stuff — make sure it has holes in the bottom so it will drain)
  12. sheets (twin extra-long for most colleges) and mattress pad
  13. utility-ish things like extra light bulbs and batteries
  14. command hooks (i have one by my door where i hang my keys, and others next to my mirror for necklaces)
  15. velcro or double sided tape or sticky tack
  16. hangers
  17. calendar/dry erase board/bulletin board


  1. clothespins or binder clips (to hold bags of noms closed)
  2. cups/plates/mugs/silverware/napkins
  3. ziploc bags
  4. water filter
  5. basic foods (stuff like oil and salt and butter that you always assume you have in your house at home but then you realize you actually need to buy them)
  6. basic cooking things (pots and pans, measuring cups, can opener, spatula, etc.)


  1. wristlet (vera bradley has some nice ones, they are very very convenient because a lot of times you will just need to have your keys and phone and wallet together)
  2. a good umbrella and/or raincoat
  3. earmuffs and scarves and gloves etc etc (if you are going to school in the tundra like i do)
  4. this isn’t really a thing to buy but if you have subscriptions to magazines (j.crew and anthropologie catalogs whatup) make sure to change the address to your address at school
  5. if you will be at school in a big city with public transportation, get a charliecard/smarttrip card/whatever they call them in your city because a lot of times they are cheaper than individual tickets.

this list depends a lot on your school -- for example, my dorm lets us check out vacuum cleaners but you might need to buy your own -- so see if your school has a list of things you should buy. and if you don’t want to bring everything at once or if you forget something you can always go to target after school starts! don't stress out too much about any of it -- you'll figure everything out. :) 


good luck to all my '16s! 

<3 maria

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