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21 Dos and Don'ts When Packing for University

Updated on February 16, 2017

Off to uni? Great! Don't miss this ultimate checklist of things to take (and not take) with you when you move into halls. Being a student is an exciting time, and you want to make sure you start off with the right stuff.

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What You SHOULD Take

1. A strong bag. Preferably a backpack or something similar. You'll need something that won't rip from carrying textbooks, stationery and a laptop. Make sure it's easy to carry and doesn't strain your back. Wandering around campus can be taxing with the wrong type of bag.

2. A padlock or two. Whether for your bike, your bag or your food cupboard (if you decide to live in university accommodation), a padlock is surprisingly handy.

3. A laptop. A small, portable one with basic software like Microsoft Word is more than enough. You can take notes in lectures, get some homework done on the go and use the university wifi.

4. Plenty of comfortable clothes. There is nothing wrong with looking good in designer gear, but realistically at university you'll have at least one day of the week where you have a lecture at 9am. It's good to have some comfortable, affordable clothes to slip into. It's easier to sit in a morning lecture in jeans and trainers than heels.

5. Cooking equipment. Nothing too flashy or expensive, but make sure you take at least a saucepan, some cutlery and basic utensils for the first few days while you're settling in. If you can contact the people you're going to live with, try to organise what you're all bringing beforehand - otherwise you might end up with no pans, but four toasters and seventy-two spoons.

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6. Bedding. University halls don't usually provide a sheet, pillowcases or bed covers. Even if they do, it's best to take your own - you know they're guaranteed to be brand new and clean. Plus, you can choose the design.

7. Towels. Take at least one towel with you. The first thing you'll probably want to do when you arrive is take a shower, and it's a bit awkward to ask your new housemate if you can borrow a towel.

8. Cleaning stuff. Housemates can be messy, especially when drunk. Discuss having a communal cleaning cupboard with the others in the accommodation, and make sure you have at least a few cloths and spray in there for spillages and other hygiene emergencies.

9. A money pot. If you're living in university accommodation, there will usually be a laundry room that requires coins. Don't be caught the night before a job interview with dirty clothes and no change. Keep a small money pot full of 20 and 50p coins so that whenever you need to do laundry, you'll already have your stash ready.

10. Plenty of toothpaste, deodarant, handwash and toilet paper. Toiletries can be easy to forget when you're out shopping. If you're sharing a bathroom with your housemates, be sure to keep a spare roll of loo paper in your bedroom, just in case.

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11. Halloween make-up. Be the hero of the party by providing facepaint for last-minute Halloween celebrations (check out this cool Killer Clown make-up tutorial).

12. A bicycle. Bikes are affordable, convenient and are a faster way of getting around. You can cycle to class and burn off beer calories. Being able to travel farther whilst saving money on buses and taxis also means that there is a wider range of part-time jobs you can search for.

13. A laundry basket. Simple, but often forgotten by people leaving home for the first time. Have a basket to throw dirty clothes in - there's nothing quite like having dirty underpants on the floor when your friends come to visit.

14. A games console. You might find you're stuck in your room at certain times of the year, such as when you're sick. If you have a multiplayer console, you can also be the host of some great game nights. Just make sure it's insured.

15. A notebook and pen to keep in your bag at all times. You never know when something interesting or useful might come up. Part time job fairs and other events might inspire some ideas, so make sure you've always got something to jot them down on.

16. An extra phone charger. Keep one in your room and one in your bag. You don't want to be caught with no battery. This way, if you lose one, you'll have one spare.

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What You SHOULDN'T Take

17. Expensive textbooks. Your course reading will have a long list of pricey tomes that, with a quick Amazon search, will come at a hefty price. You don't necessarily have to buy them!

Remember:

  • Your university library will most likely have the same books for free. Borrow one at a time over a course of a couple of days, take essential notes, and you'll have what you need at no price at all.
  • If you absolutely must have the books before you move in, try online (such as Craigslist) or second-hand bookstores. Ex-students often sell their old textbooks for next to nothing.
  • Don't buy too many books for one course. One or two is best. Other quotes for your essays can be found on websites or academic journals.

18. Furniture. Student halls provides basic neccessities, usually a desk, a chair and a bed. Check the university's website.

19. An expensive, flimsy handbag. Save the tiny and/or designer bags for nights out. As mentioned earlier, a strong backpack is best for classes.

20. Expensive equipment such as speakers, a desktop gaming computer or anything else that cost you a lot. Unless it's always with you, like your phone or an iPad, it's better to go for a cheaper option. Even if the stuff is insured, there's no guarantee you'll get it back if it happens to get stolen.

21. Too much luggage. Even though there are a lot of things you should take to uni, try not to end up with three suitcases stuffed full of stuff. University rooms don't have that much storage space, and although it seems like a long time, one year can pass by quite quickly.

Arriving to uni with the right stuff is a great way to kick-start what may well be the best four years of your life. Have a fantastic time!

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