There are two worries when packing up and moving into school: packing way too much or not packing enough. Will you end up with your entire closet taking up every inch of your room or will you forget to pack your shower caddy? Only time— and the extent of your organization— will tell. In compiling the dreaded packing list, there are some random things you might not think twice about leaving at home, but you should actually be at the top of your list.
Here are 15 random things you never thought you needed but are going to thank me later for needing in college.
1. Sewing Kit
Picture this: you’re at a house party and your favorite pair of leggings just got caught on a nail sticking out of the scuzzy basement wall. There’s a hole in them and there are definitely tears, I know. But if only you’d packed a mini sewing kit for school, all your tears would dry quickly. A sewing kit has safety pins, little scissors and all sewing essentials. Avoid clothing disasters this semester and add it to your essentials. I promise it’s worth it.
I know what you’re thinking. You haven’t used quarters since you were like six and you wanted one of those gumballs at the mall. Well, it’s time to break out the quarters again because they come in handy at school. You can use them for laundry instead of your student funds. Not to mention all the snacks and drinks you want during your late night vending machine raids without feeling like you’re spending all your money (like you would if you were using your student card or debit card).
Everything is simply chargeable these days. Sometimes we forget that random things we need run on batteries— which unlike most chargers— die. Bringing some batteries to school for your TV remote, your little hand held vacuum, your flashlight or whatever else comes in handy. Pack them now before your left watching another Shamwow programming at 2 a.m. because your remote has finally called it quits.
4. Mini Tool Kit
Instead of freaking out when you need to tighten that loose screw in your bedpost (before the whole thing collapses in the middle of the night) get a mini tool kit. These things have little, easy to use and versatile tools that can fix any small repair. They definitely come in handy, even for electronic issues, like opening up your computer to flip the battery or getting that tiny sim card out of your phone.
I know, it’s 2019 and everything is digital, including our calendars and their helpful alerts. Call me old fashioned, but having a physical planner is definitely a must for college. At the very least it is your backup if your phone or laptop crashes out of nowhere. Forced into a world without your “trusty” tech, how will you remember your friend’s birthday next week and that you have an exam on Monday? Not to mention the small victory in checking off those boxes on each day’s to do list too. Take it from me, an agenda lover.
6. Bedside Caddy
Imagine being able to not only have your phone, but anything you want right at your fingertips while your laying comfy in your lofted-bed. This can be a reality for you with a bedside caddy. These things attach right to your bed and can hold anything you need. Instead of having to get up and get something—disturbing your burrito-like cocoon—invest in a bedside caddy and keep those essentials close.
7. Mini Stapler
I love a mini anything— especially a mini stapler. When you’re running out of the library after printing my 10-page paper that’s due in exactly two minutes but forgot to staple it, fear not. Your trusty mini stapler (that lives right in your backpack) saves the day every time. It might be small, but that small click can save a major meltdown.
8. Weighted Blanket
Imagine having a blanket that hugs you right back. That’s what a weighted blanket feels like. They’re proven to help reduce stress and anxiety, things that definitely need to be kept at bay while school is in session. Who doesn’t want a permanent cuddle machine each night to ease all the stress after a much too long day of work? Use it as your main bed blanket or in times of heightened crisis as midterms creep up on you. Either way, the time for weekly mental breakdowns is sooner than you think.
9. Heating Pads
A heating pad is not only great for when your dorm is randomly freezing cold. The uses are endless: stiff or hurt muscles from that intense session at the gym, when you have a stomach ache, even those scheduled “treat yo’self” nights. They’re small and easy to store. Depending on where you shop, you can even find a cute one that you wouldn’t be mad at displaying for some quick use on your desk. So, this semester when you’re feeling like you need some TLC, break out the heating pad.
10. Water Filter Pitcher
Filling up your water bottle from your dorm sink or communal bathroom sink is just a little bit sketchy in my opinion. Instead of wondering if the water you’re already drinking is actually drinkable, get a water filter pitcher. Filter all that crap out and rest a bit easier knowing that’s one less thing growing in your fridge. Your water will be nice and clean in your reusable water bottle for that much needed daily hydration.
11. Flash Drive
Technology is awesome but it’s also plagued with issues. I feel like at least once a year my computer decides to give me some attitude at the worst times (like finals, UGH). If you don’t want to end up losing your pictures or that 30 min presentation you’ve spent the last month perfecting, I recommend getting a flash drive. All of your things will be saved and you can redownload them onto any laptop you want. It’s like a little mini storage unit.
12. Duct Tape
This is an essential for dorm life. Need to put up posters? Duct tape. Need to fix that charger? Duct tape. Need to keep the top of your ancient, plastic three-drawer storage thing from breaking off (yes, this happened to me)? Duct tape. It’s really a universal kind of magic. Enough said.
13. Mini Safe
With so many people living with and around you, keeping your stuff safe is important. Having a small safe to keep important documents or items prevents you from losing it or getting it stolen at that party you decided to throw in your room. It might be a little expensive, but so is replacing your identity when that friend of a friend gets a bit curious about those government issued documents.
We have a lot we need to carry on us at all times as students. From our student I.D. and dorm key to car keys or that pepper spray bottle, we literally hold our lives in our hands each time we leave the dorm. Having a lanyard to keep it all together comes in handy. It might not look super fashionable hanging around your neck, but not losing your stuff makes up for it. Remember: safety first, safety second, coolness third.
Having a door stop might seem random, but it’s actually useful to have on hand. If you’re an RA and want to prop your door for your dorm advisees, use a door stop. If you just want to keep your door open in your apartment because the annoying thing just won’t stop closing, use a door stop. They are tiny— and cheap— and I promise you’ll get use out of it.