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12 Things Nobody Told You to Pack for College

We know stuffing all your belongings into one car is not the most fun way to start college (collegiettes across the country know your pain!). It requires a lot of foresight to pack everything you need for a year away from home—you’re bound to forget something! While we can’t predict your every need, we do have 12 helpful packing suggestions that freshmen don’t usually consider at first. Our college veterans have weighed in on items they wish they stuffed in their suitcases, and we’ve included the best in this handy checklist. So before you close your car trunk full of shoes and posters (mainly shoes), check out these often forgotten college necessities!

1. Safety Pins

Etka Partani, a junior at UCLA, says she took her mom’s box of safety pins for granted before she arrived at college. “I know it seems random, but sometimes they're completely necessary to adjust an outfit or make sure the costume that you threw together for a party doesn't fall off,” she says. You can keep safety pins in a small box with other random knickknacks, such as paper clips and bobby pins.

2. Boot Tray

If you’re going to college in a northern state with lots of wintry weather, bring a boot tray to store your soaked shoes. According to Phyu-Sin Than, a junior at Mount Holyoke College, “it's completely necessary to have if you're going to a school in the north where half the school year is dragging yourself around in the snow.” Try this one from Bed Bath & Beyond to keep your dorm carpet clean and dry (a regular serving platter also works just as well).

3. Bookends

You can rack up a sizable collection of books in your first year, especially with general education classes (American lit, anyone?). Shira Kipnees, campus correspondent for HC Franklin & Marshall, recommends freshmen bring bookends to organize their study sessions. “My books always ended up in a fallen mess on the shelf and it would take me forever to find the exact book I was looking for,” she says. You can find cheap bookends on Amazon or invest in decorative ones from Etsy, like these cute bicycle ones for $35.

4. Old T-shirts and Costumes

There will be plenty of theme parties in college, which means plenty of opportunities to unleash your creative fashion sense! Come prepared with the right materials to make the most of these festive events. Emma Miller, a junior at Kenyon College, suggests bringing old shirts you wouldn’t mind cutting, dyeing, highlighting, or doing whatever else to that strikes your artistic fancy. You can also bring old Halloween costumes and accessories or outdated clothes to stock your theme party wardrobe.

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