A realistic guide to packing for college

Packing for college can be just as terrifying as it is exciting. You’re moving away from home for the first time and want to make sure you have everything you need for a perfect semester. When I first went to college I found some obscenely large packing list off Pinterest and didn’t even need half of the things I packed. Dorm life is a little hectic when it comes to finding space to accommodate both you and your roommates things. As someone who has “been there done that,” I’m here to help! Here’s a more practical list of all the necessities!


  • Your favorite t-shirts! Leave room for all the new awesome college gear you will accumulate, especially if you live near a Barefoot or plan on going greek!
  • Athletic shorts
  • Leggings
  • Sneakers
  • Workout attire
  • Comfy sandals
  • A handful of cuter “going out” outfits
  • Socks & undergarments
  • Clothes hamper
  • Landry detergent ( I found using TidePods was more convenient, because I didn’t have to tote a detergent bottle with me to do laundry)
  • Dryer sheets
  • **Pro tip: pack per season! If it’s super hot outside, it’s a safe bet that you won’t be needing your big fleece jacket. Once the weather starts changing, make a trip home to swamp out some clothes.


  • Towels
  • Robe or wrap
  • FLIP FLOPS (If your dorms have communal bathrooms, even if yours are private – go ahead and bleach them down first!)
  • Shower caddy (If communal)
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash
  • Feminine products
  • Makeup
  • Your essential beauty products
  • Toliet paper
  • Cleaning supplies (Bleach, Clorox wipes, toilet brush, multi-purpose cleaner)


This step might require a little more preparation. You may need to call the housing department to see if there are any restrictions on what you can bring, if there is a microwave and mini-fridge, and if there is a kitchen located anywhere in the dorm.

  • Paper towels
  • Dish towels
  • Eating utensils
  • Microwavable safe bowls & plates
  • Gladware containers
  • Microwave (if your college does not provide them)
  • Mini-fridge (if your college does not provide them)
  • Plastic drawers (if you have the room, these are helpful to store food in)

School Supplies

  • Backpack
  • Pens, and pencils
  • Laptop (This is not a necessity if your college’s library has public computers. However, it is more practical and helpful to have one in case the library computers are not accessible.)
  • Printer  (same goes for printers)
  • Planner
  • Wait until syllabus week to worry about getting any other supplies and books you might need

Click HERE to check out our “Dorm Room Essentials” blog to see how to make your dorm feel more like home! 

Shop our inventory at Barefoot Campus Outfitter for all of our campus t-shirts, college wear, and collegiate attire! Happy Packing!

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