The Essential Guide to Packing for University

by Daniel Drakeford
5 September 2016

The countdown until your new life at University begins. If you haven't started already, it's probably worth thinking about the more logistical steps of starting your new life. Along with the usual questions and worries (What will my course be like? Who will I be living with? PLEASE don't let me have a 9am start every day…), you've probably begun to accept that fact that you'll be moving to somewhere new. If this creates questions like: 'How do I move all my stuff?', 'What exactly do I need to take?' fear not. Look no further than here, where some helpful pointers below tell you all you need to know about the dos and don'ts of moving out of home and into university Halls.



Let's start off nice and easy: the kitchen. For most of you, sharing a kitchen with people that aren't your parents or guardians will be a new experience. Here are my top five tips about packing for this communal space.

One of the kitchens in our Spring Mews accommodation #fancy

  • Double check what your accommodation already offers. There's no need to bring things like toasters or kettles – they are all included in your accommodation. Believe me, having eight or nine kettles and toasters might sound like a great idea to begin with, but it takes up a LOT of kitchen space (I mean, a lot).
  • It's a good idea to find out (if you can) who you're living with before; you might want to share items like pots and pans. Of course, this is personal preference. But take it from me, when your flatmate gets out his George Foreman grill, you're going to want to borrow it.
  • It's worth thinking about just how many plates, bowls, forks, knives and spoons to bring.* Again, this is your choice. If you're…shall we say not the tidiest, you might want to think about bringing more than one of everything. At the same time, there isn't any point having a full dinner set of six either. I'd opt for two-to-four of everything, depending on how often you (honestly) think you'll wash them up.
    Washing Up
  • Think realistically about what your cooking abilities are. If you're a seasoned chef and want to bring your full set of knives, then go for it. If your cooking ability is somewhat…lacking, just the basics (one pan, pot, sieve etc.) will do.
  • Whilst the communal spaces will be cleaned by a cleaner every week, it's often worth buying some of your own cleaning stuff too. Again, it's probably a good idea to consult with your new flatmates beforehand and decide what you need as a group. Saying that, if everybody brings a bottle of fairy liquid with them, you're not going to run out for a verrrrry long time.

* As a side note, be prepared to lose cutlery all the time, regardless of how tidy you are. Nobody knows how it happens – or where they go – but they'll disappear faster than the squirrels on campus when you approach them.


Your bedroom will be your new home for the best part of a year, so naturally, you'll want to bring along some creature comforts from home to try and create a nice, homely space. Again, what is essential that you bring versus what you really want to bring is up to you. Luckily, most of the bedrooms on campus are reasonably big, so there'll be lots of room for all your luxuries. Here are my tips on packing for your bedroom space.

  • Start off by making a list of absolute essentials that you'll need in your room: things like a duvet (single or double), sheets, towels, a lamp for your bedside table etc. Think about what you have in your room at home already, and whether you can make them work in a different space. Chances are you'll be able to.
  • Without a doubt, the biggest (and hardest) area to pack will be your clothes (I'm putting shoes and accessories under this umbrella, too). It's hard to offer specific advice for this, as I've learnt everybody is different, but I would suggest that you don't try to bring EVERY item of clothing you own with you. If we're all being honest, you'll probably buy a new top or two when your student loan comes in anyway…
  • Remember that you can keep adding to your room to make it that perfect space. For instance, if you seriously underestimated the wall/poster ratio, then head on down to the poster fair during freshers' week to grab yourself a few more.

There are no walk in wardrobes here, so be selective with your clothes.  You know you'll treat yourself to something new anyway.

Remember that you can keep adding to your room to make it that perfect space. For instance, if you seriously underestimated the wall/poster ratio, then head on down to the poster fair during freshers' week to grab yourself a few more.

That's all the advice I can offer you now. Don't worry about it too much – and even if you have ended up forgetting something chances are somebody else in your flat will have it. So good luck. You'll probably still have to cram to fit everything in the car anyway. And hey, are you really a uni student if you don't?

Packed car

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