packing list: everything you need at university + free printable

the ultimate packing list of what to take to university

it’s the first of august, meaning this time last year i was manically searching the internet for a packing list or any hints at what you need for university. while i was worried i was going to overpack and include things i wouldn’t need, i also had to remember that i was moving out; starting afresh with very few of the things i overlook on a daily basis. fast forward to move-in day and, yes, i had a lot of stuff… but i still managed to forget some important things.

so now i’m here to help you (and myself) prepare for moving into a new home, hopefully without forgetting anything. throughout the packing list, you’ll notice that i’ve gathered up everything i know i used throughout the first year of university and linked some similar ideas of what you could use too from a range of websites… so there’s something for everyone regardless of your budget (sidenote: none of the links are sponsored – i’m just nice). and on top of that, i’ve included a free checklist printable to help keep track of what you’ve got sorted.

pin me for later!

packing list


one: bedroom

  • bedding (pillows, duvet, covers, etc.)

easy enough, just make sure you check what size bed you have in your bedroom, whether you’re living in halls or private accommodation, before buying anything. (you’ll probably want two sets of bedding so you can use one while the other one is in the wash.)

  • blankets & cushions

i love snuggling up into bed with loads of pillows and blankets; it makes your room look and feel much more homely than just having a boring duvet cover without anything else. plus, if you have to pay separately for bills, you won’t be running the heating up high during the winter! best of all, you don’t have to spend a fortune: (1) (2), but there’s still the option to if you’d like (3). these are definite essentials for my packing list every year.

  • laundry bag

i would also suggest a hamper (1) if you don’t want a bag (2), but carrying a bag to the washing machines is just so much easier. either way, some sort of storage for dirty clothes is a necessity as it means they won’t be thrown all around your room (although we all know nothing will stop that).

  • clothes hangers & wardrobe organiser

you wouldn’t believe how many people forget clothes hangers after they’ve packed their clothes. and, while a wardrobe organiser might sound rather trivial, it saved me so much storage space throughout first year. with a limited amount of drawers in halls, the extra storage was life saving. there are various designs… from three compartments: (1), to five – the exact one i use: (2).

  • extension leads

there’s never enough plugs in halls.

  • decorative items

i’ll be making an entire post about this, but to sum up: photos of friends and family, fairy lights and anything else you want to bring to make your bedroom feel like home. another tip is to check out some other packing list ideas on pinterest – there are some really creative ways to display your homely memorabilia all over the internet.

  • door stop

you’ve probably read this one everywhere but that just proves how important it is! not only does everyone have their door open at some point, at the start of the year its an easy way to get talking to your flatmates. (1)

  • airer

i didn’t invest in an airer and i regretted it so much. the price of the dryers in my halls was so expensive and barely dried my clothes so i tried using my flatmate’s airer whenever it was free instead. psa: don’t be the annoying flatmate like i was!

  • printer (+ paper and ink)

invest. in. a. printer. you will save so much money on printing in the long run and everyone in your flat will love you for it. also, you’ll thank yourself when you have a tight deadline and can’t be bothered to walk to the library.


two: bathroom

this may differ depending on whether you’re in halls, have an en-suite, or you’re living in rented accommodation, but nevertheless, you should check what is provided in your new home. while bathroom items aren’t the first thing you think to include on your packing list, they’re just as important.

  • bin

  • first aid kit

when i call it a ‘first aid kit’, i don’t mean you have to have every last thing you may need in case of an emergency. i just mean paracetamol (you’re definitely going to need after a night out), some cough sweets (preparing for the dreaded fresher’s flu) and plasters (you might not be as good in the kitchen as you think). other than that, remember to bring any medication you take personally.

  • toothbrush
  • toothbrush holder

i was dumb enough to use a pint glass to hold my toothbrush… all it took was one pre-drinks at my flat for it to get accidentally smashed, leaving glass all over my bathroom floor with a bunch of drunk students around. not ideal. (1)

  • toiletries

the basics: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, toothpaste, deodorant, perfume, etc. although, if you don’t want to pack them, you can always buy them once you’re at university like i did – again, it’s a great excuse to go out as a flat and explore your new home.

  • towels

invest in a bath sheet (1) rather than a towel, you’ll love yourself for it. (you’ll probably want two.)

  • mirror
  • toilet roll

probably best that you have this as soon as you arrive…


three: kitchen

again, it’s best to check whether your accommodation provides any of these things to save money and hassle.

