Our team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the web’s best products. If you purchase through our links, we may receive a commission. Our editorial team is independent and only endorses products we believe in.
If I’m being honest, I don’t remember much about packing for college. That’s probably for the best. What I do remember, though, is how many items I brought with me that never saw the light of day. And, how many things I wish I had, but never even thought of packing.
Most colleges and universities give their students packing lists, but they’re often basic, filled with the essentials you would expect: socks, bedding, towels, and the like. There are so many little things that don’t make those lists, but have the power to make your school year more comfortable, convenient, and fun.
As college graduates ourselves, we wanted to help you get ahead of the curve by sharing the products we wish we had when we were students. Whether it’s your first year or your last, we hope these recommendations make your packing process a little bit easier. Keep scrolling to find the unexpected college essentials that should definitely make it to your dorm room.
A Weighted Blanket
I sleep with one of these every night, and for the college student with anxiety, this soft, weighted blanket provides comfort at night to help you fall asleep faster. I think everyone needs one, not just college students! - Kaleigh Moore, Editor
It's easy to get caught in the trap of pulling all nighters when studying for a test or completing an assignment, but time and time again studies show that you operate more efficiently and retain more information when you get a good night's sleep. I wish weighted blankets (esp Bearaby's Tree Napper) were a thing when I was going to college. I would've slept much more soundly amidst the looming deadlines. - Rosemary Delp, Editor
Cleaning Products To Make Chores Easier
Kitchen conundrums with college roommates can be dramatic. I wish we invested in one of these Dropps clean/dirty dishwasher magnets, high quality dishwashing detergents and a cleaning schedule to avoid the passive aggressive cleaning comments. -Umama Kibria, Social Media Manager
A Sleep Mask To Block Out Light
Chances are you’ll probably spend at least one (or a few) of your college years sharing a room. You and your roommate may also have different schedules, and thus different nighttime routines. You may be an early bird and they might be a night owl, or vice versa. So, an eye mask is essential to helping you fall asleep even if your roomie is up late studying or watching Netflix. I actually did have a sleep mask with me at college, but since graduating I’ve upgraded to this silk one from Slip and I wish I had it then. -Remi Rosmarin, Editor
A Good Pair Of Rainboots
I wish I got sturdy high rainboots for those extra rainy days when you have to walk all the way across campus. -Umama Kibria, Social Media Manager
A Bathrobe For The Commute To The Bathroom And More
Another college inevitable: communal bathrooms. And, you’ll probably have to walk down the hall to get there too. Instead of struggling to hold your towel up while also juggling your bath and body products, get a bathrobe. I love this one from Brooklinen because it’s pretty much a plush bath towel in its own right. It’s very absorbent, long enough to keep you feeling covered, and has an easy, adjustable tie to keep things put. While pricey, you can be sure it will last you all four years, and whatever comes after that. -Remi Rosmarin, Editor
Yummy Snacks To Share With Your Hall
The best hallmates were the ones that had the snacks and shared the snacks. Be that person. Fly By Jing's Dumpling Starter Pack makes for the perfect weeknight dinner or midnight snack. Take it from me (a seasoned dorm room snacker) – this is much better than any other frozen meal you can find in your college town's grocery store. -Rosemary Delp, Editor
Deodorant You Won’t Forget To Put On
Not to say I didn’t use deodorant in college, but I would’ve used a lot more if I had discovered this Juniper Eucalyptus Full Body Deodorant Spray from Curie. It’s literally a combination of two must-have college products: deodorant and body mist. The application is quick and easy so you can buy a few bottles and keep them in all the various bags you bring around campus. -Lillie Sun, Editor
The Dress Made For Every Occasion
I only graduated college a couple of years ago, but this is officially making me feel ancient. The beloved Workout Dress only became popular in the latter half of my collegiate experience, but boy do I wish it was a thing from the get-go. The easiest, one-stop-shop kinda outfit that's perfect for a morning walk, a midday study session, or night out on the town. The dress that does it all! Add to cart, immediately. - Rosemary Delp, Editor
An Ergonomic Desk Chair
This is a splurge for sure, but let me tell you – those dorm room chairs gave me back problems that lasted longer than my student loans. And especially with all the early mornings and late nights I spent at my desk rummaging through my notes, having invested in a quality, ergonomic office chair would have changed the game for me (and probably my grades). I recently picked up this one from Risedesk and am still kicking myself for not investing in it earlier. -Lillie Sun, Editor
We hope this helps you kick off your school year the right way! Want more product recommendations as the year progresses? DM us @thequalityedit!