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Going to university in first year is usually the first time students move out of their family home. This makes packing overwhelming, and many students bring more than they really need. To make this easier, we've created a well-rounded but concise list of items to bring to uni for the first time.

The list is based on student experience, including everything in one list and differentiating the essentials from the optional extras. Depending on your budget or space, you can just bring the essentials or include a few of the non-essentials.

Packing for university can be outlined within the following categories – bedroom, clothes, electronics, study essentials, bathroom, kitchen, miscellaneous and important documents. This packing list break down each category in greater detail below.

Make sure to check out the PDF printable packing lists at the bottom of the page for a quick checklist!

What to take to university: First Year

Bedroom Checklist



- Duvet, duvet covers, sheets, mattress protector

- Pillows, pillowcases

- Blanket

- Towels

- Clothes hangers

- Laundry basket 

- Clothes airer (the tumble dryers can be expensive)



- Cushions

- Small rug

- Plants for windowsill

- Photos, posters and blu tack (for making your room more homely)

- LED lights or fairy lights (some universities only allow battery operated lights)

- Small mirror

- Bin (halls usually have them but private accommodation doesn’t)


Clothes Checklist


- T-shirts, tops, long sleeves, shirts

- Hoodies, jumpers & sweatshirts

- Dresses, skirts

- Jeans, smart trousers

- Joggers, leggings

- Shorts

- Dressing gown (essential when the fire alarm test goes off at 4 am)

- Pyjamas

- Gym shorts & top (for the gym or hall sports)

- Pants, socks, bras (as many as you have, will help reduce the number of washes you need to do)

- Raincoat, warm winter coat

- Casual & smart shoes, trainers

- Sliders (essential for going around your halls)

- Gloves & hat 



- Swimming kit

- Fancy dress (as there will be dress codes for events)


Electronics Checklist


- Laptop & charger

- Phone charger

- USB cables

- Headphones

- Extension cable with 3+ sockets (you may have limited sockets / may not be accessible)

- Hair dryer, hair straighteners



- USB stick (some printing services may require it)

- Printer (usually universities offer good printing services)

- Portable speaker

- Desk lamp (there may not be one at all, or you may want one for the bedside)

- Torch (useful backup)

- Ethernet cable (if your laptop supports it)

- Small TV/monitor

- Desktop fan (for summer)

Stationery Checklist


- Pens, pencils & sharpener

- Rubber

- Ruler

- Scissors

- Highlighters (absolute must!)

- Calculator (check if your course requires a specific model)

- Lined A4 paper, notebook

- Post it notes

- Stapler

- Sellotape (always needed for something)

- Ring binders or folders (one each module per semester, 6 for me)


Bathroom Checklist


- Toothbrush & toothpaste

- Hand towel

- Razors (and charger if electric)

- Hairbrush, comb

- Grooming kit – nail clippers & tweezers

- Makeup

- Deodorant



- Aftershave, perfume


Kitchen Checklist

Catered / essentials

- Plates (2 plates is enough - less washing up!)

- Bowls 

- Glasses (at least 2-3 as they will break)

- Mugs

- Cutlery – knives, forks, table & tea spoons (at least 3 of each as they’ll go missing)

- Chopping knife

- Scissors

- Tea towels

- Bottle opener



- Frying pan

- Saucepan with lid (bring a larger size if you intend to bulk cook)

- Chopping board

- Wooden spoon

- Spatula

- Can opener

- Tupperware (essential for batch cooking)

- Sieve

- Grater

- Baking tray

- Whisk, scales, measuring jug & mixing bowl (optional, depending on how hands on you are with cooking)

- Toastie maker (everyone brings them so you can share)

- Hand blender


Miscellaneous Checklist


- Backpack (for taking your laptop/books to lectures)

- Reusable water bottle (for lectures)

- Padlock

- Earplugs (if you struggle getting to sleep)

- Basic first aid kit

- Glasses / contact lenses

- Medication, allergy relief

- Face masks

- Tote bags for shopping



- Umbrella

- Hot water bottle (for winter)

- Games to play with flatmates – cards, boardgames

- Books (for leisure)


Important Items & Documents Checklist


- ID – either a passport or a driving license

- Acceptance letter (some unis require it)

- Debit card

- NHS number (to enrol at your universities’ medical centre)

- Vaccination card (may need it to go to events)

- Railcard

- Visa (for international students)

What NOT to bring

- Candles

- Pets

- Heaters


- Chairs

- Vacuum cleaner


- Your car (not all student accommodation has parking but check before you arrive)

- Massive suitcases (difficult to store)

- School notes (you won’t need them)

- Food, shampoo, hair gel (It's a good idea to buy it at uni as it gives you a chance to check out the local shops)


Easy to forget items

- Laptop case

- Bottle opener

- Phone charger

- Glasses & contact lenses

- Different shoes

- Towels

- Medication / allergy relief

- Bank card

- Face masks

- Home keys (for surprise visits)

What to organise before you arrive

- Student bank account

Research who offers the best benefits and have it ready to go with your interest free overdraft


- Student discount cards

Unidays and/or Student Beans


- Register with your university

Make sure they have all the right information and contact details


- Download Life 360 / What 3 Words

Can be really helpful if you’re lost or want to meet-up with your friends but have no idea of the specific location.


What to buy when you arrive:

- Shampoo

- Deodorant

- Soap

- Toothpaste

- Toilet roll

- Tea / coffee

- Bin (if there isn’t one)

- Drinking glasses (if you can’t safely pack them)

- Snacks

- Surface wipes

- Cling film & tin foil

- Food

Downloadable PDF lists:



Image Credit



Download our Catered halls packing list PDF 


Download our Self-Catered halls packing list PDF 



If you're an international student check out our article on preparing for university: international edition, here.

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