My College Book Bag Essentials

perfectly packed

Well… it’s that time again! Time for classes and early alarms and tests. Time for science labs and long papers and due dates. I’m certainly not ready for the summer to end, but one good thing about school starting up again is school supply shopping. Even as a little kid, I loved going to the store to buy new supplies- so many bright colors and fun patterns and pencils/crayons/markers that were still fresh and unused. I almost hated to use new supplies for fear of “ruining” them! I also enjoyed organizing my new purchases and having a locker/desk/backpack with everything in its place. (But what kid loves organizing things? Let’s just say I was ahead of my years 🙂 )

Just because you attend college now doesn’t mean school supplies have to be boring. I like to brighten up potentially drab items by finding cute things that make me happy. I’ve found that when you are at least a little excited it makes going to class a bit more interesting. There are many amazing options nowadays- both online and in stores, and for every price range- so it isn’t hard to find stylish items that you love.

After spending a year in college- I created and perfected a list of must-haves for my book bag. These items will make your day so much easier (and fun!). I’ve already done half the work for you- all you need to do is shop or use what you already have.

1. Pencil bag- You should carry a small pencil bag stocked with your favorite pencils, pens, and any other writing utensils you frequently use. There is nothing worse than frantically digging through your bag for a pencil right before a test. Having all your writing instruments in one place keeps you organized and prepared! I got mine at Barnes and Noble about 4 years ago, and it is still holding up. Mine is no longer for sale, but find a similar one here.

2. Water Bottle- This shouldn’t be new to you, but staying hydrated is vitally important. It will help keep you focused, healthy, and alert. It also helps keep your skin soft and clear. I carry the Nalgene 32 oz. Narrow Mouth bottle with me at all times. I like it because it holds a lot of water (I drink about 3 bottles full a day) and has a small mouth (I find the bottles with large openings tend to be messy). It is super durable and will hold up to just about anything, but it comes in a range of colors to keep things fun!

3. Tampon case/bag- Sometimes your period catches you by surprise. We’ve all been there at some point, and it is not fun. Don’t rely on bathroom dispensers to save you, because probably they won’t work (this happened to me last year). Keeping a small supply of tampons and pads in your bag will help you avoid an embarrassing situation. I use a freebie makeup bag that I got with a cosmetics purchase, but these tin tampon cases are super adorable!

4. Pencils- Perhaps this is obvious, but you need pencils. And erasers. Check my favorites out here and here.

5. Planner- You’ve heard it before, but a planner will save you in college. Trying to balance several classes each with their own tests, papers, expectations, and due dates can be tricky in the least. When you add in social events, it can be nearly impossible. Having a planner allows you to keep track of all your obligations in one handy place- no more forgetting a quiz or missing a meeting! I prefer a weekly/monthly planner- on the week day pages I plan out what homework/studying I need to do each day as well as due dates of that week. On the monthly pages I write tests/quizzes in one color, papers in another, and social events in yet another color. Yes- this definitely a little obsessive, but it helps me so much! You may not need to go into as much detail as I do, but planning to any degree makes a huge difference.

This year I bought a planner with a clear pouch on the cover. I printed my own monogram here and used it to make a custom design- what normally would have cost a fortune I got for free! I’ve seen cute and affordable planners everywhere this year (Target, Barnes and Noble, Office Max) but here are a few that caught my eye:

katespadelillypulitzermaydesignsgreen venicevera

(kate spadelilly pulitzermay designsbarnes and noble, vera bradley)

6. Lotion- Nobody likes having dry, cracked hands! Have a small bottle of lotion in your bag to keep your hands soft and beautiful!

7. Lip balm/Chapstick- Again, especially during the cold, dry months, lips tend to become chapped and rough. Keep those lips kissable by having your favorite balm on hand. I typically carry about 3 kinds with me- Nivea Kiss of Shimmer, Burt’s Bee’s Tinted Lip Balm, and Vaseline Lip Therapy Advanced are just a few that are tried and true.

8. Mints and gum- One of my pet peeves is having bad breath. I can’t stand it when my mouth doesn’t feel clean. You can’t exactly brush your teeth anywhere you want, so gum and or mints come to the rescue! I always have several packs in my bag. If you are speaking to others or giving a presentation however, chewing gum is incredibly rude. Just don’t do it.

9. Pens- I like having pens as well as pencils, but it’s all up to what you prefer. Sometimes you will need a different color than black in class so I keep several colors in my pencil bag. Other utensils I always have on hand- highlighters, sharpies, and gel pens.

Having a well stocked book bag will help keep you well-organized and prepared for anything! It certainly makes my life go smoother. Did I leave any essentials out? Let me know your must-haves in the comments below!




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