The new university term is fast approaching, and that means purchasing and packing for students is underway.

It’s hard to know what to take and what to leave, especially if it’s your first term away from home.

This handy Pocket Guide will help you define your list of essential items for packing to make the next couple of weeks as painless as possible.

Your space

You’ll be spending the next year in your chosen living accommodation, so it’s worth investing in some creature comforts that will make it your home-from-home. It’s not just a place to sleep either: you’ll be studying, writing and no doubt entertaining there, so you want it to be comfortable and welcoming. It’s time to decorate and surround yourself with a few of your favourite things.

Use pictures, posters or photographs to claim the space as your own. A rug, a throw or blanket and scatter cushions will transform your bed into a sofa, as well bring colour to your new room. And it’s OK to bring teddy – you won’t be the only one.

At least two sets of bedding and a mattress protector will help you rest easy, and a laundry basket will help keep your room tidy. A hot water bottle and slippers will keep you snug during the autumn term, and a diffuser or atomiser will keep the room smelling nice – not all accommodation windows open widely. Febreeze is a must!

Don’t forget…

  • Spare hangers
  • White tac, not blue tac
  • Door stop
  • Extension cable
  • Alarm clock – yes a phone will suffice, but if your part of your uni course is scored on attendance, you really don’t want to miss a lecture.

Shared space

What you need to take will depend largely on your choice of accommodation. If you’ve opted for self-catered halls, you’ll definitely need some essential kitchen items, but you don’t need to go mad and take a full dinner service: two of everything will suffice. Apart from teaspoons – they always disappear.

Crockery and cutlery aside, a few essential kitchen items will ensure you can create quick and nutritious meals to keep your brain fed. Take a couple of good knives (one big, one small), a wooden spoon and a cheese grater for prepping: a saucepan or two and a small wok for cooking; and a colander. A chopping board won’t take up much room and a flat baking tray is essential for pizzas.

Don’t forget

  • Tupperware containers
  • Tea towels, bin bags and washing up liquid
  • Your favourite mug
  • Scissors
  • Tin opener and bottle openerpacking


Packing your own laptop for university is essential. Not only will you have immediate access to being able to study, you can study anywhere as it’s portable. Invest in an external hard drive to back up your work, and a couple of USB sticks will work well for you too.

A noteboard or whiteboard is a good idea: it’ll help you keep track of your study calendar and your social calendar – you’re less likely to miss a deadline. Or a party.

Organisation is key, particularly if your accommodation is small, so level-arch files and dividers for your notes are a must, even if they feel a bit “school”.

Don’t forget

  • A large bagĀ for all your stuff – invest in a backpack, a cute handbag won’t suffice unfortunately.
  • Highlighters, pens and pencils. Always have at least two for your lectures, in case one fails.
  • Post it notes – ideal for bookmarking pages, impromptu party games and leaving notes on your door (or your stuff)


You don’t need your entire wardrobe and you need to leave some clothes at home for your holidays, or you’ll be dragging cases everywhere you go. For that reason, it’s probably safe to leave behind your bikini and ski-suit.

Do take an umbrella and some easy shoes (flip-flops, Crocs or something similar), for trips to the shop.

It’s worth taking one dressy option, for parties or formal events, and maybe a fancy dress option – fresher’s week can be unconventional. Even if you sleep in the nude, it’s a good idea to take slippers and a dressing gown in case you need to leave your digs in an emergency. Make sure you’re packing something comforting too, whether it’s your favourite outfit for a confidence boost or your snuggly onesie.

Don’t forget

  • Trainers
  • Your favourite sports gear – a great way to keep active and make friends
  • A coatpacking

Some final thoughts

Take an inventory of everything in your accommodation when you arrive. Keep it safe as it may be necessary when it comes to getting your deposit back.

Pack a first aid kit – someone somewhere will always need plasters. A sewing kit or some safety pins also a good idea.

You’ll need some form of ID too, along with universtiy admissions and course accedptabce letters, accommodation and finance documents.

Oh, and don’t forget your toothbrush.