This article was written by the TSR community

This is a descriptive inventory of nearly everything you could possibly want to take to university with you. It has been compiled from suggestions given by people already at university to prospective students and freshers. Using this as a guide, rather than a prescriptive list, hopefully you shouldn't forget anything vital! (And if all else fails, you can always buy them when you get there!)

  • Think carefully about the amount of stuff you take to Uni - and avoid taking heaps of extra stuff 'just in case'. You will only have a small room with very limited cupboard space - and you'll be moving out again in June. One large suitcase of clothes, a couple of boxes of other stuff and a binliner of bedding is probably about the level to aim at.
  • Don't buy 'expensive' stuff - you'll find perfectly acceptable duvet covers, kettles and stationery at Tescos, Asda, Sainsburys and Ikea - most stuff won't survive your first year so there is no point is shelling out ££s on it.

Bedroom items


Before you go out and buy stuff it is a good idea to check what the uni will be providing.
  • Duvet - one with two different 'warmth' layers that fix together is best
  • Bottom sheets x 2
  • Duvet/quilt covers x2 sets
  • Pillows x 2 (or only 1 if you prefer)
  • Pillow cases x 4
  • Warm blanket/fleece throw
  • Underblanket/mattress protector
  • Bath towels and hand towels x 2

Other Bedroom items

  • Family photos
  • Alarm Clock or Clock Radio
  • Posters etc
  • Door wedge (if you keep your bedroom door open you'll make friends with your new housemates much more quickly)
  • Hot water bottle
  • Desk Lamp (If Halls don't provide one)
  • Clothes wash basket/bin/bag
  • Small rubbish bin (if Halls don't provide one)Bring a few home comforts
  • Coffee mug

Laundry items

  • Washing powder/Fabric softener (buy when you get there!)
  • Laundry basket or bag for the corner of your room/bottom of wardrobe
  • Big nylon bag for carting stuff to the Halls washing machine or the local launderette
  • Small drying rack (University may provide this or a washing line)


  • Normal, casual clothing - jeans, shorts, t-shirts, blouses/shirts (both long and short sleeve for layering and coping with changing seasons).
  • Lightweight jumpers or cardigans for autumn days
  • Fleece type jumpers or warmer cotton sweatshirts - much, much easier to wash & dry than knitted ones - for colder winter days.
  • Underwear and socks (plenty of these)
  • Comfortable waterproof shoes
  • Trainers (even if you aren't sporty these are useful)
  • 'Going Out' clothes for pubs/clubs/parties
  • Hat/scarf/gloves - many students pack for Uni in September, while it is still relatively warm, and forget that it will be cold by the end of their first term!
  • Winter coat (warm, waterproof type)
  • Rain jacket (thin nylon type you can stuff in a corner of your bag).
  • Pyjamas/nightshirt/dressing gown and slippers (for when the fire alarm goes off at 3am- you do not want to be scrabbling for clothes in that situation!)
  • At least one very warm jumper to pull on when working at your desk mid-winter/late at night.
  • Smart shoes/heels
  • Clothing suitable for job interviews/part-time work (ie. blokes - neat trousers, shirt and tie, girls - 'office' looking clothes).


  • Swimwear & swim goggles
  • Swim towel
  • Gym & sports clothes
  • Trainers
  • Warm Joggers (useful even if you aren't sporty)

Bag etc

  • Everyday student bag - backpack, messenger bag etc.

Make sure its waterproof, with easy catches/fastenings, strong/durable AND that its big enough and strong enough to hold several large textbooks, folders, notepad, water bottle etc etc, AND has comfortable shoulder straps.

Don't get something cheap/fashionable but so flimsy that will fall apart by the first weekend. If in doubt, get a basic backpack and then replace it once you've got to Uni and worked out what you really need.
  • Pencil case
  • Purse or wallet
  • Keyring
  • Watch
  • Good quality water bottle (ie. one that doesn't leak)

Personal items

  • Prescription glasses
  • Contact lenses plus cleaning fluid etc
  • Copy of prescription
  • Spare pair of glasses
  • Brace/retainer and accessories
  • Everyday moisturiser
  • Skincare wash
  • Lipbalm
  • Shower gel, shampoo, soap,
  • Shaving cream, razors etc
  • Toothbrush / Toothpaste
  • Hairbrush, comb etc
  • Tampons/Sanitary towels
  • Contraceptives
  • Make-up and make-up remover

Stationery items

If you are staying in Halls, the information you receive from your university should tell you what will be provided in your room. Many rooms will already have a noticeboard, for example, so you won't need to buy one. Some students recommend taking only the bare minimum in terms of stationery, and then buying the rest as and when you need it after you've settled in. PS. Shops like Tescos, Wilkinsons and Poundland are cheaper than Rymans or Paperchase.....

