The Ultimate College Packing List for 2023

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Student Lifehacks
The Ultimate College Packing List

Embarking on your college journey is an exciting yet overwhelming experience. With so much to plan and prepare for, creating a comprehensive college packing list is crucial to ensure everything goes well. In this post, we’ll guide you through the process and provide you with the ultimate college packing list for 2023. Tune in!

How to Pack for College

When you’re packing for college, it’s essential to keep in mind the limited space in your dorm room or apartment. You’re unlikely to have a huge dorm space all for yourself. Instead, you’ll be sharing a room with someone else. So focus on packing only the essentials, and remember that you can always purchase additional items later. There’s no need to relocate your entire room with every item you’re used to, as you won’t need most of them and will be getting new things. And they need space, too.

Pro Tip: Create a packing plan several weeks before your move-in date and gradually pack your belongings. It will help you avoid last-minute stress and give you plenty of time to assess what you truly need and what’s optional.

What Should I Use to Pack My Stuff for College?

Invest in sturdy and space-efficient packing materials such as plastic bins or vacuum storage bags. They will help protect your stuff and make the unpacking process easier. If you don’t have those, simply use cardboard boxes (You can ask for a few spare ones in the nearest store). 
Pro Tip: Label all your containers and boxes. Period. Labeling the boxes with their contents and intended locations will ensure their safe and streamlined move to your dorm. Besides, it will save time when unpacking and help you quickly locate specific items. Even better if you write your contacts on the boxes, too. Just in case.

What Your College Allows and Prohibits

Before you start packing, make sure you’ve researched your college’s policies on prohibited items, and don’t pack anything that’s not allowed. Commonly prohibited items include candles, extension cords, and certain appliances. Each college dorm will have its own rules, so it makes sense to learn this information in advance. You can ask around senior students or alumni in Facebook groups for tips.

Pro Tip: Contact your college’s housing department or check their website for a list of prohibited items. Keep this list handy when packing to avoid any issues during move-in. 

The Ultimate College School Supplies List 2023

First of all, you need to pack the essentials for your studies. Here’s a comprehensive college school supplies list for 2023 to get you started:

  1. Laptop or tablet
  2. Printer (if you have and need one)
  3. USB flash drive
  4. Desk supplies (pens, pencils, highlighters, etc.)
  5. Notebooks and binders
  6. Planner or calendar
  7. Textbooks and course materials
  8. Backpack or laptop bag

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to pack a surge protector to protect your electronics. Many colleges prohibit extension cords but allow surge protectors.

College Packing List for Girls

Girls usually have more things to pack than guys, so here’s a college packing list for girls, including personal items and clothing:

  1. Clothing and accessories
  2. Undergarments and sleepwear
  3. Makeup and personal care items
  4. Hair care tools
  5. Shower shoes and bathrobe/swimming suit
  6. Workout clothes
  7. Feminine hygiene products
  8. Laundry bag or hamper

Pro Tip: Use vacuum storage bags to save space when packing bulky clothing items like jackets and sweaters. 

College Packing List for Guys

And here’s a college packing list for guys. It’s a bit shorter but contains the essentials:

  1. Clothing and accessories
  2. Undergarments and sleepwear
  3. Grooming and personal care items
  4. Shaving supplies
  5. Shower shoes and bathrobe/swimming suit
  6. Workout clothes
  7. Laundry bag or hamper

Pro Tip: Invest in a durable laundry bag or hamper with handles to get your laundry easily to and from the laundry room.

Freshman College Supply List

If you’re a freshman, you’ll need some additional items to help you settle into your new environment. As a matter of fact, you may need quite a number of things. Here’s a freshman college supply list to guide you:

  • Bedding (sheets, comforter, pillows, etc.)
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Shower caddy and toiletries
  • Laundry detergent and dryer sheets
  • First-aid kit
  • Kitchen essentials (plates, utensils, microwave-safe containers, etc.)
  • Storage solutions (over-the-door hooks, under-bed storage, etc.)

Pro Tip: Coordinate with your roommates to avoid bringing duplicate items, such as small appliances or cleaning supplies. You can decide who gets what and share.


We hope this post will be useful to those who’ll be starting or getting back to school this fall. With this college packing guide, you’ll be well-prepared for your college journey. Remember to pack only the essentials, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your college’s housing department for additional guidance and to your roommates for cooperation. Happy packing, and here’s to a successful 2023 academic year!

Bonus Resource: For a printable version of this guide, download our college packing list pdf. We’re positive it’ll help you stay organized and on track.

Dina McCartney