Essentials like pots, pans and flatware are no-brainers when packing for college, but there’s a lot more involved with sending your graduating student to campus for the first time. Living away from home means having to bring everything your kid needs – for every minute of every day. Bring these seven often-overlooked must-haves and avoid having to ship or deliver them to the college dorms.
1. Weather-Appropriate Gear
You haven’t truly experienced inclement weather until you’ve traversed a campus in it. Your kid might wear shorts and flip-flops in the winter when they’re just jumping into the car at home and hustling out, but on a college campus that oversight in attire-preparedness just won’t do. There’s nothing like a 10-minute walk to class in the pouring rain to make your child wish they’d remembered a pair of rain boots – or a shivering trek to the library in the dead of winter to make them wish they had packed a hat, gloves and a scarf.
2. Cleaning Supplies
Sure, your teen did chores at home, but they had all the cleaning supplies they needed close at hand. While we can’t guarantee their dorm room and bathroom will stay spotless (even when you visit during Parents’ Week), you can start them on the road toward domestic independence with the right supplies:
- Mr. Clean Magic Erasers to help them quickly remove dried-on gunk from fridge shelves and soap scum from shower walls
- Bounty Paper Towels to clean up spills and splatters from their culinary masterpieces (or ramen noodle mishaps)
- Tide PODS for late-night laundry runs – no measuring required!
- Febreze ONE to eliminate funky odors from dorm rooms, curtains and bedding (or even day-old clothing, if they skipped that laundry run!)
3. Hobby Supplies
When students pack for college, they tend to focus so much on the essentials they forget to include optional items, like the supplies and equipment for the hobbies they enjoy in their free time.
While it’s true that there will be far less down time at college than at home (hopefully), your son or daughter will certainly have opportunities to relax and connect over shared interests in sports, crafts, movies and more. Whether it’s a tennis racket, a lacrosse stick, or a pair of knitting needles and yarn, be sure to remind your college-bound kid to bring those items along. These activities will bring comfort and help your young adult unwind after a stressful week. They’ll likely serve as a way to make new friends, too.
4. Precautionary Medicines
When school starts, your not-so-little one may be feeling great and not thinking about things like throat lozenges, cold medicine and even a set of different-sized bandages. It’s almost inevitable that, at some point during the school year (and most likely around finals time), a lozenge will save the day. Stocking up now will save lots of trouble later.
5. Identifying Labels
You may have labeled your kids’ clothes when they went away to summer camp because they were too young to keep track of things themselves. You also probably did it because camp, like college, is a place where many people’s belongings are corralled into shared spaces – situations that are ripe for mix-ups. Don’t assume college-aged kids are too old for labels. If you remember to identify the belongings students take with them, it’s much more likely they’ll return with said goods in tow.
6. Mail Supplies
Since emails have become today’s most relied-upon form of communication, chances are your kid will forget even a modest set of mail supplies. However, it’s wise for college students, who are likely to be interviewing for jobs or internships and making important career contacts, to have stationery and stamps. There’s nothing as simple and impactful as a handwritten note.
7. Sentimental Items
In a spurt of I’m-grown-and-off-to-conquer-the-world (of-college), kids will all too often neglect those precious items that provide comfort when the going gets tough. “What teddy bear?” at home will instantly translate to, “Where’s my bear?” at college. A sense of security isn’t something a child grows out of, nor are they meant to. Don’t forget the things that will help make your kid feel at ease while they’re away from home and family, whether that’s a special trinket, a stuffed animal or pictures of loved ones.
What essential item would you add to this college packing list? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.