University packing list –what to bring to uni!

Stylised banner for the packing list including a picture of a traditional university and a note pad

Going away to university or college? Whether you’re moving down the road or moving country, our free packing list can help make things easier.

Our free university packing list covers everything from the essentials to the “nice to haves” based on advice from people who’ve done it.

General advice

  1. Buy second-hand goods
    Student towns are littered with old cookware, cutlery and decorations. If you don’t want to buy new stuff that’ll only last a year, or you forget something, you can either hit the second-hand shops, or a lot of fresher’s events will sell used items on the cheap. This is also good when you don’t want to buy a six-pack of glasses when you only need two!
  2. Find your aesthetic
    Hey, many of you are moving out for the first time; have some fun with it. Whether it’s stone busts of Hegel or Funko Pops of Doja Cat, film posters or Pride flags, take some time to make your room suit you. And if you don’t know what “you” are yet, that’s fine too.
  3. Not in halls? Don't worry
    A lot of this article is tailored to people moving into halls of residence, but we know that's not the only way to enjoy uni. We'll have notes dotted throughout for people moving to private lettings.
  4. Prioritise the things that are hard/expensive to buy new 
    If you have limited space in your suitcase or car, think about what you can or cannot get there. You can buy plates and bowls anywhere, but there might be objects that will be hard or expensive to buy new.


  1. Laptop
    It doesn’t have to be expensive but, if you can afford it, having a laptop rather than a big desktop (looking at you PC gamers) or a tablet will make so many jobs much easier.
  2. Tech accessories
    I doubt we have to tell freshers to bring their phones, but consider a portable charger and a good phone case. If there’s any tech you use more than once a month, that also might be a good idea. Oh, and if your battery is always dying, now’s a good time to replace it.
  3. ID and cards
    Don’t be like my friend Dave and assume that a beard will get you into a venue. Bring your ID.
  4. A folder for important documents
    There are so many companies that still refuse to go paperless. Get a folder with room for important documents and just put them in an order that makes some sense. You’ll be grateful later.




    1. Bedding sets
      Take at least two sets of bedding sets (Pillowcases, sheets and duvet covers) so you can sub-in one set when you wash the other. (And yes, you should wash your sheets!) 
    2. Duvet and pillows
      If your accommodation doesn’t provide a duvet and pillows or you don’t want to use the set that’s already there, we recommend bringing your own. Some universities will provide a rental or loan service for people who can’t bring their own bedding (for instance, because they’re international).
    3. Mattress protector
      For that extra layer of protection from whatever happened the year before!
    4. Clothes and shoes
      Take a look at the wardrobe in your accommodation and pack your essentials to fit that, rather than the space you have at home! You can always keep the essentials in the wardrobe, and seasonal stuff under your bed.
    5. Coat Hangers
      As you take off clothes to pack, throw them in a pile
    6. Clothes Airer and pegs
  1. You can also wait until you arrive, as some households will share airers. Carrying an airer from the local supermarket is no picnic, but it’s doable.
  2. Storage containers
    If you pack your items in storage containers, then you’ll have somewhere to put them afterwards.
  3. Bags
    My advice is, whatever cute, aesthetic bag you plan on bringing, bring a backpack as well. Whether it’s schlepping groceries from the supermarket, or cans of lager to the party across town, backpacks rein supreme.
  4. Stationary
    The obviousness of this one really depends on the type of learner. Some will already have their perfect, pastel sticky notes colour-coded and stored in corresponding organisers, while some will not own a pen. All I’d say is, If you’re not a paper-note person, buy some basics. If you don’t use it in a year’s time, you’ve not lost much!

Non-essential (but a good idea)

  1. Plants, non-course-books, lights and decorations
    Show off your aesthetic; you’ll be here for a year! You can buy a lot of this stuff after you arrive but, if you have something from home that feels like “you”, bring it. Bringing a few bits from home can make it easier to settle in.
  2. Posters, photos and art
    The Freshers Fair poster sale is something of a uni tradition, but they don’t exactly have the best range. Buy some posters ahead of time and, if you really want to get posh with it, bring frames and Command Strips (but be careful of painted walls). Photos of family/friends can also be good if you want to connect with your life back home.
  3. Sports/hobby items
    Whether you plan to join a society or not, it’s worth having these items around, if you can spare the space. It can be a conversation starter or something you can share with your flatmates.
  4. TV
    If you have a spare TV, watching a film together can be a cheap night in… but maybe wait until you arrive and can judge the vibe of the flat before you park it in the living room.


Many of these items will be picked up on your first shopping trip, rather than lugged around with you, but it's good to note them down.

    1. Shampoo, conditioner shower gel
      Obviously, if you have a twenty-step skincare routine, you’ll need to make your own list
    2. Toothbrush and toothpaste
      (maybe a toothbrush cover if you’re in a shared space)
    3. Hand soap
    4. Towels, floor mat
    5. Washbag/caddy
      Particularly important if you share a bathroom
    6. Slippers
    7. Toilet rolls
    8. Period products (if you need them)
    9. Cleaning products and sponges



In general, we’d suggest bringing two of most serving items. Cupboard space is limited and having a “family pack” of everything will just take up space. Personal preference, though.

This list represents a good “baseline”. Even if you don’t like cooking, it’s good to have the essentials as cooking for yourself is way cheaper than eating out. If you love cooking, obviously you may want to scale up –cupboard space be damned.

  1. 2x big plates, small plates and bowls
  2. 2x cutlery sets
  3. 2x glasses
  4. 2x mugs
  5. Pans
    At least 2 saucepans and a frying pan
  6. Colander 
  7. Cooking utensils
  8. Chopping knives
  9. Tupperware, foil, cling film, sandwich bags, bag sealers
    Essentially, items that stop you from needing to throw food out so often.
  10. Tea towels
  11. Cleaning supplies, Washing up liquid, sponge
  12. Cupboard essentials
    Maybe buy these after you’ve put your cookware away, so you can judge how much space you have left. Plus, your flat might decide to buy certain bits together.
  13. An open mind
    Slightly cheesy, I know, but you’ll never realise how unique your childhood home is until you share a kitchen with 5-19 other people. You’ll be shocked at all the ways people cook their rice, wash their bowls and take their coffee. Turns out my mum is the only person in the world who calls kitchen counters “flaps”. Who knew?! –the entirety of flat 6a, that’s who.

For those moving into private housing: I've had lots of uni friends who lived in private flats or house shares in their first year. Generally it's good to turn up and see what is already provided before you go purchasing anything. 

If you're in a studio or other self-contained flat, check thoroughly what is and isn't included. If you only have a hotel-style kitchenette, an air-fryer and an electric hotplate or wok can go a long way.


Other things to prepare

  1. Insurance
    Shop around on this one. Maybe the student insurance you get advertised on the way in to your flat is best; maybe not. If you have a particularly bougie phone or laptop, adding that onto an existing contents insurance can be cheaper than getting “gadget” cover separately.
  2. Medicine
    If you have a regular prescription, it might be good to get enough to cover you until you sign up for a term-time doctor.
  3. Callie personal safety app
    If you’re anxious about going to a new place and walking around on your own, Callie’s free personal safety app makes it easy to share your safety status with your parents, flatmates, or new friends. Use it when you want that extra security, and turn it off when you want some privacy. Download it for free, here!