12 Unusual Items You Should Bring to College

If you’re heading to college for the first time, you’ve probably received lots of information on things you should and should not bring. Your college may have sent you a packing list, or maybe you’ve been reading the many available online. But what about things that aren’t always on the packing list? This list of 12 unusual items you should bring to college will help make sure you’re prepared for anything that comes your way in the dorm.

Bonus: since many people don’t bring the items on this list, you can share them around the dorm to make friends with your dormmates!

Want to find the best place to purchase all of these items? Check out our list of the best dorm shopping websites! Need help with the basics? Our list of Dorm Room Essentials has you covered!

1. Tool Kit

You never know when you will need a screwdriver or a hammer. That’s why you should bring a mini tool kit with you to college! This one includes 39 pieces, so it should have everything you need for a dorm room. Especially in the early days, you’ll be a popular guy or gal as your dormmates need tools that they don’t have and come to you for help. It’s both useful and a great way to make friends!

2. Handheld Vaccum

A cordless handheld vacuum is a must-have for any college dorm! While many colleges have vacuums that you can borrow, there are often waits, especially during busy times. And sometimes, you just want to clean up your mess now. That’s why you should bring a handheld vacuum with you to college. I recommend a small cordless one, so you don’t have to worry about unplugging anything and so you can store it easily.

3. First Aid Kit

Although most colleges have a health center on campus, there will be times when you just need a bandaid or ibuprofen. A first aid kit will provide all of that and more, which is why it’s an unusual college necessity.

4. Drying Rack

A collapsible clothing drying rack is an often forgotten college item! Whether you have clothes that can’t go in the dryer or have long waits for a dryer, a collapsible clothing drying rack is a useful addition to any dorm room. I like ones that can break down to fit easily in a closet or under a bed to save space in a crowded dorm.

Related: Dorm Room Organization – Great Hacks for Organizing a College Dorm Room

5. Microwave Cookers

Even if you have a dining plan, you’ll probably have some meals in your dorm room. And while you can certainly eat ramen, you may want to explore the variety of microwave cookers that allow you to cook a variety of foods in the microwave. Since you may not have access to a kitchen or a stove, these microwave cookers expand the number of things that you can cook.

6. Reading Lamp

If you’re going to have a roommate, you’re going to want a reading lamp! Your roommate will appreciate it if you use the reading lamp instead of the overhead lamp if you have to get up early or stay up later than them. I recommend one that can clip onto your bed or laptop, so you can use it where it’s needed.

7. Unusual School Supplies

While you already know that you need a backpack and a laptop, these other school supplies essentials are often forgotten! I was often the only person in my class who thought to bring a stapler, but it’s a must-have when turning in long papers. And you can use envelopes not only to mail home letters, but also to store documents. Meanwhile, dry erase markers are great for study groups or use in libraries where there are often whiteboards, but rarely markers. These oft-forgotten school supplies will help make your freshman year a success!

8. Small Clear Bag

If you’re planning on attending any concerts or sporting events while at college, then a small clear purse is a necessity! For safety measures, regular bags are frequently banned at events like football games and concerts, but these small clear bags are generally allowed. This allows you to bring along some small items without carrying them or stuffing them in your pockets.

9. Calculator

All majors, even ones like English or History, have to take at least a few math classes. Therefore, it’s important that you don’t forget your calculator as you head off to college – it makes math a whole lot easier! For math heavy majors, like economics or physics, you may want to reach out and find out if there’s a certain calculator that your department recommends.

10. Fan

In a dorm room, you can’t always control the temperature of the room, which is why it’s so important to bring a high quality fan with you to college. If you’re planning on lofting your bed, you may want to also bring a clip on fan that you can attach to your bed to create a nice draft while you sleep.

11. Electric Kettle

For tea lovers, an electric kettle is a must-have in college! Electric kettles can be used to make anything that requires boiling water, like ramen, instant oatmeal, and more, so it’s a versatile appliance for any dorm room.

12. Mini Projector

Be the talk of the dorm with this mini projector! It’s portable and hooks up to your phone, so you can use it anywhere. In a crowded dorm, it can be hard to find a place to watch a movie, so this mini projector lets you decide where to watch.


12 Things to bring with you to college that aren't normally on packing lists
12 Unusual Things to Bring With You To College
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