Make a DIY College Survival Kit With Dollar Tree Items

As an Amazon Associate, Hip2Save earns a small commission from qualifying purchases in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here.

More Free Printables

Make your own college survival kit to send them back to school with all the essentials!

diy college survival kit from dollar tree items

Know a high school graduate heading off to college soon?

Consider making a fun DIY College Survival Kit gift basket and then attaching our free printable card! I went to Dollar Tree for filler items, but you can create a simple gift basket with items you think your recipient will both need and love. I remember how bummed I was in college to have to spend and budget for essentials like soap, detergent, toothpaste, and batteries for the first time. My freshmen college roommate received a gift basket like this, and I remember being kind of jealous at the time! 😂

This is such an exciting time in a young person’s life, and receiving a thoughtful gift like this is special and also easy to accomplish at any price point.

dollar tree shopping cart with gift basket items

Make a super affordable gift basket from Dollar Tree!

Dollar tree has inexpensive snacks and practical items to fill a gift basket for college students, including large baskets to use as containers! I scored everything pictured below at Dollar Tree for about $13!

Hip Tip: If you are wanting to make multiple baskets for graduation gifts, consider shopping for personal care, cleaning supplies, snacks, and more in bulk.

supplies for college survival kit graduation gift basket

Here are some fun college survival kit ideas to consider:

    • flip flops for shower shoes
    • earplugs and sleeping masks
    • laundry detergent/dryer sheets
    • laundry basket/laundry bags
    • hangers
    • snack food items like Ramen noodles & microwave popcorn
    • shower gel and loofah
    • coffee mugs/cups and instant coffee
    • hand soap/hand sanitizer
    • personal care items like deodorant, toothpaste, etc.
    • tools, flashlight, batteries
    • First Aid kit with bandages and pain reliever

college survival kit

attaching a ribbon to gift basket

DIY College Survival Kit


Supplies Needed



Print the card and attach it to the basket using tape.


Fill the basket with all your goodies.


Cover the basket with clear cellophane and attach a bow or ribbon.

college survival kit gift basket for grads

This is such a thoughtful and practical gift idea!

Other than gift cards or cash, I honestly struggle with what to give as graduation gifts. A gift basket doesn’t cost much, but it can mean so much to someone that you thought of them!

Check out 7 more frugal graduation gift ideas HERE!

About the writer:

Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 11 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.

Join The Discussion

Comments 12

  1. acgold

    I do big laundry baskets filled with all the above, plus pens ( everyone thinks they only need their computers!), deodorant, condoms, hot chocolate and oatmeal packs.

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      That’s a great pack to give! I’m sure they love them, acgold!

    • dealzgurl

      Very practical! I’m sure some would take issue with the condoms but might as well be realistic.

      • Kathleen

        I agree! So many parents don’t talk to their kids about safe sex practices, but it’s so important for them to keep in mind, especially during college!

  2. acgold

    FYI- I ask all the parents before I add the condoms. But I am realistic! All the kids have great relationships with their parents and me. They are very educated about the world! I would rather them be safe then sorry! They get a little embarrassed and a good laugh, and they will always remember me and their gift!

  3. shop4mybabies

    I made these kits for my sons friends when they all left the state for College. Not from the dollar tree but just thinks for life. Can openers, condoms, flip flops (for the shared showers), their own towels and cleaning products. When they all got to school every few weeks I’d get a text cause they’d used another item they thought they’d never need. (not the condoms lol)

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      That’s such a great idea! Love the can opener – good one! Ha

  4. Lana

    Make it in a sturdy square basket and not a cheapo DT one that will not last more than a few weeks. A square basket is a more efficient use of space and kids without cars don’t need to be left with a broken laundry basket a few weeks into school.

  5. kmark

    I did this and it’s allwayssss a hit!!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh yay! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. acgold

    Since I first commented, I have added a few other things, since the weather has been crazy where some of the kids go to school. A flashlight with batteries ( better than the one on the phone), fully charged power packs for their phones or computers, ziplock bags to hold some valuables, body wipes. All in case the power goes out- which it has.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Ohhh yes great ideas! Especially the charger packs. Thank you for sharing these.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

It's not your Grandma's coupon site!

Sign up for a Hip2Save account (it's free) to access all of the awesome features!

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot Password

Don't have an account? Register

Become a Hip2Save Insider

Don't Miss Out! Join our large community of insiders - it's totally free! Once you join, you'll be able to save & share your favorite deals, rate posts and recipes and add items to your HipList and Cookbook! What are ya waiting for?!

Already have an account? Login

Thank you for rating!

Would you also like to leave us a comment?