20 Under $20: Things You'll Actually Use in College

Add These to Your Packing List: 20 Things You’ll Actually Use in College

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1. Drying rack for dishes

If you have a broken dishwasher, or a limited supply of dishes, a drying rack is a necessity! It’s also useful for bulky pots and pans you may not want to put in a dishwasher.

2. Fleece throw blanket

These blankets always come in handy, whether you’re hosting a movie night, adding an extra layer to your bedding, or surviving in a dorm/apartment that is cold, All. The. Time.

3. Rapid Ramen cooker

For those fast lunches in between classes, try this quick, inexpensive way to cook Ramen. And you didn’t think Ramen could get more convenient!

4. Dry erase board calendar

An excellent way to visually organize a busy schedule, and communicate with roommates.

5. Pop up laundry hamper

Doing laundry in college is kind of a pain, but hampers like these are easy to store, and easy to carry!

6. Phone charging bank

If you’re having a long day of fun adventures, or a day of classes and study sessions, having a portable battery is essential! They’re small and cheap, and you can take them anywhere!

7. Small portable fan

Stay comfortable with a fan that’s easy to move and aim directly at you. This can help when you can’t agree with your roommate about temperature, if you need white noise to sleep, or if the AC goes out.

8. Water filter

Tap water can be super gross! With a space-saving water filter pitcher, you can keep cold water in the fridge and avoid water than tastes like it came from a public pool.

9. Tool kit

Let’s face it, college living isn’t perfect, and there are occasionally little things that need to be fixed or put together. Having some basic tools handy can save you a lot of headaches.

10. Stain remover

It’s a Friday night, you’re getting ready for a date, and spill food on your best shirt…enough said.

11. Lint roller

A lint roller is not something I planned on needing in college, however I ended up borrowing my roommates enough to realize I needed my own.

12. Permanent markers

If you share a room, a fridge, or a bathroom in college, you quickly learn the necessity of putting your name on pretty much everything.

13. Meal prep containers

These containers are cheap, microwavable, and reusable!

14. Simple colander

I dare you to survive without a colander. One word. PASTA. It’s affordable, it’s versatile, and it satisfies the need for carbs.

15. Shower caddy

Most college students share a shower with at least one other person (or a dozen). A shower caddy is the perfect way to carry and organize everything you need in the shower.

16. Playing cards

It’s one of those things your parents always had around the house. For rainy days or short study breaks, card games are a fun way to pass the time.

17. HDMI cable

Because sometimes one roommate has a TV, and the other has a laptop full of movies. It’s teamwork!

18. Shoe organizer

These are perfect for keeping shoes organized and accessible in a small space.

19. Stapler and tape

For days when you have to turn in a paper to your 8 a.m. class, it needs to be stapled, AND class starts in 10 minutes. (Trust me, running to the library to use a stapler gets old really fast.)

20. First-Aid kit

You will need Band-Aids. You will need ointment. You will need Motrin (regardless of your major).


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