Home / Blog / College Life / 10 Unexpected Things You Should Bring to College

10 Unexpected Things You Should Bring to College

A table filled with laptops and electronics.

One thing about college is that you never know what to expect. That’s why you should try and be prepared for whatever life will throw at you. 

When you’re packing for college, you obviously need to bring all your essentials. But what about those small items that make your life easier, the things you forget to think about? These college necessities might be easy to forget, but they are sure to make a difference!

At Collegeboxes, we are masters at getting students moved into their dorms. Along the way, we also learned firsthand about what students wish they brought to school. Luckily, whether you’re a freshman about to move in, or a senior getting ready to graduate, all of these items are easily accessible, affordable, and sure to make your life a little easier.

Got room in your suitcase for a few more items? Here is a list of things you probably didn’t think to pack, but you’ll never want to live without.

1. Water Filter

Silver faucet with a small droplet of water leaking.

When you’re living in the dorms, you’re probably working with a mini fridge at most. Getting a water filter is a great way to have a convenient source of water while also saving space. The great thing about these filters is that you can fill them from the tap, and you’ll be left with fresh tasting water every time!

If you are looking for some specific recommendations for a water filter, we have a great article you can check out here.

2. Mini Vacuum

Like we’ve mentioned before, dorms might be too tight of a squeeze for a full-sized vacuum. But you are going to need a way to get the crumbs and dust off of your desk, bed, and floor.  

Mini vacuums are affordable, easy to use, and a great way to keep your dorm tidy. If you aren’t looking for anything too fancy, you should be able to get a decent one for around 20 dollars.

3. Bedside Storage

Most dorms won’t have room for an end table, especially if you have a loft bed. A bedside tray or caddy might sound like an unnecessary item, but it’s actually a true dorm room essential.

When you wake up in the middle of the night with a dry mouth and in need of water, or if you like to work and study from your bed. Being able to keep things close by without having to shamble down a ladder every time will be incredibly convenient.

There are a few types of bedside storage to try, if you’re looking to hold more things near your bed, a caddy might be a good option for you. If you just want to have a convenient place to set down a cup of coffee or your phone, a beside shelf could be a better option.

4. Mini Garment Steamer

Irons are a fire hazard, and a lot of college students don’t have the room to set up a full ironing board in their dorm. A handheld steamer is a great way to remove wrinkles from your clothes in a pinch. This is perfect for dates, job interviews, or when you have a presentation in front of the class!

You can fetch a pretty standard steamer for around 20 dollars, so you won’t have to splurge. You can check out one of Amazon’s bestselling steamers here.

5. Portable Charger

You will quickly learn just how hard it can be to find an open outlet in a communal space. Libraries, cafes, and other public areas with Wi-Fi are popular hangouts for students, so naturally their electrical outlets get taken up quickly. Being able to charge your items no matter where you are is a lifesaver, especially when you’re out and about. 

With a price point of around 25 dollars, a portable charger is a great investment. This is probably the item you’ll get the most use out of, especially if you’re the type that forgets to charge your phone at night! 

A desk holding a MacBook, a portable charger, and a phone.

6. Ear Plugs

The hard thing about living in the dorms is that you are sharing a floor with dozens of people. That means that not everyone will be waking up or going to bed at the same time as you. Your roommate might talk or snore too loudly. Whatever the reason may be, ear plugs will be your unexpected best friend.

The best part about ear plugs is that they are cheap and come in packs with multiple buds. For under five dollars a pack, it’ll be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

7. Party Clothes

There is one thing you need to know about college: most parties will have a theme. If you don’t want to look lame, you’re going to have to lean into it. To protect yourself from the stress of throwing together an outfit an hour before a party, try to have a couple outfits for popular party themes.

You can safely assume that there will be tropical themed parties, Halloween parties, and ugly sweater parties at some point during the year. When you’re deciding what clothes to bring to school, don’t be embarrassed to throw in an old Halloween costume.

Also figure out where the nearest thrift store is near your campus, for those that need to get creative on a budget! If you aren’t the dress-up type, pack a few nice outfits that make you feel confident walking into any party.

8. Electric Kettle

A black kettle sitting on a wooden table.

You don’t need to be a tea drinker to reap the benefits of an electric kettle. Having a quick and easy source for hot water can come in clutch for cups of ramen, coffee, or even a warm compress. Instead of having to run down to the nearest dining hall, you’ll have hot water in just a few minutes.

Electric kettles are affordable, convenient, and come with safety features that prevent it from boiling too long. Just remember to clean it out with a vinegar water mixture every once in a while. This will keep your kettle sparkling clean every time!

9. Keyring Bracelet

When you’re a college student, it can be easy to lose track of certain things. We have all been guilty of misplacing our keys sometimes. But when it comes to sensitive items like credit cards, student IDs or room keys, it’s a huge inconvenience to lose them. You should always know where these are; they should practically be glued to you!

If you aren’t the type to carry a bag with you, a keyring bracelet is a great alternative. They are affordable and come in so many different colors. If you aren’t into bracelets, a lanyard or a card holder that sticks onto the back of your phone will work just as well.

10. First Aid Kit / Tool Kit

Moving to college, it’s important to be prepared for anything. That’s why you should keep a first aid kit nearby in case of any emergencies. You can also stock it with supplies that will save you from an impromptu trip to the pharmacy. Stocking up on things like ibuprofen, electrolyte packs, and bandages is sure to come in handy.

A toolkit is also especially helpful during move-in. No matter if you live in the dorms or an off-campus apartment, toolkits can help you make alterations to your living space. You might not need to repair much in your dorm room, but tool kits are also great to have for quick fixes around an apartment as well.

In all the hubbub of moving, it’s almost expected that you’ll leave something behind. But when you’re finally starting to pack for school, remember to bring some of these items along! Being prepared can make your entire move-in experience easier.

When it comes to moving, you already have enough on your plate. Let Collegeboxes do the heavy lifting instead! With our ship to school program, your belongings will be safely shipped, stored, and delivered right to campus on move-in day. You can ship when you want, store what you want, and rest easy knowing your stuff in in good hands.

We also offer direct delivery services, allowing you to have anything you forget shipped directly to your mailroom. So, no matter where you need to go, Collegeboxes is here to make it happen!