15 Unexpected Things To Bring To College You’ll Actually Need

Packing for college is harder than it seems, so here are 15 unexpected things to bring to college I wish I had known about when I moved in.

unexpected things to bring to college

Moving into college is a BIG deal. When I first moved-in, I had no idea what to bring and I was afraid I would miss something important all the time.

If you’re moving into college soon, you know what I’m talking about. You might be so busy thinking about your classes and this important chapter in your life, that you end up forgetting some things.

Now that I’ve graduated, I know there are so many unexpected things to bring to college that will change your life, and I’m sharing them with you in this post!

Here’s the list of 15 unexpected things to bring to college you’ll actually need.

15 Unexpected Things To Bring To College

1. Bedside Tray

Fun things to bring to college

Most dorms have lofted which makes it impossible to use a nightstand. If that’s the case for you, you’ll need a place to put your phone, glasses, books, etc.

This is where a bedside tray comes in handy. It is basically a small tray you can hook over the side of your bed frame so you can keep your stuff near you without having to get out of bed for it.

2. Mini Steamer

Things every girl needs for college

Keep in mind that college dorm rooms are super small, so bringing your own ironing board isn’t a good idea. Instead, use a mini steamer!

Mini steamers work exactly as well and they don’t even take up half the space of an iron. Plus, they are much more practical and quick.

3. Shower Caddy

Things to buy for college freshmen

A shower caddy is a MUST for every college student that lives on campus. Dorm rooms don’t have their own bathrooms which means you’ll have to walk to the bathroom and take all your stuff with you.

This shower caddy from Amazon is super practical because it has different storage compartments to organize all your bath items. and it can also be hung.

4. Hanging Storage Organizer

Things every college student needs

When I moved into college one of the things that drove me crazy was the size of my closet (it honestly was super small). I knew I wouldn’t have enough space for all my clothes and shoes so I started searching for the easiest and cheapest solution: a hanging storage organizer!

Not only I was able to fit all my clothes, but also organize them by seasons and colors thanks to the different compartments it has.

5. A Mirror

What not to bring to college

A mirror is one of those things every girl needs for college. I can assure you most college dorms are completely blank when you move in, so you’ll need to bring your own mirror.

This lighted mirror from Amazon is great to do your makeup because it’s portable and has a touch screen!

6. Bedrest Pillow

What to bring to college for guys

A bedrest pillow will come in handy when you just want to sit on your bed or work on your laptop.

It’s also good for when a friend comes over because you can lean it on the wall and create a seat.

7. Small Electric Heater

college essentials for class

If I could only get one thing from this list it would definitely be a heater. Trust me when I say dorms are so COLD that sometimes blankets aren’t enough. Plus, it’s really inconvenient to move around your dorm with a blanket on all the time.

When we moved in, both my sister and I got a small electric heater for the cold days and it literally changed our lives. It’s super practical and portable, and it fits everywhere. I even still use it at home!

8. Space Saving Hangers

college wish list

Like I said before, closets in dorm rooms are the smallest thing ever. These magic hangers from Amazon are also a great idea to save space because you can hang up to five pieces of clothing on one hanger.

9. A Power Strip

Unexpected things to bring to college

Most dorm rooms have a maximum of two wall plugs, three if you’re lucky. Let’s say you need to charge your laptop and phone, and you also need to plug in a lamp and a hairdryer… two is just not gonna be enough.

Power strips are super cheap and will make your life so much easier. This one from Amazon even has a retractable cord, so you won’t see any cords tangling around whenever you’re not using it.

10. Laundry Hamper

Fun things to bring to college

A laundry hamper is also a pretty common item people tend to forget. When I moved into my dorm room I forgot to bring one and had to use a plastic bag instead to put all my dirty clothes.

Don’t be like me and get a laundry hamper right now!

11. First Aid Kit

Things every girl needs for college

Just like you need to have a first aid kit at home, you also need one in college. Luckily you won’t have to use any of this, but it’s better to be covered just in case!

12. Tool Kit

Things to buy for college freshmen

A tool kit will be necessary especially when you move into your dorm for building furniture, but it’s also great to keep around in case you and your roommate need to fix something. You don’t need to get too fancy, just the basic tools!

13. Umbrella

Things every college student needs

This is such a basic item everyone tends to forget. I even forgot it myself when I moved to college, so the day the rain surprised me after class I had to run back home just to end up completely wet.

Please be smarter than me and get an umbrella!

14. Ear Plugs

What not to bring to college

I always wonder how something so small can completely change your life. If you’re lucky enough, you won’t have to deal with any noises. But most of the time neighbors (and some roommates) tend to be super noisy.

Ear plugs are the cheapest thing and will make sure you rest at night. They were such unexpected things to bring to college for me, but after a few nights they became my new best friends!

15. Pepper Spray

What to bring to college for guys

This is definitely one of the most unexpected things to bring to college.

Walking back home at night can be scary if you’re all by yourself. I know, sad but true. Even if you never have to use it (I hope so) bringing a spray pepper with you will make you feel safer.


This post was all about unexpected things to bring to college!

Things every college student needs

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This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you purchase through them (at no extra cost for you). I only recommend products and services that I have personally used and love. You can read about my disclosure here.

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