Labeling Your Stuff for College

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Originally published July 21, 2014 and updated June 27, 2022.

I received free products from Kidecal for the original post. All opinions are always my own.

Labeling your stuff for college is one of the many things you need to do when heading off to college campuses. As a professional organizer that has sent three of my children off to college far from home, I’ve collected my best tips and 20+ recommendations for custom labels to share with you.

variety of items on table with white monogramed labels and sheet of labels nearby.

You may have guessed that this month’s theme at Organized 31 is Getting Ready for College (can you tell that is my main focus these days?).  As parents, we all labeled our preschool and elementary school aged children’s stuff that they took to school, but often we forget how important it is for college students, too.  Labeling your stuff for college makes your life much easier (and gives mama something to do to keep her mind distracted from the thought that her baby is leaving the nest).

We’ve been gathering the items that my daughter will be taking with her to college.  As we looked at our growing pile of stuff, we realized that labeling the items would help for 3 reasons.

  • Keep track of her items in a much too small dorm room with a roommate.
  • Keep track of her items in a dorm room with a shared bathroom.
  • Make it easier at the end of the year when packing to go home since there will be no debating which items are my daughter’s.

Frequently Asked Questions about Labels for College Students

You may think that labeling items is only for elementary school or summer camp, but it’s just as important for young adults living in a dorm room with roommates or residential houses.

Sheet of white and grey monogrammed labels on table with scattered items labeled.

Why label items for college

  • Labeling helps identify items that you don’t really want to share, like a water bottle, cup or hairbrush.
  • Labeling helps prevent honest confusion over a borrowed or misplaced item.
  • Labeling helps deter sticky-fingered roommates or friends from “borrowing” your stuff.
  • Helps when young people have to wash their clothes in shared laundry rooms.
  • Labeling helps prevent arguments between roommates.
  • Warning labels may be needed for medical items taken to college.
Close up of white label with grey initials on red suitcase.

How to label stuff for college

  • Make a list of items you want to label. You can use the list below to help you create your own list.
  • Find the appropriate type of label for each item. Different labels are need for different surfaces, for example, hard surfaces or fabric.
  • Determine the size labels you need for the items you want to identify. If you purchase labels, be sure to look for ones that come in different sizes that will meet your needs.
  • Decide what to include on labels.
    • Name
    • Initials
    • Phone number
    • Other critical information
  • Different ways to label items:
    • Purchase preprinted labels. My favorite options are listed below.
    • Use a permanent marker.
    • Print labels from your printer. Be sure to look for labels appropriate for different surfaces, for example clothing labels.
    • Use a label maker.
    • Create vinyl labels.
    • Purchase customizable vinyl labels.

The images of labeling products are clickable Amazon links.

five labeling markers in black, white, red, blue, and yellow.
Package of six Sharpie markers of various thicknesses.
set of six markers in black, purple, green, blue, and red.
green package of file folder labels.
green package of printable vinyl labels.
sheet of white rectangle labels.
package of white fabric labels.
package of fabric labels.
package with graphic images of colorful kids tops.
white and grey label maker with 3 different color labels.
silver and grey label maker with 3 blue label rolls.
turquoise cube with black circle and white labels.

Labeling Your Stuff for College

Items to label for College

Here’s just a small selection of items we chose to label.

red suitcase, plastic tote, blue water bottle, clock, stapler, flashlight, notebook and calculator on wood table.
  • Clothes
  • Coats
  • Personal items that might be mistakenly borrowed
  • Backpack
  • Suitcases
  • Notebooks
  • Higher prices items
  • Laptop
  • Calculator
  • Phone charger
  • Water bottle
  • Sports equipment
  • Bike or skateboard

Best Label Products

These are some of my favorite labels for college students, younger children and high school students. Choose the best option for your needs.

Mabel’s Labels – Offers you levels of customization with different graphic designs, colors, fonts, shapes and sizes.

Personalized waterproof labels with two lines of text. Comes in a variety of colors and sizes.

sheet of small colorful labels.

Durable Name Bubbles Labels come in 15 different colors with 8 different font options.

green and blue tie dye style label with black text.

Custom vinyl waterproof labels. Available in 3 different sizes and 8 different shapes.

turquoise rectangular label with red and black text.

Don’t miss my 30+ best tips for college success from my personal experiences sending 3 children to college.

Be sure to pin these labels for college students to you can find them again in the future when you need them.

You can find all our best college related ideas in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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  1. I love these labels and I love the idea of making sure that your dorm mates can’t get sticky fingers! I can’t tell you how many items we had to replace while my daughter was in college!

  2. My daughter is heading interstate for college next year (hopefully she will get into her preferred course!) so I am already thinking about these sorts of things. Thanks for the suggestions!

    If you have a minute to spare I’d be thrilled if you could share your post at my weekly Say G’Day Saturday linky party. It has just started and this would be a fabulous addition.

    Best wishes for a great weekend.
    Natasha in Oz

  3. Pingback: How to Buy Products Made in America | Hellbilly Mama Blog

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