24 Must-Have Items to Pack for College

Posted by John Brhel on August 4, 2021

24 Must-Have Items to Pack for College

Figuring out what to bring and what not to pack when moving new students onto campus can be overwhelming. Is 100 boxes of Easy Mac enough? To help parents and guardians figure out what to bring this year, we asked members of the Binghamton University Bearcat Family Facebook page to share some of their must-have move-in items. Here are some of the highlights.

Foam mattress topper

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My daughter will be a sophomore and the best purchase we made for her room was a foam mattress topper -- she now likes her bed at school better than her bed from home! -- Valerie Whittaker

(Note: Beds take XL twin bedding.)

Hot water kettle

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An electric hot water tea kettle to heat up water for tea, coffee, hot cocoa. -- Barbara Markiewicz Dennehy

(Note: Must be single-use. Multi-cup coffee makers and hot plates are not permitted.)

Cleaning supplies

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This year I would double up on the cleaning supplies. Lots of hand soap, hand sanitizer, wipes -- if you can find them! And of course, face masks. -- Tanya Diaz

Warm boots

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As a two-time Bing parent, I can’t stress enough to bring snow boots. -- Stephanie Foster Ferretti

Phone tray

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Definitely need a bed tray or something for next to the bed to put their phone on. Trust me. I have two at Bing! -- Michele Migge McKiernan


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Raincoat is a MUST!! -- Bill Kress 


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Don't forget your umbrella! -- Lauren Armus Levin


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Believe it or not, a small toolkit for those do-it-yourself items you want to put together! My oldest graduated in 2019 and my youngest will be a senior. Both made lots of friends when someone needed a hammer or screwdriver. -- JoAnn Marie Lallier 

Power strips/surge protectors

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Don't forget to pack those power strips! Plugs are always a challenge! -- Rachelle Kratzer Grossman

(Note: Power strips/surge suppressors are allowed. Extension cords are not permitted.)

Hiking shoes

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Old shoes for the nature trail. -- Julie Tate

Ready-to-make food

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Electric kettle and stash of “add only water” food! -- Joelle Mulich Maurer

Shower stuff

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Flip flops and caddy for the shower. -- Carol Sklar Nicholson


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A fan is a must have! -- Nancy Specht-Turo

Medicine kit

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Every kind of cold/flu reliever, thermometer, cough medicine, band aids, tweezers, sore throat drops, Pepto, Advil, Tylenol, and anything else you can think of! Not only will it help your student, but roommates and friends as well. -- Diana Overacker

Stuffed animals

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Their favorite stuffy to hold when they miss us. -- Jaclene Scordino-Weston

Green Day Friday clothes

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They need green shirts, sweatshirts for Green Day Friday! -- Kristin Gregor

Gaming system

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Xbox to take some of the stress out from their classes. -- Michele Morra-DeSantis

Waterproof backpack

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A sturdy backpack that is rainproof. -- Jodi Buck Biernacki

Winter coat

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Invest in a really warm winter coat (I spent more than I normally would have, but I made it a graduation gift)...My daughter said a warm coat with a hood made all the difference. -- Kathy Mugan Coletti

Family photos

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Most importantly, a picture of mom. LOL. -- Lisa Notaroberta Iovine 

Rolling hamper

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It’s a hamper with wheels. Great and easy to bring clothes and detergent to the laundry room. -- Anne Marie Susca

Small rug

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A cozy rug for under their desks. Keep toes warm while studying! -- Julie Austin Ruhren

Water bottles/filters

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Refillable water bottle and/or Brita filter. -- Debbie Druce Herder

Important documents

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Printed updated copies of important documents like driver's ID, emergency contact numbers, bank routing numbers, credit cards, insurance cards, home doctors’ numbers, etc. in a secure location. -- K-Maley  O-g

Additional information

Magnetic clip or command strip hooks are recommended for hanging face masks.

If you have posters you want to hang, bring poster-hanging putty. Look for the blue kind for easier removal (for CIW, Hinman, Mountainview and Apartments) or push pins/thumb tacks (for Dickinson and Newing). Command Strips should work for any building

If you want a microwave or mini-fridge, we recommend renting from here.

For a list of items allowed in residential halls, view this fire safety brochure.

For more info on move-in, visit this page from Residential Life.

Be sure to follow the Binghamton University Bearcat Family Facebook page. It's a great place to connect with fellow parents and get important info about campus!

John Brhel is a communications manager in the Office of Media and Public Relations and a longtime resident of the Binghamton area. When he's not managing social media accounts or crafting press releases, you can find him drawing, watching movies, or spending time with his family.

Have questions, comments or concerns about the blog? Email us at social@binghamton.edu.