Leaving home for the first time can be hard. It’s exciting to head off to the dorm or share a rental with a group of friends, but you’ll still miss all the familiar things back home – friends, family, and all of the ‘stuff’ you can’t cram into your suitcase or back of your car.

That’s why it’s important to break your ‘must haves’ into ‘absolutely pack’ long before you head out the door. My first year of school I packed a hand mixer for some reason, and the only time it came out was at Halloween when I wanted some cool sound effects for the local haunted house.

For some people the ‘absolutely pack’ includes everything but the kitchen sink, but because I’ve been there and done that, I can definitely share what you can safely leave behind and what is absolutely essential to bring when you’re heading back to school.

Bedding to keep you warm

Dorms are drafty places, or at least mine was. I spent half the winter freezing to death in fluffy socks and gloves when studying, so when I finally was able to crawl into bed to sleep you better believe the bed had to be warm and cozy from the moment I got in. Some people like cotton comforters, but to stay warm when it’s cold out and cool when it’s hot, I highly recommend a duvet.

The Highland Feather Dreamtime Silk Twin Comforter is the perfect choice for back to the dorm. It’s 300-thread count, 100% combed cotton sateen casing, and hypoallergenic with 100% mulberry silk fill. Duvets wrap you in warmth all winter long, but when the temperatures heat up they actually work to keep you cool by wicking away excess moisture.

And don’t forget about your bed sheets – the Simple & Pure 420 Thread Count Sheets are perfect for the standard twin dorm bed.

The perfect pillow

Along with a cozy blanket, bringing along your own pillow is an absolute must. I started taking my own pillow with me when I went to University, and now I take it with me whenever I travel. There’s just something comforting about having a familiar place to put your head, so take along a great pillow like the Vivon Traditional Memory Foam Pillow. It has medium firmness to help you avoid those uncomfortable neck cricks, and it’s ventilated to keep your head cool while sleeping.

If you like your pillow a little softer, try the Sleep Solutions Euro Pillow.


The best cup of coffee, anytime of the day or night

Nothing gets me out of bed faster than the possibility of coffee, and the same held true after I discovered how well coffee worked to keep me going in University. But waiting for an entire pot to brew, especially when I was so tired, was just too time consuming when I was on the go. I wish they would have had Keurig Coffee Makers when I was in University, because it would have been the first thing I packed to bring back to school. All you need are a box of cups and you can brew up an amazing cup of coffee every time. It even fits your travel mug.

Cast a soft glow with lighting

My dorm had florescent lights overhead, and when we walked in the door the first thing we noticed the study lamp was a single, glaring bulb that actually hurt my eyes whenever I turned it on. That’s why I recommend you bring along a lamp like the Zuo Dawn Table Lamp. It will cast a cozy glow when you’re studying and welcome you home when the days get dark at 5 pm.

Count the minutes

Some people use their smartphones as an alarm clock, I like to be able to open my eyes and see the time without having to pick up my phone. Even if you use your phone as an alarm you’ll want to bring along a clock with you to keep track of time, and there’s a clock available to suit any type of personality. Like music? Try the Artisan Collection Drum Set Desk Clock. Are you an amateur photographer? Pick up the Artisan Collection 35mm Hand-held Camera Clock. There’s even a clock for the budding chef. If you prefer a larger clock, try a wall clock like the Artistic Products Round Wall Clock.


When it comes to back to school, you can’t take along everything, so it’s important to prioritize and bring along only the truly important things. Stocking up on these everyday essentials is easy because Bestbuy.ca has a huge selection to choose from.

Interested in seeing what you need type of kitchen essentials you need for your dorm? Be sure to check out my post on back to school kitchen appliance must-haves.

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag