sex & relationships

What to pack for University: The ultimate guide 

Written by Nigel Simpkins

With the start of university only a matter of weeks, or even less, away for many students, it’s definitely a question of now or never when it comes to packing for the big move!

If you’re the type of person who leaves everything to the last minute, you may not have even thought about packing for university, let alone actually started this long and tedious process.

Fortunately, if this is you, there is still time for you to purchase and pack everything you need to be able to survive at university. 

All you need to do is follow the below guide to packing for university, and you’ll be able to wave off mum and dad safe in the knowledge that you’re ready and prepared for the next exciting three years ahead of you. 

And if not, you can always make a mad last dash to the supermarket!

Think about what you need

Note the word “need” not “want” in the above sentence. You may want to pack every item of clothing and pair of shoes that you own in the entire world (you never know when you might want to go roller-blading), but you’re most likely moving to a much smaller accommodation, so you need to make cuts. 

If you’re not sure exactly what you might need – other than the essentials, of course – you might want to try taking this Freshers personality test. It will help you determine exactly what type of fresher you’re going to be and gives you guidance based on your result. This should assist you in deciding what items you need to take: hangover pills by the bucket load, perhaps? 

University Checklist

When packing for university, there are several important categories of items that you need to pack. You can now start to gradually tick off the items that you need to pack from each of the below categories. These are as follows:

Important documents

Although you might not think you need everything, it’s better to have a copy just in case.

  • Passport 
  • Driving license 
  • Acceptance letter
  • Accommodation contract 
  • Student loan documents 
  • Bursary or scholarship letters 
  • Student insurance documents 
  • Debit card 
  • Student discount cards


You can pretty much take whatever clothing you want to university, although it’s a good idea to bring at least one smart outfit, especially if you’re planning to look for a part-time job while you study. 

Kitchen utensils 

If you’re sharing a kitchen with other students, you will no doubt end up with multiple kitchen appliances, but it’s better to be prepared and bring a toaster and kettle rather than get caught short. Ensure you have:

  • Small cutlery set
  • Plate, bowl, glass, and mug (at least one of each)
  • Sharp knife
  • Tupperware boxes 
  • Bottle opener (of course!)
  • Wok or frying pan
  • Colander
  • Saucepan 
  • Can opener/peeler 
  • Baking tray and oven gloves 
  • Sponge/tin foil/clingfilm/bin bags 

Bedroom items 

Your bedroom is going to be your safe haven, but it won’t be if you forget any of the following:

  • Duvet and duvet covers
  • Pillows and pillowcases 
  • Mattress protector 
  • Hangers
  • Small mirror 
  • Clock 
  • Small fan 
  • Personal photos 

Bathroom items

While you might normally rely on mum and dad to get these items, living on your own will require you to do it yourself. So, to avoid that unfortunate incident of realising you don’t have your toiletry essentials, ensure to take with you:

  • Towels 
  • Dressing gown 
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste 
  • Shampoo and conditioner 
  • Shower gel or wash 
  • Flip flops if you’re using communal showers (verruca hotspot!)
  • Toilet roll
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Hairdryer
  • Nail cutters
  • Razors
  • Sanitary products 
  • Any prescription medicines 


As well as all your living essentials, you should also think about your tech. With many lectures taking place online, you want to ensure you’re in the best possible position to learn, so ensure you have: 

  • Laptop
  • Printer and ink (although you can use the library on campus) 
  • USB memory stick 
  • Power extension lead 
  • Chargers 
  • Batteries

This may seem like a lot, but you don’t want to have to waste any of your precious student loan on everyday essentials, so better to stock up before you leave!