What to take to university checklist

packing for uni concept art

Here's our guide to the items you'll want to pack

You've got your place at university sorted – now all you need to do is decide what you’re going to take with you.

We've put together a long list of all the useful things you might want to bring on the journey – choose wisely!

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  • Duvet and duvet cover
  • Pillows and pillow covers
  • Sheets
  • Mattress protector
  • Blankets
  • Laundry basket
  • Small drying rack
  • Clothes hangers
  • Decorations to make your room feel more like home – like posters, framed photos and lamps

"If you're buying a duvet, you might as well buy a double one  you may need it throughout uni and you can never really have too much duvet," says ACCarnall.

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Clothes and accessories

  • Comfortable, casual clothing for everyday wear – like jeans and T-shirts
  • Lightweight jumpers
  • Heavy fleece jumpers or cotton sweatshirts (easier to wash than wool)
  • Underwear, including socks and bras
  • Trainers
  • Going out clothes and shoes for parties and club nights
  • Sports clothes
  • Hat, scarf and gloves – it’s probably going to be chilly by the end of your first term!
  • A waterproof coat
  • Pyjamas and slippers
  • Smart clothes suitable for part-time jobs
  • A durable everyday bag to take your stuff around campus

"Pack a mix of warm and cold weather things with a good coat," says HuggleyDuck.

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Bathroom items

  • Wash bag for your toiletries 
  • Facial wash and moisturiser
  • Shower gel or soap
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hairbrush
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Towels
  • Shaving cream and razors
  • Tampons and sanitary towels
  • Make-up and make-up remover
  • Toilet roll

"Take flip-flops if you're sharing a bathroom," says CoolCavy.

"I bought huge towels in my first few weeks as the journey to the shower was freezing," shares interficiam daucus.

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First-aid items

  • Any prescriptions or medications
  • Glasses prescription, if you have one
  • Painkillers
  • Contraceptives
  • Nail scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Plasters


If you're staying in halls, you should get an information pack telling you what will be in your room – so you might not need to buy everything.

Some students recommend taking the bare minimum, and then buying the rest as and when you need it after you've settled in.

  • Noticeboard 
  • Push-pins
  • A4 file paper or notebooks with tear out sheets
  • Notepad
  • Pens, pencils, highlighters and permanent markers
  • Pencil case
  • White Tack or Blu Tack
  • Scissors
  • Sellotape
  • Hole puncher
  • Stapler and staples
  • Paper clips
  • Post-it notes
  • A4 ring binders
  • Paper or plastic wallets
  • Student planner or diary

"I preferred hand-written notes, so I would buy a book for each module, and go through that way. Other people I know like folders or online notes, so it's just a preference," says Cheesybread.

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Electrical items

  • Laptop (although every uni has PCs available for students)
  • Small printer (the uni library will also have printers)
  • Ink – colour and black for inkjet, toner for laser
  • Socket converter, if you're an international student
  • Chargers
  • USB memory sticks
  • Headphones
  • Batteries

"I recommend having [a printer]. I used it a lot in first year, for when I had to send forms. I also printed out revision posters and notes," says DrawTheLine.

On the other hand, mnot says having a printer is unnecessary. "So much is done by electronic copies of PDFs nowadays and most unis give you printing credits".

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Important documents

  • Passport
  • Driving licence
  • National insurance number
  • NHS medical card
  • Details of your health insurance (for overseas students)
  • Details of your vaccination history
  • Insurance documents
  • Confirmation letters of your scholarship or bursary if appropriate
  • Any information from your LEA, the SLC (Student Loans Company) or Student Finance Direct
  • Any documents regarding your accommodation
  • Travel discount cards, such as the 16-25 railcard – these are great for cheap travel
  • Student Oyster card (if you're in London).

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Mini life-savers

These items may not be obvious, but you'll be glad you packed them. 

  • Earplugs – you'll thank yourself when your housemates burst in at 3am the day before an exam! "I found halls noisy but I got some earplugs and an eye mask and this really helped," says Chloe at the University of Portsmouth.
  • Latex gloves – someone's got to do the dirty chores. If you're the one who has to pull the hair out the plug hole, then you'll want to have some gloves at hand. 
  • Sewing kit – losing a button is like losing your whole wardrobe if you're not careful.
  • Emergency toilet roll – you definitely don't want to be left empty handed.

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Kitchen equipment for self-catered halls or private accomodation

You might need some of these if you’re going to be in self-catering accommodation, but it's worth checking if your university accommodation will provide them.

And if you’re in a fully-catered halls of residence, you won't need any of this stuff.

Kitchen appliances

Some universities might have strict rules about certain electrical appliances, such as kettles and toasters, so check what you’re allowed to bring.

  • Coffee maker 
  • Kettle
  • Toaster


  • Small casserole dish
  • Small frying pan
  • Wok or large frying pan
  • Large saucepan
  • Small saucepan
  • Flat baking tray
  • Tin opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Corkscrew 
  • Cheese grater
  • Wooden spoons or spatulas
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring jug
  • Sieve
  • Whisk
  • Chopping knives
  • Chopping board
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Tea towels

"It’s smart not to buy too much kitchen stuff if you don’t think you will use it. The basics you need are probably: plates, bowls, cutlery, trays, small saucepan with lid, some drinks glasses and some mugs. You should be able to buy that fairly cheaply," says kirstyb_.


  • Tupperware
  • Sandwich bags – good for storing leftovers
  • Biscuit tin
  • Cling film 
  • Tin foil


  • Glasses – including pint, wine, shot and cocktail 
  • Cutlery – knives, forks, spoons
  • Crockery – plates, bowls, mugs, cups


The logistics of getting everything there

If your parents aren't driving you to university, here are some alternative ideas for making the journey.

  • Car sharing if someone you know is also moving to the same city
  • If you have to go by train or coach, then take a suitcase (with wheels), backpack and as much other stuff as you can manage.
  • Buying bulkier items (such as your duvet, towels and pillows) when you get there. "My friend had to get the train to uni so she decided she would just go shopping when she got there for kitchen things, all cleaning stuff, food, hangers, toiletries etc so only took bedding and clothes in one big suitcase with her," says jess1808.
  • If you do need to travel very light, you can either come home to collect more stuff later in the term, or there are carrier companies such as DHL who will do door-to-door deliveries of your heavier stuff. Google 'student luggage to uni'.
  • Once you’re there you can always use student storage services over the holidays if you need to.

Prepare for university on The Student Room

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