What Should I Pack to Live in a Sober House?

When you are considering moving into a sober living house, you have a lot of questions and what follows are some pretty general guidelines. For specifics, you should contact the sober living home in which you intend to stay. Many homes have very specific rules that may be unexpected, so it’s best to check before you travel to the facility.

If you are entering a sober home because you have just completed inpatient rehab, you are likely already accustomed to travelling light. This won’t be much different. The same is true if you are homeless. But, if you are transitioning into sober housing while you do outpatient work or after outpatient treatment, you might not be quite ready to streamline what you pack.

Keep in mind that sober living houses have been shown to improve the residents’ chances of improved sobriety and employment.

If you need help finding a sober living situation, get help today at 800-953-3913 (Who Answers?).


When you pack your clothing, you need to keep two things in mind:

  • Weather
  • Setting
Live in a Sober House

Consider the season and house setting when packing your clothes.

So, if the house has access to a pool and it’s summer, bring an appropriate suit. If it’s winter and you might get to go to the snow or you will be in a setting with snow, bring your snow gear. In order to get the most possible use with the least clothing packed, go for items that can be layered.

Laundry services are typically offered at the home. This should allow you to pack fewer items of clothing.

Clothing will be the bulk of your packing. Be sure to pack an amount that is appropriate to the length of your stay.

Why all the pressure about how much you are packing? You don’t know how much storage you will get. If you share your room, you may also share a dresser. You may not have closet space.

Be sure to bring:

  • Shoes: be prepared to bring more than one pair. For time in the home, you may need slippers or shower shoes. For athletics, bring gym shoes. For daily use, bring a comfortable pair. For possible interviews and employment, bring a pair that matches your dressier clothes.
  • Undergarments
  • Socks
  • Pajamas and bathrobe
  • Shirts: with no drug or alcohol references
  • Pants
  • Coat

You may also consider packing:

  • Belt
  • Shorts (keep it appropriate, no short shorts)
  • Skirt (knee length or longer)
  • Dress
  • Bathing suit (one piece for women, shorts for men)
  • Something fancy


Because you are living out of the sober house, you should bring items that you will need for day to day living, including:

  • A small amount of cash: perhaps you will need it for laundry or other considerations
  • Your checkbook or debit/credit card: you will need to pay rent and/or fees
  • Cell phone: this is a good place to store the names, addresses, and phone numbers of people you want to be involved in your sober living
  • A notebook or journal
  • An alarm clock: these may be provided
  • Something that makes you happy: pictures of loved ones or a favorite toy for example
  • Bedding: sheets and blankets
  • Towels
  • Pillows
  • Books: even if you aren’t a big reader, you will need a way to entertain yourself while you are at the house

What you Need to Bring with you When you go to Live in a Sober House


You will, most likely, be sharing your bathroom. In this case, be sure to bring a shower caddy.


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash: it must not have alcohol as an ingredient
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Brush or comb
  • Shaving cream
  • Razor
  • Sunscreen
  • Lotion
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Makeup


Each house will also have a list of items that may not be brought into the house. Bringing in one of the items can be enough to have you booted from the house. Don’t risk it.

If the house doesn’t allow something, you need to refrain from packing it. Trying to sneak it in may break a rule and get you booted from the home.

  • Inappropriate Clothing: Drug or alcohol “logo” clothing
  • Expensive jewelry: the house is usually not responsible for loss or theft
  • Furniture: it will all be provided
  • Pornographic materials
  • Weapons: guns, knives, pepper spray
  • Any unauthorized medications: including steroids
  • Over the counter medications (including sleep) and Schedule II controlled substances
  • Pre-workout supplements containing high caffeine levels
  • Diet pills

Keep in mind that individual houses will allow additional items that are relevant to their program. For example, a sober living house that allows access to many sporting activities may invite you to bring your equipment.

A sober house could be just the thing your recovery needs to succeed. For assistance in finding a treatment program in which you can later transition into sober living, get help today at 800-953-3913 (Who Answers?).

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: ARK Behavioral Health, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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