  • plates, bowls, side plates, cutlery

i had three bowls (1), three large plates (2) and three ‘side plates’ (3), and a load of cutlery (4) that way i had spares for if friends came over to eat anything. (also, it helped when i didn’t want to wash up, but we’ll pretend it’s just for the first reason…)

  • glasses

it’ll surprise you how many glasses you’ll actually need: some for normal drinks (1), shot glasses (2), potentially a wine glass, and a mug (3). oh, and for pre-drinks you’ll need some re-usable cups too.

  • toaster + kettle + (maybe) microwave

some halls and private accommodation give you these things already, so make sure to check! also, it’s probably best to wait until you’re at uni to buy these as well, just in case all of your flatmates have bought them too.

  • baking tray

you’ll probably want two.

  • roasting tray

(if you plan on eating vegetables, that is.)

  • frying pan/wok

i bought a wok instead, multi-purpose and when you have people over, you can cook bigger portions

  • saucepan
  • corkscrew + bottle opener

no description needed (will be used a lot.)

  • vegetable peeler
  • wooden spoon
  • spatula
  • egg cup

  • chopping knives
  • scales
  • colander/sieve
  • whisk

the amount of times i wished i had a whisk throughout first year is unreal. but i was so adamant that i’d just use a fork when i was buying uni stuff that i never gave in and bought one (regret).

  • mixing bowl
  • cheese grater
  • washing up liquid

so many rows were started in our flat over washing up liquid (yes, washing up liquid started arguments)… and if your flat is anything like mine was, just remember to buy a massive one before uni starts to hold off the arguments for a while.

  • tea towels

these get dirtier way quicker than you expect, so it’s probably best if you get a few

  • tupperware, reusable straws, etc.

save the turtles.

  • bin bags

similar to washing up liquid…

  • sponges

the more you buy, the more your flatmates will love you once they’ve run out.


four: uni things

  • notebooks

i had two notebooks with separators in them (1) – one section per course, although you could probably get away with one notebook per course if you’d rather.

  • pens/pencils

highlighters, black pens, pencils and coloured pens to help with your organisation (which i’ll be posting about soon!)

  • eraser/ruler/pencil sharpener
  • batteries
  • ipad/kindle/laptop

having all of these isn’t essential, but i’d definitely recommend a laptop or tablet as it can be a pain to go to the library in the middle of the night if you desperately need one. also, they come in handy for pdf versions and ebooks for your course.

  • memory stick
  • storage boxes or file folders
  • scissors
  • calculator

  • pen pot
  • hole puncher
  • pins

most rooms in halls have a pin board so these really come in handy to make your room feel homely.

  • stapler
  • page markers
  • post-it notes
  • paper clips


five: important stuff

  • id of some kind

probably the most important thing for any uni student: not only can you not go clubbing, but you might not even be able to check in to your accommodation.

  • documents you need for uni

it will probably say on your uni’s website or in any emails they’ve sent to you what documents you need for enrolment etc. also, don’t forget your student finance information and your national insurance number.

  • rail card

if you have one, these are so good for travelling home!

  • pack of cards

c’mon… ring of fire, plus literally any other drinking game!

  • sewing kit

  • games

nobody can tell me that cards against humanity does not class as something important.

  • washing powder / fabric softener
  • cleaning products

anti-bacterial wipes are a godsend. you’ll probably want to pick up some bleach, shake’n’vac (trust. me. i learnt the hard way…), toilet cleaner and multi-surface cleaner. (living with my boyfriend, my packing list would be incomplete without these, unfortunately…)

  • safety pins
  • speaker

so many people forget a speaker, and you don’t want to be without music on your first night out at uni!

  • phone charger


have i missed anything? let me know, and if you found my packing list useful, drop me a like below!

don’t forget to download my free printable! “what to take to university – packing list”

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  1. Omg, I forgotten extension lead when I moved to uni and regretted it so much. Also, your top tips are great, once my flat kitchen smelt awful and I couldn’t figure out what the smell was until I found a tea-towel drowned in curry sauce that someone had hid behind the fridge. That’s student living for you!

  2. This truly is a good list of things to take… especially for a first-year student! I wish I’d had this list when I was moving into uni for the first time.

    Great post, love! Xx

  3. Brilliant site. Well laid out. Get a good sense of the excitemen, yet big deal it is leaving home for the first time. University is a big leap from home. Very helpful tips. Thinking about it I would need/like all the things you mentioned but wouldn’t have thought about a lot of them. Thanks Jessicr.

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