You’re about to move to university, but your parents are acting like you’re moving to another planet, loading you up with everything including the kitchen sink.
Don’t panic, we’ve got your back with some top tips from current students on what you do and don’t need to bring – so you can tell mum that spare portion of frozen casserole really isn’t necessary.
What to pack for uni 🎓
Before you start your packing, check out the accommodation details on your university’s website if you’re moving into halls as these will usually outline what cooking equipment and other items are already in place, such as a toaster, ironing board and desk lamp.
Then, pack a mattress topper, says Hayley Snell, who is in her second year at the University of Leicester. “It was my saviour! It made the bed much more comfortable, and I’m so glad that I thought to take it with me,” she says.
Meanwhile Sarah Massey, who’s in her second year at the University of York, recommends packing an emergency medicine box so you don’t have to leave your bedroom if illness strikes. “Paracetamol and flu medicine are definitely a necessity,” she says. “The combination of fresher’s flu and a constant hangover are not a pleasant mix.”
Student accommodation isn’t known for its luxury, so Aisja Mahmood, who’s in her second year at the University of Cambridge, recommends packing a warm dressing gown. “It’s basically a wearable blanket that will get you through dodgy heating, revision sessions, middle of the night fire alarms and getting to and from indoor communal spaces in the winter,” she says. She also recommends packing a laundry bag or basket for carrying clothes to the launderette and keeping your small living space tidy.
If you’re about to move straight into a house rather than halls, Beth Mahoney, who is about to start her Masters at the University of Exeter, recommends setting up a Whatsapp group with your future housemates if possible. She did this as a fresher to organise household essentials when she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Gloucestershire and says it proved invaluable.
“We discussed who was going to bring what, and which items would be personal items and which would be shared. For instance, we all packed our own plates, cutlery, and pans, but agreed to share mugs, glasses, cleaning supplies, toilet rolls, and a toaster and kettle,” she says.
Space may be limited but Beth and Sarah both recommend packing a few personal decorations to make your new room feel homely, such as pictures of family and friends, fairy lights and a pot plant.
We’d also recommend spare clothes hangers (because who can survive with four?) and playing cards (so you’re the King/Queen of pre-drinks on the first night).
And what to leave at home 🏠
Although it’s tempting to go wild in IKEA, Sarah recommends resisting elaborate cooking utensils. “Multiple saucepans, frying pans and oven dishes are simply not necessary, frankly your just going to be cooking pasta anyways so there isn’t much point in all the fancy equipment,” she says.
She also advises leaving some of your clothes at home before you’ve properly assessed the wardrobe situation, as well as ditching any unnecessary packaging, such as packets for new duvet covers. “Duvets and bedding can be pre-made and transported as one, saving hassle,” she adds.
Meanwhile Hayley wishes she’d left her TV at home during her first year. “By the third week I realised that it was completely useless because I used my laptop to watch everything on and there wasn’t an aerial in my room anyway. I didn’t want to buy one so took it back home at Christmas,” she says.
But as Aisja points out, the most important thing to remember when doing your uni packing is that university towns do have shops.
“In my opinion, the best way to not overspend or clutter your room during packing is to keep a budget aside for after you move and buy things as and when you need them instead,” she says.
“Once you’re in your room and familiar with the space, you’ll know what you need and what you don’t. As long as you have the basic toiletries, food, bedding, documents and clothes, everything else can be bought because...uni towns still have shops! Also Amazon and home delivery exists, you will not go without if you forget to pack.”