Choosing Rehab Clothing: The Ultimate Packing Checklist for Inpatient Treatment


Over 1.3 million Americans enter a rehab facility each year to fight an addiction. If you’re among them, you deserve congratulations for taking this important and brave first step towards sobriety.

You may also be wondering exactly what you should bring with you for your stay in rehab. While this varies by treatment center, we’ve pulled together a general list to give you an idea of what to take with you—and what you should leave at home.

Here’s everything you need to know about what to pack for rehab clothing.

The Basics: Rehab Clothing to Bring

First, it’s a good idea to contact your rehab facility to learn specifically what they recommend packing for your stay and so that you’ll know what’s prohibited. Most centers are more than happy to provide all incoming clients with a list of recommended items.

Your basic clothing items should be comfortable, modest, and appropriate for the weather and climate where the rehab facility is located. Pack pieces that layer well so you can adjust easily to areas that are too cool or warm and so you’ll be comfortable during outdoor activities. 

How much clothing and accessories to bring also depends on how long you’ll be staying in rehab. Space in your room may be limited, so don’t go overboard. You’ll have access to a laundry room, so don’t worry about running out of clean underwear and other items.

You should plan on packing the following from your wardrobe:

  • At least a few long sleeved and short sleeved t-shirts.
  • A few sweaters, pullovers, or jackets for layering. Even if it’s the middle of summer, there may be areas of the building where the air conditioning makes you chilly.
  • Jeans, sweats, chinos, and other comfortable casual pants
  • Underwear and undergarments
  • Socks
  • Swimwear if your rehab facility has a pool.
  • Sleepwear, slippers, and a robe.
  • Comfortable footwear such as sneakers or walking shoes—you may be on your feet doing chores such as cleaning or tidying up or participating in physical activities.
  • Flip flops for the shower.
  • Shorts for a warm weather stay (check with the facility first to make sure they’re permitted.)
  • Fitness and outdoor clothing that stretches wicks away moisture, and moves with you when you do, particularly if the facility offers adventure therapy and other physical activities.
  • One or two slightly more formal outfits that you can wear for family night or other occasions where loved ones come to visit.
  • Sunglasses and a hat to shield yourself from the sun.

If you’re entering rehab in a cold climate during the winter, you’ll want to bring warm winter accessories such as a coat, gloves, water-resistant boots, and a hat in case you venture outside.

Generally, it’s a good idea to avoid bringing clothing that’s too tight or revealing or that displays alcohol or drug paraphernalia. Even if you’re not entering rehab for drug or alcohol abuse, the imagery can remind others of what they’re battling.

Non-Clothing Items You May Need

In addition to clothing, there are other necessities you will need. These include the following:

  • A photo ID.
  • Toiletries including soap, shaving products, skin care products, your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, and makeup.
  • Any medical equipment you use regularly including a CPAP machine, eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, and dentures.
  • Hair care products including a hairdryer and hot iron.
  • Sentimental jewelry that you wear every day, such as a wedding ring or watch. Valuable pieces should be left at home.
  • A favorite pillow or throw to help make the bed feel more like yours at home.
  • Electronics and mobile devices may or may not be allowed depending upon the facility, so check before bringing your phone or laptop.
  • A journal or notebook—you may need these for getting your feelings out in between therapy sessions.
  • Reading materials are optional, as your facility may provide them. Check to see what is permitted first. Self-help and spiritual books are usually encouraged.
  • Photos of loved ones that you can display in your room.
  • Stamps and envelopes in case you want to mail letters.
  • Any prescription medicines and natural supplements that you take.
  • The names, phone numbers, and email addresses of family members, friends, or sponsors that may become involved in your recovery.
  • At least $50 broken out into small denominations that you can use for vending machines and store runs. You should also take along a credit or debit card and your checkbook in case you need to pay for medication.

Many facilities provide an alarm clock, but check with your rehab center to make sure you don’t have to pack one.

Leave These Items at Home

Then there are the items that should be left at home or that rehab, in general, doesn’t allow. There are exceptions so again, check with your particular facility to be sure.

  • Cigarettes (including electronic ones), cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and vaping products. Smoking and consumption of tobacco products may not be allowed on the premises, but you may be able to smoke outside.
  • It goes without saying that marijuana usually isn’t allowed, even if it’s legal in the state the rehab facility is located in. Any illicit substances aren’t allowed.
  • Fragrances and colognes—other patients may be allergic to them.
  • Food and drink. As part of the rehab process, your facility will serve healthy, balanced meals that you should stick to.
  • Weapons.
  • Alcohol-based mouthwash, as it can tempt those with alcohol addiction.
  • Pornography.
  • Gambling devices.
  • Your pets, even if they’re a therapy or emotional support animal. Pets, in general, aren’t allowed at most rehab facilities.

If you’re unsure of a particular item to bring, contact the rehab facility to double-check.

Getting Ready For Your Rehab Stay

Knowing what to pack for rehab clothing is one way to prepare yourself for your inpatient stay and ease any jitters you have.

Want to learn more about what a rehab stay may entail? Here’s what to expect from inpatient drug treatment and what a typical day may be like.

References:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/452526/number-of-substance-abuse-treatment-clients-in-the-us/

https://www.addictioncenter.com/rehab-questions/what-to-bring-to-rehab/

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