It is graduation season, which means that you are probably getting LOADS of grad party invites in the mail. The big question you are left with is “What gift should I bring?”. I always stress out over what to buy for presents and therefore, I decided to help all of you who are like me! In my opinion, the best gift you can buy for a grad is something practical that they will be able to use- a care package filled with survival essentials! Although this is focused for high school grads going to college, college grads will appreciate most of these items too!
Whether your grad is moving into a new dorm or apartment, they will appreciate the thought put into a bundle of goodies to get them started on their new journey! You can get pretty good quality items and a nice basket from the dollar tree and you can make a pretty good size gift basket for a steal!
You can do a themed basket like kitchen or bathroom essentials or you can do a mixed basket of goodies! I have decided to break down my list of essentials into similar categories so you can choose what type of basket you want to make or pick items from each category to make a variety basket! Here are a few ideas of things you could include- all from the Dollar Tree:
These laundry baskets are 17″ in diameter so they would be perfect to fill up with lots of goodies! You can stuff it with some tissue paper to fill up the base and lace some ribbon around it with a bow to add an extra personal touch! Your grad will love that she can use this as a laundry basket or storage bin in her dorm or apartment also! These come in white too or you can choose a smaller style if you are going to buy all small items!
Your grad will soon realize that
Most of my college kitchen utensils were purchased at the Dollar Tree and I packed them to use in my new apartment because they are all still in good condition! The Betty Crocker line is my favorite! Here are a few of my favorite pieces:
I swear by these scissors! These are the best scissors I have ever used hands down! These are great to include because they can use them for regular scissors and kitchen scissors!
I have heard GREAT things about these ice cube trays! They are silicone in the bottom so you can easily pop the ice out! If your grad is moving into a freshman dorm without AC, he/she will be especially grateful to you for this gift!
These are a few other utensils that I have needed along the way that I never packed for college and needed to buy after! They may seem insignificant but your grad will be thankful when they make a pizza and realize they wouldn’t have been able to cut it without your thoughtful gift (I’ve been there!). I had a teacher in high school tell me that she bought cookies in college to make with her friends and when they got back to the dorm, they realized that none of them had a baking sheet which is probably the worst thing that could ever happened!
I had these paper plate holders in college and I loved them! Young adults LOVE plastic cups and paper plates although it’s horrible for the environment. College studying leaves little time to do dishes so we always result to the loyal paper plate. Your grad will love these! You can also get them a 40 ct. pack of plates too for $1.
Pot holders are another thing that I forgot when packing for college and it is not fun trying to come up with a substitute!
The flu spreads like the plague in college so it’s important to stay healthy and hand sanitizer is key! I always had one of these in my backpack!
I can’t even tell you how many of these loofahs I went through during my college career! You can never have too many stashed!
I used these bath salts last week for a foot bath and the lavender one smelled amazing! Your grad will appreciate your thoughtfulness and will enjoy spoiling herself after a stressful exam! Dollar Tree also has these dish pans that are perfect size for a foot soak!
A girl can NEVER have enough bobby pins! I swear dorm rooms eat them. I went through probably three of these packages throughout college. Dollar Tree has all sorts of other clips and hair ties to choose from.
Like I said before, sickness spreads like the plague in college so your grad will love you when he/she gets a sore throat and needs these cough drops.
Unlike high school, college classrooms don’t have tissues! I had to find this out the hard way. That being said, these Kleenex go packs will be a life saver for your grad! They also have a generic brand that has 2 more packs in it!
These shower caddies are perfect for college! I had a huge caddy my freshman year and ended up downgrading to this one and it fit my shampoo, conditioner, body wash, salt scrub, toothpaste and toothbrush and loofah perfectly!
These ceramic magnets come with sayings that grads will love! They will be the perfect addition to their 3.0 cu ft refrigerator and will make it feel a little more like home!
These wall plaques are so cute and will be a cute addition to any dorm room! I would buy all four so she can place them around the room so there is a constant theme!
These white hooks are perfect to hang over your door or even off the end of your bed! It has enough hooks for a towel, coat, backpack and more!
I LOVE these drawers! I am actually going to go pick some up for myself! I have seen these other places and they have been pricey but for a dollar, these are a steal! Your grad will love these for desk organization and they can decorate them with scrapbook paper and Washi tape too to personalize them if they wish or keep them clear for a glam look!
School Supplies and Miscellaneous
I loved my mini stapler in college! I always kept it in my backpack and it came in handy so many times! Professors always print things and hand them out without staples and sometimes the staplers in the library are empty and you have a professor who won’t accept a paper that isn’t stapled. I’ve saved other people’s lives with this too!
I love these metal clips to close up my cereal or chip bags and keep them from going stale. Snacking is a way of life in college and these will definitely be appreciated by your grad, especially if she is an organizer like me.
Thumb tacks are a must have in college. Most dorms have a corkboard outside your door or in the rooms. My freshman dorm actually had a corkboard wall! Us college students use tacks to hang things too (shh..) because command hooks are so costly. Tacks work like a charm when trying to hang a picture frame too! They also have these cute colorful tacks too!
This poster tack is great for hanging up posters on the wall and will work for other small wall decorations as well!
These small battery operated desk fans would be a God send for any grad who is going to be living without AC too! I have never tried them but for a dollar, it’s worth a shot!
These small notebooks are perfect for storing important notes or to be used as a journal by your grad! These are too cute to pass up!
These magnetic notepad is so cute for to do or grocery lists and your grad can hang it on their mini fridge!
College students binge on snacks because sometimes the D-Hall food just isn’t offering anything good or you’re up late studying and the dining options are closed. My favorite snacks as a student were: Easy Mac, Ramen Noodles, Special K bars, cereal, almonds, trail mix, pretzels, Nakd Nibbles, and fruit snacks! I always brought snacks to class too, especially labs or double sessions.
Dry erase or cork boards, mirrors, towels, Washi tape, lamps, small rugs, any dinnerware or utensils, Clorox wipes (these were my go to product for cleaning), lint roller, command hooks, flip flops (for shower shoes), band aids/first aid kit and throw pillows or blankets. These may not be at the Dollar Tree but can be purchased cheaply elsewhere.
I hope you enjoyed this post! I truly believe that the best grad gift is a basket of goodies like I outlined above! Having just finished 4 years of college and graduating, I know that these items will be much appreciated by any college students! If you have any other ideas for care packages, leave a comment below!
Thank you for reading!
x, Chelsea Raymond
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