The New Freshman 15: Your College Packing Checklist

Everyone who has ever stepped foot on a college campus has been warned about the dreaded “Freshman 15.” In an effort to save its bad reputation, we’re giving it a new meaning. Here are 15 prerequisites for freshmen to create your college packing checklist:

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1. Storage Cubes

Storage cubes are great for organizing your stuff in a jiffy. Look for cubes that stack so you can maximize your space. And if you can add a drawer insert, that’s a bonus. Keep in mind your room colors and buy your cubes accordingly.

2. To-Do List

Oh, the freedom of being on your own. But don’t forget about your new friend “responsibility.” Buy a white board or some large, erasable wall planner to help you get acclimated to your hectic class routine, while still finding time to maintain an active social calendar.

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3. Desk Organizers

My notes are here… somewhere. Keep everything on top of your desk neatly in place with a paper storage box or desktop file.

4. Shower Caddy

Your living situation will help you determine what style of shower caddy you’ll need. For community showers, you’ll need a caddy you can take back-and-forth. Make sure it holds all your necessary shower items. If you’re sharing a shower with suite mates, then you can use a caddy that stays in the bathroom. Look for one that either hangs from the showerhead or suctions to the wall.

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The Rowan Valley Quince Futon is available now. Shop the look at

5. Futon

No dorm room would be complete without a futon. It’s the place to hang out and also host friends who crash in your room. Find the one that suits your personality and space, and then sit back and relax.

6. Caffeine

If you’re a coffee drinker, pack your coffee maker or other caffeine-inducing contraption so you can hit your first class all bright eyed and bushy tailed!

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7. Storage Ottoman

Another space-saving solution is a small ottoman with storage. It’s a seat! A tray. A footrest.

8. Mattress Protector

Since college students come in all shapes and sizes, most schools equip their dorms with extra long mattresses. And we’ve got you covered with mattresses protectors that guard against stains and whatever else the previous occupant may have left behind.

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9. Shelves

Bookcases are great for shelving your required readings, but they’re also a fantastic way to arrange your “pantry.” There will be times when you want a quick snack, the cafeteria isn’t open, and you have exactly 25 cents to your name. Stock up on a few basics like cereal, peanut butter, and the requisite Ramen Noodles for when the late-night cravings come calling.

10. USB Drive or Cloud Storage

Have a back-up plan. This is an especially good idea when it comes to your computer. A travel USB Drive is a great way to ensure all your hard work doesn’t get lost in an instant. It’s a good idea to have a couple drives handy. One for weekly back ups and another for more frequent use.

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11. Rug

Two words: tile floors. Waking up for that 8 a.m. class is difficult enough, but if your feet have to hit the cold floor, it will be even more uncomfortable. Be sure to bring a rug to make your dorm room warmer and feel more like home. It’s smart to choose a bright color or fun pattern, so you don’t have to worry about friends spilling.

12. First Aid Kit

Unless you’re rooming with a future doctor, it’s probably a good idea to have a small first aid kit readily available in your room. Stock it with pain relievers, scissors, burn relief cream, thermometer, anti-diarrheal tablets, flashlight, latex gloves, sterile dressings, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, and an assortment of Band-Aids.

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13. Lamp

The overhead lighting in a dorm room will provide enough illumination to navigate the room, but when it comes to studying you’ll want to get task lights. A desk lamp will make studying or laptop work easier, reducing eyestrain. And if you read in bed, bring a floor lamp you can position next to your bed.

14. Cleaning Supplies

Since mom won’t be making the trip to college with you, make sure you bring along some cleaning supplies to take care of the mess in the microwave or wipes to sanitize every possible surface the first time you or your roommate gets a nasty cold.

15. Chargers and Extension Cords

Make sure you have more than one charger for your electronics. You can use cords or a docking station. Just make sure you’ve got enough places to charge all of your items.


Grab your Freshman 15 and you’ll be ready for school!

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