If you’re leaving the comfort of home for your first university accommodation, deciding what to pack can be a little overwhelming. You might be tempted to take an “everything but the kitchen sink” approach, but that could leave you with a cluttered space full of items you hardly use.
Packing too much is a common first-year mistake, so make a checklist beforehand to make sure you’ve got all the essentials. Remember, if you forget any “extras”, you’ll be able to stock up in your new uni town, or when you go home for the holidays.
Some cities are more affordable for students than others – Edinburgh, Birmingham, Brighton and Aberdeen are among some of the cheapest student hubs in the UK, so you can easily do your shopping once you arrive. While a city like London may be more expensive, there are loads of ways to live more affordably in the capital as a student, so you can get what you need.
How to Pack for University
Your university packing checklist should include the following categories:
- Bedroom essentials
- Toiletries and bathroom essentials
- Kitchen essentials
- Stationery and study essentials
Draw up a checklist or spreadsheet with these categories, and keep it handy while you pack, to make sure you won’t be stuck without the most essential items when your uni year kicks off.
Remember, if you’re staying in student accommodation, you’ll enjoy loads of perks, like the option to order bedding and kitchen packs at a discount.
What Documents will you Need for Uni?
You’ll need to bring your documents with you to complete the registration process when you get to campus. Be sure to pack the following:
- ID document or passport
- Passport photos for your student ID
- Any relevant admission acceptance letters
- Your accommodation contract
- Any relevant finance or bursary documents
- Insurance documents
- Copies of any medical prescriptions you might need
You wouldn’t leave home without your mobile – but what other devices should you be taking with you?
- Your laptop, and a case if you’re planning to carry it to class
- USB memory stick
- Headphones (a great study aid, and an excellent way to make sure you won’t bother your roommate with your favourite jams)
- Ethernet cable
- Recreational gadgets like your e-reader, console or tablet
- Don’t forget your chargers!
What Clothes to Pack for University
We wouldn’t dream of dictating your fashion choices, but here are a few things every student wardrobe should include:
- Everyday clothes: These will depend on the climate and the season. Make sure you have a choice of a few comfortable, practical outfits you can cycle through during the week.
- Good walking shoes: You’ll be glad to have a good quality pair of sneakers when you’re making the long trek across campus or dashing between lectures.
- Activewear: You might not be planning to join a sports team, but it’s good to have some comfortable clothes for jogging and working out.
- Smart clothes: A smarter outfit is good to have in case of interviews, career days or “formal” socials.
- Pyjamas, a dressing gown and slippers: Bring along some cosy sleepwear so you won’t be caught short in case of a middle-of-the-night fire drill.
- Socks and underwear: Pack a bunch of these for those inevitable busy weeks when laundry doesn’t get done.
- Flip flops: A must-have for communal showers.
- Fancy dress accessories: Freshers’ Week typically includes a lot of fancy dress events, so packing a few bits and pieces from home will save you from having to track down a costume shop and spend money on dressing up.
Remember to take along some coat hangers and a foldable laundry hamper, to prevent closet chaos.
Bedroom, Bathroom and Kitchen Essentials
What you pack for your living quarters will depend on the type of setup offered at your uni.
Bedroom essentials you will need:
- Duvet and pillows
- Sheets, pillowcases and mattress protector
- A wall clock or alarm clock
- A desk lamp
- Laundry essentials like a clothes hamper
- Sentimental items like photo frames, books and keepsakes
Avoid bringing décor like candles and incense, which are usually considered a fire hazard.
When it comes to bathroom essentials, find out beforehand if you’ll be sharing or have your own facilities. In addition to your usual toiletries and cosmetics, it helps to have:
- At least two towels and face flannels (it helps to have clean spares)
- A toothbrush holder
- Hand wash or hand soap
- A soap dish
- Air freshener
Here’s what you can bring to make sure you’d got everything you need handy:
- A bowl, a plate and a set of cutlery
- Coffee mugs
- Plastic drinking cups
- A sharp knife
- A bottle opener
- A can opener
If you’re going to be doing your own cooking, you’ll need some pots, pans and utensils. You may also need cleaning supplies, although some uni halls do offer a regular cleaning service.
These will depend on the kind of courses you’re taking, but the basics include:
- Diary or daily planner
- A notebook
- Black/blue pens
- Page tabs
- Specific items for your course, like a calculator, art supplies etc.
If you’re wondering what to pack for university, this guide is a great place to start to get you on the right track.