university packing

Everything You NEED (and Will Probably Forget!) To Pack For University

Published: 23/07/2021

Ready to embark on your next big adventure? Freshers’ Week is just around the corner, which means it’s not long now before the mammoth mission of moving out of home begins! 

Upping sticks to university is an exciting yet somewhat daunting task, particularly for those who haven’t spent much time away from family before - and that’s before the pressures of packing have even begun! It can be hard to know what to bring with you and even harder to make sacrifices when you simply can’t stuff anything else into your car, so how do you whittle down that uni checklist while making sure you’re still taking everything you need?

No need to panic, as we’re here to help make your packing process a breeze! In this blog, we’ll walk you through a range of rooms that you’re likely to come across in halls of residence, highlighting our top recommendations for each area along the way. Going beyond the typical checklist, we’ll show you some items that are easily forgotten (yet essential) to help enhance your uni experience for the better. In other words, move over notebooks and noodles… our groovy gadgets and gizmos are in town!

Kitting out your kitchen

kitchen moving

When thinking about kitting out your kitchen, you probably think of all the obvious appliances, tools, and devices that we’ve come to expect from traditional ‘uni packing lists’, right? Here’s a secret for all savvy students: don’t bother! If you’re thinking about bringing those, so is everyone else, and you’ll probably end up with the same six kettles, graters, baking trays, and sieves, rather than the things you really need as a flat (bottle openers, we’re looking at you!). So, unless you’re going to be living on your own, it’s best to opt for the accessories that others are likely to overlook. 

Let’s start with utensils. Though they may seem pretty trivial, easy-to-forget items like garlic presses, weighing scales, measuring jugs, and mixing bowls can actually make a huge difference when it comes to cooking and baking. Whether you’re measuring out your protein shake quantities in the morning, preparing a fresh batch of brownies for your housemate’s birthday celebrations, or inventing a new culinary creation to impress your significant other, these nifty unsung heroes are an absolute must! 

Easy recipe books, like Joy May’s famous Nosh for Students, could make another super handy addition to your kitchen. If you’re new to the world of homemade cuisine, or simply need some guidance when it comes to indulgent gastronomy, this is the resource for you. Last but not least… sticky notes. Yes, you’ll probably need these in your dorm room too, but it doesn’t hurt to politely remind people not to steal your milk in the fridge (or worse… your beloved cheese!). 

Dolling up your dorm room

dormitory moving in

As with kitchens, the majority of your dorm room essentials are pretty self-explanatory. Spare sheets, speakers, battery-powered fairy lights, scatter cushions, cables… they’re practically compulsory when it comes to student accommodation. So what are the forgotten add-ons that will truly help to maximise space in your home away from home? 

First, it’s the humble hanging shoe rack. Incredibly easy to transport and set up, these unsung saviours can be suspended from doors and wardrobes alike, removing any need for superfluous storage units and hefty footwear cabinets. Not solely reserved for shoes either, they can also be used to house all manner of bulky domestic accessories too, including small bags, sets of keys, belts, and winter warmers. If you have room under your bed, extra storage boxes can also come in handy, and will help to keep your spare seasonal clothes and soft furnishings (like blankets) safe in the warmer months of the year. 

In terms of décor, sometimes it’s the little things that can truly enhance a space. Lamps (desk, floor, or otherwise) are a great alternative to harsh spotlights in the evenings, and can really help to set the ambiance of your bedroom in a calm and cosy fashion. You probably won’t be allowed real candles in your boudoir, but these flickering LED models are just as snug and welcoming if the tranquil aesthetic takes your fancy. 

Or, if it's multifunctional accessories you’re looking for, how about a collage cork board? Great for pinning photos of all your friends and family (including those life-long buddies you’re bound to find at uni), they’re extremely versatile and will probably help with your time-keeping and organisation (hello hanging calendar!). You could even attach all those important documents you’ve probably forgotten to pack, like ID, acceptance letters, Student Finance papers, and bank details.

Next on the list? Mattress toppers. Let’s face it, halls of residence furniture is not the most comfortable gear in the world, so anything you can add that’ll soften the hard exterior is certainly worth investing in. Create your very own den of zen with this reversible Sherpa model, and never worry about those irritating bed springs again! 

Mini first aid kits (or ‘hangover cures’, as we like to call them) are another must-have when it comes to dorm room necessities. Fab as gifts for your loved ones, or relatively inexpensive donations to yourself, these post-party supplies are complete life-savers when you’re comatose and *gasp* LATE for a 9am lecture! No alarm clock is going to help with that headache… trust us. Get a Berocca down you, and it’ll be noon before you know it!

