College Gift Basket Idea

(Great for Other Home Movers Too!)

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This college gift basket idea is dedicated to all those who are moving out of their parent’s house for the first time in general, and to college students in particular. It also makes an excellent graduation gift idea.

college gift basket ideaYoungsters all dream of the day they’ll move out of the house. But being used to having clean clothes, food in the fridge, running water, free phone calls, a variety of transportation options and other such luxuries, might be mind-boggling once they are out there on their own.

This college gift basket is all about making your recipient’s first encounter with independent living as pleasant as possible.

Help him/her sort out these small life necessities, and they’ll be ready to PARTY!

Since there are so many items you can include in a college gift basket, I divided them into categories. Pick one category or choose some items from several categories and build your own homemade move-out-of-the-house survival kit!

College gift basket Container Ideas

  • basket
  • cookie jar
  • waste basket
  • mixing bowl
  • laundry basket/bag
  • frying pan
  • cleaning caddy
  • food storage box

General gift ideas:

  • Inspirational wall decals – These motivating phrases can serve as an excellent gift on their own. They can really get you energized. Especially when they are always there in the background (believe in the power of positive thinking… I already feel motivated to continue writing this page just by looking at it now!).
  •  “Belongs to” labels – a very cheap yet practical gift idea to mark important possessions. Especially important when roommates are involved (you can customize the labels with your recipient’s name).
  • Emergency money – this college gift basket idea is extremely easy to make and is VERY helpful for any student. Place a $20 bill (it can be more or less depending on your budget) in a nylon pocket similar to ones used for photographs or sheet protectors. Cut nylon to size and seal it all around so the money bill is “trapped” inside. Write “for emergencies only” on the Nylon cover.
  • Stationary and stamps – you can even design custom stamps for your recipient if you want.
  • Alarm clock
  • Framed picture of you and the recipient for homesick moments. Goes well together
    with a …(see next item)
  • Magnetic /white board – for messages and notes.
  • Tool kit – or at least a screw driver, a few nails and a hammer.
  • Sewing kit
  • Scrapbook – to capture memories as soon as they take place.
  • Swiss army knife– so many utilities in one knife. It’s bound to come in handy.
  • Eye mask and ear plugs – another useful gift idea when roommates are involved.
  • Door sign – with your recipient’s name. Immediately gives a homey feeling.
  • Night lamp / flash light – very useful for night owls with roommates.
  • Gift card – college students are usually stretched for money. Indulge them with a gift card to any facility near by: restaurant, Pizza place, bookstore, cinema.

Laundry stuff (choose portable size items)

  • Laundry detergent
  • Fabric Softener
  • Dryer sheets
  • Color catcher – so they can wash all colors in one load without ending up with a pink wardrobe by accident…
  • Stain remover
  • Quarters – for laundromat.
  • Small wallet for change money.
  • Magazine– to read while waiting for the laundry.
  • Laundry bag – to carry laundry to and from laundromat.
  • Pegs and rope – for hand washed items.
  • Fabric Refresher

Food & kitchen related

  • Food – Long lasting ready-to-eat food for starving emergencies. Examples: canned food (tuna, beans, soup, sausages etc,), energy bars, crackers, candy, chocolate, cereal, coffee, tea , jam, pickles, macaroni and cheese, instant noodles, microwave popcorn.
  • Seasoning/Condiments essentials – salt, pepper, sugar, oil, vinegar, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise.
  • Dining ware – if your recipient needs to bring everything from home. Items to include: 1-2 sets of plate, cup, spoon, teaspoon, fork and knife.
  • Kitchen utensils – if your recipient needs to start cooking for him/herself here’s a list of the basic kitchen utensils he/she’ll need : frying pan, cutting board, can opener, bottle opener, cooking pot, turner, good cutting knife, mixing bowl and spoon.
  • Dishwashing liquid + sponge
  • Food storage boxes – to keep food in. If your recipient has roommates, write his/ her name on them with a permanent marker or use the “belongs to” labels above.
  • Cook book – a cookbook with easy to make recipes will be handy if your recipient is about to start cooking for the first time. Alternatively you can include a…
  • Recipes box + easy recipes – write some basic easy-to-make recipes on cards and put them on a recipes box for your recipient to try out.
  • Local take out menus – do a quick research on the web and print out take out menus of the restaurants and pizza places in your recipient’s area. Makes a perfect college gift basket idea together with a gift card to the same place/s.

Hygiene and health

  • Toiletries bag – is your recipient is about to live in a dorm. You can also fill it in with everything needed in the shower – soap, shampoo, conditioner, tooth paste and brush, lip balm, deodorant etc. (can also serve as a gift basket container).
  • Shampoo, hair conditioner, soap
  • Tooth brush, toothpaste
  • Hair brush
  • Flip flops – to keep feet off moldy dorm / shared shower floors.
  • Towel
  • Pain Killers – for emergencies
  • Band-Aids
  • Air freshener – for awkward situations
  • Shoe odor eliminators – shoe spray, shoe powder or shoe fresheners that are placed inside the shoes. A thoughtful gesture towards roommates. A great college gift basket idea especially if your recipient is into sports…
  • All purpose cleaning detergent
  • Anti-bacterial Wipes
  • Trash bags


Each student needs a different kind of equipment depending on his/her studies but some items are useful for everyone:

  • USB flash drive (memory stick)
  • highlighters
  • Post-it notes
  • Notebooks
  • Pens and pencils
  • Pencil holder
  • Pencil case

Need even more college gift basket ideas?

A ” memorable” gift basket idea is the scrapbooking gift basket. This way your recipient can make her/his own scrapbook hand in hand with making her/his own exciting memories.

For sports related college gift basket ideas check out these gift ideas by sport type.

And if your recipient is about to start living with roommates for the first time but wakes up to the slightest sound, the light sleeper gift basket idea might be the perfect solution for her/him.