Heading off to university is an incredibly exciting prospect, but an important part of the process is packing up the items you want to take with you. This can feel overwhelming, and might even cause you to feel anxious or nervous about going away to university, especially if you are moving far away, or it is your first time spending time away from home.
Taking the time to prepare and work out what you do and don’t want to take with you to university will make the packing and moving much easier, and will give you time to focus on spending time with your family and friends, as well as getting to know your new surroundings when you do arrive.
What do I need?
There are many things that you will need to take with you when you move to university. The sheer volume of items can feel formidable, and might make you hesitant to start the packing process. Beginning by writing a list can be really useful, because it means that you don’t have to remember everything, and can continue to add things as you go.
It can also be helpful to break down the items you need to take into the different rooms you will be living in. If you are living in halls of residence, plenty of the basic items will be provided for you, and some universities even offer packages for students to buy that include bedding, towels, and kitchen supplies. If you are moving into privately rented student accommodation, it is likely that your furniture will be provided, but you may need to bring more items. It is important to check this when you are signing your tenancy agreement, so that you know what to bring.
Below is a breakdown of the rooms you should think about, and an example of items you might want to add to your list.
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Most accommodation, whether it is halls of residence or privately rented, will provide most of the bedroom furniture, such as a bed, a desk, desk chair, wardrobe and chest of drawers. You may wish to bring additional furniture pieces, like a bedside table, but remember that your room might be a modest size, and you don’t want to overcrowd it with unnecessary items.
The most important things you should think about bringing are:
- Bedding – duvet, pillow, mattress protector, fitted sheets, duvet cover and pillow cases. You may also want to bring a mattress topper to make your mattress more comfortable, as well as at least one spare set of bedding, so that you don’t have to worry about getting bedding clean and dry in a short amount of time.
- Coat hangers – there probably won’t be any coat hangers provided in your wardrobe, so it would be useful to bring some with you. Your wardrobe space at university might not be as big as at home, so keep that in mind.
- Extension lead – this will be useful if you want to plug several things in in various places, as sockets might not be in the most convenient places in your room.
- Stationery – pens, pencils, notebooks, highlighters, ruler, scissors, stapler, and anything else you might require for your specific course.
- Electronics – laptop and charger, mobile phone and charger, headphones, USB stick, and any other items you might need for your course. You may also want to bring an extra reading lamp and desk fan.
- Medicine – this can include basic medicines like paracetamol and ibuprofen, as well as any specific medication you require. If your medication needs to be stored in a specific way, it is advisable that you discuss this with your university, as arrangements can be made for you.
- Washing detergent and cleaning products – most universities have washing machines in their halls of residence, either in each flat or in communal laundry rooms. It is advisable that you take your own washing detergent, as well as the facilities to dry any laundry that can’t go in a dryer. There are various useful concertina style clothes horses that can be stored easily in small spaces. You should also take some basic cleaning products for the areas of your residence that aren’t going to be cleaned by university cleaners.
- Important contacts – take a list of contact numbers with you, as a just in case. This will allow you to contact your family and friends if you have lost your phone, for example.
- Important paperwork – it is advisable to take some important paperwork that will make your life at university easier. These include your university acceptance letter, any information about your accommodation, student finance documents, a valid ID (such as a passport or driving licence), a document that has your address on so you can register with a GP, copies of any prescriptions you require.
READ MORE: City vs. Campus Universities
Whether you are sharing bathroom facilities or have your own bathroom at university, you will need to think about the toiletries you want to take with you. If you are sharing, you may wish to keep your toiletries in your room, at which point a caddy or something to carry your things to and from the bathroom.
Toiletries you should think about taking:
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash
- Body wash or shower gel
- Shaving razor and shaving cream
- Deodorant or antiperspirant
- Face wash and moisturiser
- Tampons, sanitary pads, any other period products
- Baby wipes
Most halls of residences provide a lot of the basic kitchen supplies you will need, so you most likely won’t need to take a fridge, toaster, kettle or microwave. Some halls have rules on appliances you aren’t allowed, such as rice cookers or deep fat fryers.
Space in your kitchen is likely to be minimal, as it will be shared with your flatmates. It is most common that each student gets a set of cupboards, or a certain area of the kitchen. Things you might want to take include:
- Crockery – plates and bowls that can go in the microwave are a good idea. You don’t need to take many, and it can be a good idea to scour charity shops for cheap options, as it’s not advisable to take your best china to university.
- Cutlery – take a couple of rounds of cutlery, and accept that various pieces may go missing, or you may end up with a mix and match of your flatmates cutlery.
- Mugs and glasses – same rule applies as the crockery, checking out charity shops or taking old glasses or mugs from home is a good idea.
- Cooking utensils – knives, a chopping board (maybe two if you plan to cook with raw meat), a small set of pans, baking tray, bottle opener, tin opener, vegetable peeler, cheese grater, measuring jug.
- Other useful items – cling film (or an eco alternative like bees wrap), tin foil, tea towels, tupperware, dish clothes and bin bags.
What don’t I need?
As previously mentioned, most universities and private landlords will provide the big furniture items, so you won’t need to think about those. Here are some common items that students consider taking, but might not need:
- Printer – unless you specifically need one, it is advisable to make use of the printers at your university.
- Suitcases – unless your parents are able to take them home once you have been dropped off, storing large suitcases can be cumbersome and difficult if you are dealing with a smaller space.
- Old study materials – it is unlikely that you will need physical copies of your previous academic work. If you think some of it might come in useful, take photos or scan it and store it online in an accessible place, such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
Once you have created your list, you can start to organise and collect the things you need, and tick off the items you have packed. Remember that things can be added as you go, and bear in mind that anything you forget can likely be purchased when you arrive, either from a shop or online. Taking your time and planning can make the packing and moving process much less stressful, so make a start as early as possible.
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