Laundry? It’s not as hard as you think… we promise!

Uni laundry

What to pack for university? It’s an age-old question, and one that doesn’t tend to involve anything to do with laundry. If you’re anything like us, dirty washing is not a primary concern when it comes to eleventh-hour packing, so it’s certainly worth considering the essentials before the boxing begins… unless you fancy dodging piles of smelly outfits for the next few months! 

First, think about what you’ll need when taking your clothing to the nearest machines. If you’re likely to leave it weeks between each wash, it’s best to invest in a large, lightweight, heavy-duty bag or basket that can be easily transported to and from the laundry room. No one wants to be carrying cumbersome containers around campus (it’s literally the definition of airing your dirty laundry!), so make sure your sack is either closable or relatively discrete. 

Another useful item to contemplate is a miniature Tupperware box (or selection of little cases) to hold your washing powder, fabric conditioner, and other sweet-smelling solutions and detergents. Multi-use packets tend to be fairly hefty and awkward to hold, particularly if your basket is in the way, so decant your accoutrements into smaller vessels before popping to the laundry room. We also recommend these handy cloth bags to hold and protect any delicates from heat damage or tears, and this assortment of Dettol wipes to cleanse the drum pre-wash. This isn’t essential, but it could help to give you peace of mind if hygiene is a concern. 

If you’re unlikely to use a tumble dryer, or simply don’t have the facilities, you’ll definitely need an airer. Convenient, compact, and practical, these foldable fittings are incredibly useful when it comes to wet clothing, and can be easily collapsed and stored again as soon as your washing is ready. Hanging radiator alternatives are equally useful in smaller rooms, and can help to give your damp garments an extra kick of warmth in cooler weather.

Academic accessories

girl on bed with laptop taking notes

If you’re truly stuck for inspiration regarding what to take to uni, your academic accessories are a pretty good place to start. Chances are, you’ve been through the last-minute school or college ‘I need a pencil case, lunch box, and new stationery NOW’ early-September scenario many times before, so you should have some idea of what the essentials are by now. But what else can you get to make your life that much easier?

Regardless of your writing speed (not to mention number of pages in your notebook), an electronic dictaphone could become your new best friend during lectures and seminars combined. If you find it difficult to keep up with your tutor’s comments, or you prefer audio stimuli (rather than the written word) during revision season, these hand-held recorders could make all the difference to your learning style. Likewise, it’s always worth having a memory stick in your academic arsenal to prevent the loss of all your precious work, as well as a smaller, more compact laptop that can be easily carried to and from campus in your backpack.

Braving the bathroom

bathroom cleaning

Of all the things not to forget when you go to uni, slip-on shoes or sliders are perhaps the most essential, especially if you’re sharing a bathroom or toilet. Of course, we can all at least hope for the best when it comes to lavatory hygiene but, let’s face it, who knows what’s been on those floors! Cosmetics bags and vanity cases are certainly worth investing in too if you have to walk to your shower, as they’ll help you to safely store all your favourite lotions, potions, razors, and hair care accessories in one convenient place. Don’t forget your bathrobe too… and no, we don’t mean the one you’ve had since childhood - treat yourself to something a little more snuggly, you’ll thank us later! 

If your dorm room has an en suite, be sure to purchase all the cleaning supplies you’ll need to leave it feeling and looking fresh, sterile, and sparkling. Bleach, rubber gloves, and surface sprays like Cif, are definitely the best in terms of toilet sanitation and tap or shower scrubbing, but don’t be afraid to add a selection of reed diffusers if the chemical smell is too strong. 

In terms of décor and furnishings, thick-pile bath mats and handy storage boxes are usually a good way to go, particularly if space isn’t readily available. To prevent any nasty spillages or leaks from the hose head, you could even add weights to the base of your shower curtain, keeping it in place as you dance through your bathroom routine. A fan of singing in the spray? Well then, a waterproof speaker is virtually a prerequisite!

The essentials? We’ve got you covered!

moving out essentials

We hope you’ve enjoyed this mini introduction to the uni essentials, and now feel better equipped to boss the packing this summer. For more shopping inspiration, why not explore our extensive online shelves? Full to the brim with everything you could ever need to live student life to the max (yes, fancy dress included!), we’re your one-stop uni shop!

Once you’ve made the big move, your next step will be to create your very own den of zen in your dorm room, and we’ve got all the bedroom beautifying tips you need in this handy blog here. From bedding to wall hangings, it’s positively packed with inspiring interior ideas that won’t result in you losing your security deposit at the end of the year - perfect! 

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