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8 Items Our Summer Intern Thinks You Need on Your College Packing List

How do you pack for your first adulting experience? Take some tips from our ultimate college packing list that makes dorm life slightly more manageable.

5 min read

Our summer intern, Claire Fitzpatrick, knows firsthand what it’s like to move out of her parent’s home and into a college dorm. She shares her thoughts on the essential items that should be on people’s college packing list to make life easier.

Living on your own for the first time initially sounds like a fantasy until you face the harsh reality of an empty kitchen cabinet. Regardless of the size of your meal plan at college or the amount of time you plan on spending in your dorm, you will need a few staples. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite items to pack for college – they’re the easily forgotten but key items to have on your first adult-ish journey.

3-Piece Reusable Lid Set

Silicone Lids Silicone Lids
Silicone Lids

For most college students it’s difficult to find matching socks let alone bowls with matching lids. Luckily, OXO has solved that problem for us with suction seal lids. The clear rings make them easy to snap and store and make it even easier to see if those leftovers from the last time your parents visited are still safe to eat.

Silicone Collapsible Strainer

Collapsible Strainer Collapsible Strainer
Collapsible Strainer

I can’t guarantee that you’ll have enough space in your dorm to store a normal strainer, but I can guarantee that noodles will soon be a major part of your diet. A collapsible strainer allows you to carbo-load without taking up too much space. This strainer is not only necessary for your Italian cravings, but it will also please your parents to know that you could use it to rinse fruit or veggies.

3-Piece All-Purpose Dispenser Set

All Purpose Dispensers All Purpose Dispensers
All Purpose Dispensers

Trust me, your snacking game goes to the next level once you start college. So, you might as well do it efficiently and add all-purpose dispensers to your college packing list. They extend your snack’s shelf life and look good on any dresser or desk.

1-Cup Squeeze & Pour Silicone Measuring Cup

Silicone Measuring Cup Silicone Measuring Cup
Silicone Measuring Cup

Whether you oversee chocolate chip cookies for the bake sale or crave buttered popcorn for movie night, this microwave-safe measuring cup is a must. An easily forgotten item on most college lists, a measuring cup will change the game when it comes to mixing, measuring and pouring.

Dresser Drawer Dividers


Coming at no surprise, a college dorm usually means less closet space, and it will soon become a struggle to get changed in the morning. Dresser drawer dividers allow you to make efficient use of the finite space you’ll have, force you to keep things tidy and make getting dressed much simpler.

Hot Styling Tool Pocket

Hot Tools Styling Mat Hot Tools Styling Mat
Hot Tools Styling Mat

Burning hot objects in tight places is a recipe for disaster, but a perfect hair day makes the treacherous process worth it. Save yourself and your roommate from a third degree burn with a hot styling tool pocket, which lets you store your straighter or curling iron without waiting for it to completely cool down.

3-Tier Aluminum Caddy

Shower Caddy Shower Caddy
Shower Caddy

Warning: Bathroom space will be compromised at college. That doesn’t mean your shower routine has to suffer. This shower caddy maximizes minimal spaces to fit all your shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion.

Soap Dispensing Palm Brush

Soap Dispensing Brush Soap Dispensing Brush
Soap Dispensing Brush

Doing the dishes is a habit that should be adopted early in your college career otherwise things will get messy quick. Keep this chore as simple as possible with the brush that stores soap on board.

Claire is a rising Senior at UW Madison. She is majoring in Marketing and enjoys yoga.


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