Moving to university can be hectic. Since most freshers have never lived by themselves, part of that stress is wondering what to pack. With limited space in the car for all your worldly possessions, this list should give you an idea of the must-have essentials, the things you might not have considered and the stuff to leave behind. Some of these items vary depending on your accommodation choice (whether you are catered or sharing a bathroom etc.), but most things are helpful for any fresher.
Apart from all the obvious pots, pans and crockery, there a few things I would always recommend bringing to a shared kitchen. One tip I benefited from was finding a unique set of cutlery. Go for anything that is different to your classic stainless steel, so that it doesn’t get mixed up with your flatmates’ stuff in the inevitably overflowing sinks. Don’t forget basics like a tin opener and a cheese grater, because if you’re anything like a typical student, you will probably get lots of use out of them both. Even in catered halls, you might end up needing them at some point. Tupperware and freezer bags are a must to avoid wasting leftover food.
Use tupperware for anything you put in the fridge, but for the freezer use freezer bags instead. There isn’t usually much space in shared freezers, so separating your portions into freezer bags means you can fit more in. Dishmatic sponges are a life saver! They make it so much easier to wash up, as the washing-up liquid goes in the handle and comes out of the sponge as you clean. They are far better than a brush or normal sponge.
Bring tea towels, and lots of them! They always go missing or get used to wipe up food and end up stinking out the whole kitchen. So, make sure to bring a few with you at the start of the year, and always remember to wash them! Don’t bring too many cups, plates and bowls because there might not be much room in your cupboards. Two of everything is probably a good shout. Also, wait until you arrive to see if your flat has a kettle and a toaster. Once you know, you can figure out how to split the cost between everyone.
Bathroom and bedroom:
When you’re packing your clothes, don’t forget to pack the hangers. In my experience, there was more storage in my wardrobe than my drawers, so it was handy having the triangular hangers for trousers as well as tops. Mattress covers make your bed so much comfier; let’s face it, some of these rooms are years old, and you never know how long that mattress has been there.
Bring command strips instead of Blu-Tack for the best chance of getting your deposit back. Some rooms will also have a notice board, so drawing pins are a good idea. In my experience, having a bag for your laundry instead of a basket made it much easier to carry things down to the laundry room. Anything like one of the big IKEA bags will work. Similarly, if you’re sharing a bathroom, it might be helpful to have a waterproof box or basket to carry all your shower things through from your room.
Get an extension lead with a few plug sockets, because you won’t know how many plugs are in your room until you get there. Most accommodations won’t let you have candles, so a good alternative is to buy a couple of reed diffusers instead.
If you think you’ve got everything, check again for these last-minute essentials! A generic fancy dress costume or two is really handy to have in case people do themed flat parties or socials. On the other hand, you don’t really need heels or loads of fancy outfits, everyone just wears trainers. I took one pair of heels and a couple of dresses just for special occasions.
Bring a pack of cards for drinking games. Even if your flatmates also bring a pack, they will inevitably get ruined in a game of Ring of Fire, so it’s good to have a backup. You will almost definitely get fresher’s flu, so remember things like Lemsips, Paracetamol and plasters for all your illnesses and drunken mishaps.
Kitchen floors can get gross, so pack slippers or sliders. You don’t want to be going in there barefoot, the floor will probably get cleaned about three times the entire year. And finally, you probably will never touch an iron so don’t bother bringing one or getting an ironing board. Some accommodations provide one anyway, but if you’re desperate, find someone who has hair straighteners and use them instead.