Unofficial Orientation Series 2016: What to Pack

This post is a repost of Jackson’s post from last year. Which was a repost of Frizzly’s post from the year before. Which was a repost of Samira’s post in 2013. As it turns out, the shit you need to pack doesn’t change much over the years.

arrivalday-22This is part of our 2016 Unofficial Orientation Series. A quick reminder that you can check out the welcome post here and past years’ series here.

At first glance, this post might seem like the most straightforward of the Unofficial Orientation Series. But scoff not, freshman or unadjusted upperclassman. Packing for college is anything but a piece of cake. You’re placing some of your most prized and cherished possessions into flimsy boxes and suitcases, making difficult choices about what you’ll keep with you for the next nine months of your life — how could it not be stressful?!

By now your mom has probably found Wesleyan’s official packing list and, much to your chagrin, has begun scrounging around your garage for old milk crates and pillow shams. While mumsy dearest probably knows what you’ll need best, you might also benefit from a list compiled by a person who’s actually your age.

Of course, everyone needs the basics: toiletries, bedding, school supplies, and clothes. But at Wesleyan, as you’ll quickly learn, we tend to do almost everything a little bit differently.

The following is a comprehensive list that includes more specific items and is inherently subjective. It’s been revised, edited, and passed down from Wesleyan generation to Wesleyan generation. While you might not end up using/buying many of the things on this list, it can help you cover the important things you’ll need, while reminding you of the less important but still nice stuff, like chocolate acai berries from Peru.

If you haven’t started packing/buying important stuff yet, you still have time. Like, three days. So, yeah, maybe get on it soon. If you don’t like this list, there are a bunch of other ones on the Internet. Here is just one.

The list (broken down by general categories):


  • laptop/ laptop charger/ laptop sleeve
  • filler paper
  • folders/binders
  • notebooks
  • calculator
  • desk lamp
  • usb drive/external hard drive/google docs account
  • pencil holder
  • organizing trays/paper holders
  • pens
  • white-out
  • mechanical pencils
  • eraser
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • markers
  • sharpies
  • scotch tape/ extra tape like duct tape which is always useful and can be art
  • stapler/ extra staples
  • sticky notes
  • printer/ extra printer cartridges (library printers not always dependable. Especially not at 8 a.m. before your paper’s due and they’re not working or everyone’s using them)
  • printer paper
  • plain envelopes (if you like it old school)
  • stamps


  • backpack
  • duffel bag
  • whiteboard for your door for cute penis drawings from friends
  • shelf/drawer liners (if you want to be that clean) (you do you)
  • tacky adhesive (might work on your dorm walls, but then again it might not) (probably won’t)
  • storage bins (especially if you’re living in a dorm without sufficient storage space)
  • old milk crates (see also: storage bins)
  • batteries (AA and AAA)
  • flashlight (you never know)
  • iron/ ironing board (most people don’t have this. You can probably borrow from someone. Or have wrinkles. It’s college.)(Also there is one in the Career Center)
  • screw driver
  • sewing needle and string
  • swiss army knife (always handy)


  • Extension cordchillin
  • Camera/ charger
  • phone. (duh.) and phone charger (also duh)
  • headphones/earbuds
  • mirror
  • photo collages because that’s the only way you’ll remember home/what your old friends look like
  • posters/art/decorating stuff
  • rug (definitely makes a room homier in my opinion)
  • door mat
  • lounge chair/armchair/rocking chair
  • fan
  • books (you won’t have time to read them, but they make for nice decoration)


  • bath towels
  • wash cloths
  • Bath robe (nice in the winter)dandaraart
  • shower flip flops**
  • shower caddy (eh.)
  • comb
  • hair dryer
  • body wash
  • shampoo/conditioner
  • razor/shaving cream/if you like hair ignore this
  • face wash
  • face lotion
  • lip balm
  • deodorant
  • body lotion
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • dental floss
  • nail cutter
  • contacts/contacts solution and case/glasses (if applicable)
  • lady hygiene stuff
  • SUNSCREEN (not that you’ll really need it in Connecticut weather. Except during our annual week of sunshine.)



  • pillows
  • bedsheets (maybe 2 sets)
  • mattress pad (a must — most Wes beds are a little firm. You will thank yourself)
  • alarm clock/radio
  • comforter/comfy blankets
  • tissue boxes
  • facial tissues
  • sleeping bag/ light blanket (when you sleep in someone else’s room you bring your own sleeping bag)

Medicinal Stuff

  • band aidsgatorade
  • benadryl/allergy meds
  • cough drops
  • motrin/tylenol/advil/general pain relievers
  • cold eeze
  • Emergen-C
  • pepto bismol
  • q-tips
  • thermometer
  • vitamins
  • all of your prescriptions for all of your various needs


  • air freshener/room deodorizerfridgeissues
  • all purpose cleaner
  • laundry bag/basket
  • laundry detergent
  • stain remover
  • dish washing soap
  • sponge
  • vacuum
  • paper towels
  • trash bags
  • plastic bags
  • trash can
  • hand sanitizer


  • coffee/tea mugdrank
  • dish set
  • utensils
  • cups
  • tupperware
  • microwave safe bowl/plate
  • nalgene water bottle
  • zip lock bags
  • can/bottle opener
  • refrigerator
  • microwave
  • electric water boiler
  • Cutting knife/board
  • Snacks (I always list chocolate acai berries but never get them. Maybe I will now.)


  • hangers
  • Boots (rain boots/snow boots/ hiking boots if you’re into that shit)
  • regular shoes
  • maybe nicer shoes
  • shirts
  • sweats/loungewear
  • work out clothes
  • sweaters/cardigans. o yea New England
  • socks
  • accessories (jewelry/bags/sunglasses/watch)
  • hair bands/clips
  • safety pins
  • lots of underwear
  • bottoms: pants/jeans/skirts/tights
  • hat/gloves/scarf
  • heavy coat
  • light jacket
  • hoodies
  • swimsuit
  • umbrella
  • Recommended: One v fancy outfit for a ~formal~ that you’ll always hope to be, but never actually are, invited to.

Specific Wesleyan Move-In Stuff

  • you’ll probably get a list of stuff you need to bring for orientation, but bring some form of government issued ID with you, along with proof of a bank account (if you’re applying for an on-campus job). Also, bring your insurance, registration info, and $100 if you want to register your car.
  • credit/debit card/$$$$ (#expensleyan)

GOOD LUCK!!! Don’t think you have to bring everything at once. If you end up forgetting something, there are plenty of places around or at Wesleyan where you can get it and dear ol’ Mom can always ship it to ya. If you have more suggestions or questions, post in the comments!

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