  • Noticeboard (all Halls rooms will have one already)
  • Push-pins
  • Pack of cheap copy paper for printing
  • A4 file paper / notebooks with tear out sheets
  • Jotter or reporter pad
  • Pen drive/memory stick
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Permanent all-surface markers
  • Ruler
  • Eraser
  • Sharpener
  • Tippex
  • Pencil case
  • Pen pot (a coffee mug or flower pot will do)
  • White Tack or Blu Tack
  • Scissors
  • Sellotape
  • Hole puncher
  • Stapler/staples
  • Paper clips
  • Post-it Notes or flag markers
  • A4 ring binders
  • Lever-arch folders
  • Hole-reinforcers
  • Paper/plastic wallets
  • Envelopes
  • Stamps
  • Calculator (especially if you're doing maths, but even if you're doing English Literature)
  • Student planner/diary
  • Calender
  • Address book
  • Language dictionary (if relevant to your course), English phrase-book (International students)


  • Passport photos. Take at least four, and keep some on you. Also scan some on to your computer to get quick reproductions for less (especially for ID that doesn't really matter)
  • Passport
  • Driving licence (useful ID)
  • National Insurance number
  • NHS medical card
  • Details of your health insurance (overseas students)
  • Details of your vaccination history (make sure you have up-to-date vaccinations, especially for meningitis and measles, BEFORE you arrive and that you get a flu shot in the Autumn term)
  • Insurance documents
  • Confirmation letters of scholarship/bursary etc if appropriate
  • Any information from your LEA, the SLC (Student Loans Company) or Student Finance Direct
  • Your unconditional offer from the university
  • Any documents regarding your accommodation
  • Cheque book
  • Bank debit card
  • Paying-in book
  • Bank or building society details
  • Travel discount cards (16-25 Railcard etc). Great for cheap travel home
  • CV and references
  • CRB check - applicant's copy (if required by your course)
  • Relevant exam certificates or results slips
  • Oyster card (if in London) Student Oyster cards are also available)

Electrical items/PC etc.

CHECK what you are allowed to bring to halls - some unis have very strict rules about electrical equipment.
  • LAPTOP Whilst all Unis will have 'public' PCs in Depts and Libraries etc, most students find a Laptop useful for personal use. Get one that is light enough to carry around campus with you.
  • Extension leads. Get surge protected ones to protect valuable equipment
  • Socket converter (if you are an international student)
  • Laptop case/bag
  • Chargers
  • Mouse/mat
  • Small b&w printer (you will have access to Library printers etc, but a small one in your room is always handy - you can get small/cheap ones at places like Tescos, Staples etc for under £50 but check the price of the replacement ink cartridges)
  • USB memory sticks
  • Packet of white copy paper
  • Ink (colour & black for inkjet, toner for laser)
  • Mobile phone
  • Charger
  • Headphones
  • Digital camera
  • Batteries (rechargeable?)
  • Small CD player
  • CDs & wallet/case
  • MP3 player/iPod
  • USB lead (charger)
  • Docking station
  • Alarm clock
  • Iron & Ironing board (only if you aren't in Halls)

First aid items

  • Painkillers
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Cold/flu remedy
  • Throat lozenges
  • Nail Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Plasters
  • Condoms

Health tips:
  • Make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you arrive - especially tetanus, measles, mumps and meningitis
  • Talk to your home GP or clinic about contraception
  • Have a dental check up and get any treatment done before you come to Uni.
  • Register with a local GP or the University Medical Centre and a dentist on arrival at Uni
  • Keep the number for your Uni doctor and dentist handy/in your phone
  • Keep a number for next of kin in your mobile phone under NOK or ICE (next of kin or in case of emergency)
  • Familiarise yourself with where the local A&E and drop-in health centres are in your Uni town
  • If you suffer with long-term conditions such as diabetes or epilepsy etc make sure your neighbours in your Halls of Residence or flatmates know what your condition is - and where vital medication is kept.
  • Freshers flu - this is the general cold/virus that most people get in their first few weeks at Uni because of the 'bacterial soup' of germs/viruses from 1,000s of other students that your immune system isn't used to. It's normal. All you can do is get a few good nights sleep and treat the symptoms with cold/flu remedies. Remember, its a virus so antibiotics won't help.


  • Waterbottle - cheaper than buying bottled water.
  • Holdall or 'weekend at home' bag
  • Handbag for nights/days out
  • Torch
  • Small sewing kit
  • Books/novels (fiction/non-fiction)
  • Musical instrument(s)

