I saw on my Instagram this week that some students are already returning to college! The summer seems to get shorter and shorter as time goes by. Thankfully our daughters don’t go back until the last weekend in August.
Now that they’ve both spent some time at college, packing them up to move back into the dorms is fairly easy. But I remember feeling overwhelmed that summer before freshman year when I tried to make a list of all that they needed for this transition.
Today I’m sharing 25 items that our girls have found helpful during their time at college so far. Most of the items on the list we’ve used personally or have purchased something very similar.
This isn’t a complete list of college essentials. I didn’t include some of the basics like towels and sheets and pillows. But for our daughters, the items on this list have helped make their dorm and college life more comfortable!
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1. SafeRest Mattress Protector Twin XL. We’ll start with this cover for that who-knows-how-old dorm mattress your teenager will be sleeping on. I have this same brand of mattress protector on all our beds at home.
2. 2-inch Mattress Topper. There’s a wide range of prices for mattress toppers, but this one is very reasonably priced. It makes those dorm bed mattresses at least a bit more comfortable and should last for several years.
3. GE 3 Outlet Extender Wall Tap. This is nice to use in an outlet near their bed so they can plug in a few different electronics at once.
4. Chunky Knit Throw. I didn’t know this was a thing until our younger daughter asked for one last Christmas. It’s become her favorite blanket. Hers is white, but there are a number of other colors available.
5. Sperry Women’s Saltwater Chevron Quilt Nylon Boots. This was another purchase our younger daughter made. They’re really cute boots and definitely came in handy on those rainy days when she had to walk across campus to class. She has them in ivory, but there are a few other colors available.
6. Iron Flask Retro Sports Water Bottle. I gave our girls three pieces of health advice before they went off to college. “Eat. Drink. Move.” This water bottle helps with the drinking part! This is the one our older daughter uses. She fills it up in the morning and carries it around in her backpack all day. We also like that it came with its own brush for cleaning.
7. Secura Instant Steam Handheld Garment and Fabric Steamer. I knew neither of my girls would iron, but they’ll use this steamer if a piece of clothing is too wrinkled to wear after it’s been jammed in the closet or drawer…or left to sit in the dryer for too long…
8. Small Travel Sewing Kit. Both girls have needed a simple sewing kit from time to time.
9. Photo Clip String Light. I helped our younger daughter hang this on her wall at the beginning of her first semester. It’s really cute!
10. SanDisk 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive. You just never know when this might come in handy.
11. Five Crowns Card Game. This is one of our favorite games, but it’s really just an example of the types of games they’ll want to have on hand to play with friends.
12. Gold Armour Camping Hammock. Not surprisingly, I didn’t know hammocking was a thing either until our older daughter went to college. They take their hammocks to a couple of different parks on nice days to study or just relax.
13. Under Armour Hustle Sport Backpack. My older daughter bought this backpack the summer before her freshman year of college. She’s now getting ready to start her senior year, and that same backpack is still going strong! I’m very impressed with the quality, especially since it gets almost daily use when she’s at college.
14. DASH Mini Waffle Maker. This cute little waffle iron kept my younger daughter from going hungry on several occasions last year! Are there two dining halls on campus full of food available to her? Yes, yes there are. But she’s a self-admitted picky eater AND those dining halls aren’t always open at 11pm when hunger strikes. She brought it home for the summer and we’ve used it a couple of times. I must admit, it does make some tasty waffles.
15. Clip Light for Bed. This is nice for studying late at night without disturbing roommates.
16. Classic 6-inch Clip Fan. My girls like it cold when they sleep, so this fan is nice just to keep the air moving around them.
17. Johnson and Johnson Compact Emergency First Aid Kit. Hopefully, they won’t need this often, but it’s great to have on hand.
18. Windproof Travel Umbrella. Keep it small and compact so it fits easily in a backpack.
19. Reusable 12-piece Dinner Set. Four bowls, plates, and cups that are microwave safe, for that late-night bowl of cereal or stack of mini waffles.
20. Heavy Duty Large Mesh Laundry Bag. Something like this is easy to leave on the floor of the closet until it’s full…or overflowing, actually.
21. Under Bed Shoe Storage Organizer. If I had seen this before our girls went to college, I would have added it to our shopping list. Instead, they just had an under-bed plastic storage bin that they tossed shoes into. This would have been a much more organized solution!
22. Plastic Shower Caddy. Depending on the shower set up, they can use the caddy to carry their products to and from the bathroom or just store it in or near the shower. It is important that it’s either mesh or has holes in the bottom for drainage.
23. Small Plastic Trash Can. This can be used in a corner of the dorm room, under a desk, or somewhere in the bathroom.
25. Succulents in Pots, Set of 3. Okay, so these aren’t essential, but they do make the room feel a little more homelike! My girls have a mix of real and artificial plants in their dorm rooms.
I hope you’ll find these suggestions helpful as you send your freshman girl off to college!
- 9 Short, Simple Pieces of Advice for My College Freshman
- 10 Important Prayers to Pray for My College-Bound Daughter
- 5 Thoughts to Encourage the Mom Who’s Sending a Child Off to College