You can never start packing for college too early.
Regardless of when you start, you're still going to be buying things last minute. Prior to college, it's good to clean out any items you no longer use. This way, when you come home for the summer, it's easier to make room for your new college items. Surprisingly, you need a lot less than you think at college. The biggest mistake you can make is bringing too much stuff.
Here's a list of the things you absolutely need for the first year of college:
College is a lot more noisy than you think. From living in a dorm to studying in the dining hall, you are constantly surrounded by some type of noise. Earplugs may also be helpful while sleeping.
Everyone needs a good comforter that doesn't slide that much. With your bed up against the wall, it's hard to keep your bedspread in one place.
Two sheet sets are optimal so you can wash one set while the other is on your bed.
Shower shoes are obviously a must in a communal bathroom. With your shower shoes being wet out of the shower, it is very nice to have a bath mat to dry your shoes and feet off.
Having one lamp is helpful when the lights are out while getting ready to go to bed and waking up in the morning so your roommate can rest peacefully.
One set of bed risers is good to raise your bed and put your dresser underneath. It's not necessarily a must. Dressers beside your bed and desk look good too.
When the dining hall isn't open, having a foldable box of snacks is very helpful when studying, breakfast or during finals week.
Instead of sliding toiletries and makeup sitting in a drawer, it's so much easier is you organize with long, plastic trays to go in your desk drawer. This way, you find what you are looking for faster and your stuff isn't making noise sliding in the drawer when opening and closing.
Keep a suitcase at school for weekend trips and an extra book bag for when you move out at the end of the year.
Keep the plastic bins you brought your stuff in, in your room all year under your bed so it is easier to move out at the end of the year.
Having a large husband pillow was helpful to sit up while I was sick to avoid coughing all night long. Limit the number of pillows you bring to four because they do take up space.
With constant walking around campus, carrying binders are too heavy. Notebooks are easier to take lecture and reading notes in. For handouts and loose papers, folders are great.
To wash any dishes you have, one bottle of dish soap is perfect.
Bottle or pods, have one or the other.
Only one box of dryer sheets.
Your desk and other surfaces will get dusty and is good to have a duster and not just wipe surfaces down with a paper towel.
Have antibacterial wipes for sick days, or wiping up spills. I used these a lot if dirt was stuck on the floor.
Irons are a big no. Small dorm room = no storage for iron and ironing board. Have a small, affordable steamer that can be stored easily. I highly recommend the Joy steamer, which heats up within a minute.
Everyone needs a fridge or fridge with a freezer. Personally, I used the freezer way more to heat up meals when I couldn't make it to the dining hall for dinner.
Have one box of plastic silverware with spoons, knives, and forks that can fit in your desk drawer.
Bring a headboard to college so that your pillows won't fall behind your bed. This is one thing I wish I would have brought to college.
Buy a small three gallon trash can to go in your room with trash bags to go in them.
Going to college and having no medicine is the worst. Of course you can always buy some at the on campus market or health center, but it may not be open at the time you need.
A desk hutch is probably one of the most well known must need items on the college packing list. This is so you can put your schoolbooks on, a lamp, makeup, etc..
Having a printer in your room is a very efficient way to print out papers, notes, and homework. This saves you money from printing out pages at the library.
Spending money on a vacuum no one wants to do, but it's worth it. Your room will be really gross especially if you have a rug and you will have to stare at the filth all year. Not to mention that all of that dirt will stick to your feet, socks, and eventually end up on your bed. Not having a rug is the way to go to ensure your floor will be actually clean. Swiffer offers a vacuum and Swiffer in one called a Swiffer Vac and is only $50. It's cordless and lasts a really long time before you charge it. This was one of my favorite items I had in my dorm last year and used it every week.
Prior to college, I bought a small I.D. pouch with a keychain attached to it. This was so helpful because I was able to keep my room and car keys, and university student card together. I found this much easier instead of putting my cards in a pouch on the back of my phone where I would risk laying down my belongings and leaving them somewhere.
Buy a full-length mirror to go on the back of you or your roommate's closet door. It's nice and helpful to see how you look every day, especially when putting on makeup. Bed, Bath, and Beyond is a perfect place to buy this.
A mattress pad made my bed probably more comfortable than my bed at home. If you're a slacker about buying most things for college, this is the item you don't want to miss out on.
If you have bed risers, you definitely want a step stool or ottoman to get on your bed.
This might seem not needed, but you will have to staple papers together to turn into your professor.
Oscillating fan towers are a no go. They do not get cool air all over the room. Get a circular, Honeywell fan that sits on your windowsill. This way, it can tilt up so the cool air can be spread all over the room. And did I mention, it's less than $30? Even if your dorm has air conditioning , get one anyway.
Napkins, cleaning messes, or acting as a plate, you will need these.
You WILL get sick living in a dorm. Trust me, you will want some tissues.
Rain boots are a staple for college girls. Walking in the pouring rain is any college student's nightmare, especially if your classes are 20 minutes from your dorm.
Besides having a foamy mattress pad, you will need a mattress cover to go over the mattress pad. This goes underneath your bottom sheet and adds to the comfort of sleeping.
These are hangers to put your towels on or any other item your heart desires.
Rather than having a shower bucket that could fill up with water, have a shower caddy with holes that you can bring into the shower with you. This way, no water stays in it and doesn't grow mold.
These are very helpful study tools especially during finals week and in case your dorm doesn't have a whiteboard you can study with. Staples has all sizes of whiteboards you can put underneath your bed.
At the beginning of the year, you will want to keep your door open to meet people on your hall and dorm. Also, a door stopper is good when moving into your dorm room.
Have plastic water bottles in case your reusable bottle breaks.
Plastic bags are great for breakfast on the go or anything that needs to be protected from breaking.
You will use a power strip every day to plug things in like your phone and laptop charger, fan or lamp.
You never know when you might need them.
Avoid a trip to the bathroom to wash your hands.
Lastly, remember to only buy what you need. Your dorm room doesn't have to look like it came out of a catalog with a ton of decorations. As long as you have the bare necessities, you will be all good.