Things you won't need

  • A-level text books. You will have a great big Uni library stacked with books relevant to your degree course. You will not need Introduction to Biology aimed at a 16 year old. You can leave all your carefully written A level notes at home as well, because you won't need them either.
  • Book Tokens. Relatives love giving you these. It reminds them of when they went to Uni. They don't realise that these days most of your course materials will be provided online or in a stonkingly well-stocked library. You might buy one book the entire time you are at Uni. Ask for Primark, Boots or Sainsbury's giftcards instead. They will actually be some use.
  • A lovely matching set of rigid suitcases. If these don't fit under your bed, then where are you going to store them? If you must use them to transport stuff to Uni, get your parents to take them home with them. Squashy nylon holdalls, bin-liners and strong cardboard boxes are much better for taking stuff to Uni. And they don't make other people laugh as much.
  • A car. There will be nowhere to park it at Uni. And everywhere else will cost you a fortune in pound coins, day and night. All Unis have good bus services, and you don't get breathalysed on those either. Leave the BMW at home.
  • Pets. No, you cannot take your kitten, dog, budgie or hamster to Halls with you. Leave them at home as well.
  • Parents. Once they've helped you drag all your stuff up all those flights of stairs and made embarrassing small-talk with your neighbours, it's time for them to go home. Provide tissues. But make sure they go. They do not need to stay overnight anywhere 'just in case you need us'. If they want to go to Uni, they can apply through UCAS.

Logistics - or 'getting all this stuff to uni'

If your parents aren't driving you to uni here are some ideas & suggestions for making the journey!
  • Is someone else from your school also moving to that city (not necessarily the same Uni)? Could you car share with them - talk to them/their parents.
  • Ask around your school/college or friendship group - does any know anyone else going to your Uni (remember, they don't have to be a First Year...)
  • Can you convince someone with a car to drive you for the cost of the petrol?
  • If you have to go by train or bus/coach, then take a suitcase (with wheels....), a well-filled backpack and as much other stuff as you can comfortably carry.
  • Could you buy your new duvet, towels, pillows etc when you get there, and just manage with a sleeping bag for a day or two? What other stuff could you 'buy there' to make this journey easier?
  • You can either come home to collect more stuff later in the term, or there are carrier companies like DHL etc who will do door to door deliveries of your heavier stuff.
  • Google 'student luggage to Uni' or similar. Remember you don't have to have everything with you for the first week.

Self-catered halls or private flat

If you are living in self-catering accommodation you might need some of the following. If you are in a fully catered Halls of Residence, you won't need any of this stuff.

Kitchen appliances

Beware: If you are sharing you may end up with many of the same appliance in one house and remember your storage space in any communal kitchen will be very limited. Also some universities do supply these in varying states of working order for those in university accommodation. Always CHECK what you are allowed to bring with you - some unis are strict about electrical items.
  • Coffee maker
  • Kettle - usually supplied
  • Toaster - usually supplied
  • Rice Steamer

Kitchen equipment

Obviously you dont need any of this if you are living in a fully catered halls of residence. Even in self-catering CHECK what is provided before you go out and buy stuff. If you are a beans-on-toast sort of person, buy the minimum - you won't need a wok.
  • Small casserole dish
  • Small frying pan
  • Wok or large frying pan (with lid)
  • Large saucepan (with lid)
  • Small saucepan (with lid)
  • Flat baking tray (for oven chips!)
  • Tin opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Corkscrew
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Cheese grater
  • Wooden spoons or spatulas
  • Masher
  • Microwavable bowl
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring jug
  • Pizza cutter ( though it can be easier to use scissors )
  • Sieve
  • Colander
  • Whisk
  • Chopping knives
  • Chopping board ( may be a good idea to get a different one for meat, and for vegetables/bread to avoid cross-contamination )
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Tea towels


  • Tupperware (plastic tubs for storing leftovers.) Write your name on the lids and the tubs to prevent them going missing
  • Sandwich bags (good for storing 'dry' leftovers)
  • Biscuit tin
  • Cling film (for covering bowls in the fridge/microwave)
  • Tin foil
  • Plastic drinks bottle (better than buying bottled drinks - and saves money)


  • Glasses (pint glasses, wine glasses, shot glasses, cocktail glasses, whisky glasses)
  • Cutlery (knives, forks, spoons) Tip - taking just one or two of everything will encourage you to wash them straight away but make sure you have enough to have people over for a takeaway dinner
  • Crockery (plates, bowls, mugs, cups)

Basic ingredients

REMEMBER that uni towns have shops - you don't need to cart all this stuff from home!
  • Salt / Pepper
  • Herbs and spices
  • Sugar / Sweeteners
  • Ketchup, mayonnaise/ salad cream
  • Hot drinks (tea, coffee, hot chocolate)
  • Cooking oil/spray
  • Spreads - honey, jam, Marmite, peanut butter
  • Pasta sauce
  • Tins - stock up on soup, tinned fruit/veg, custard, rice pudding, canned meats, beans, peas etc
  • Cereal
  • Fruit squash/Ribena
  • Packet foods - e.g pasta/curry sauce, noodles, boil-in-the-bag rice, Angel Delight, pasta, jelly, biscuits, crisps, instant mash etc.


  • Tea towels
  • Baking foil
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Washing-up liquid
  • Bin bags
  • Recipe book/ instructions from your parents/guardian
  • Sandwich bags/Tupperware box for DIY lunches

Anything else that should be added to the list? Let us know in the comments.

See also

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