Packing for university: the ultimate checklist

By on May 18th, 2023




You’ve done it – your place in uni is secured, your accommodation is booked and you’re about to set off on the biggest adventure of your life!

It can be quite daunting leaving home for the first time, and the temptation may be there to just start throwing everything you own into a bag, but planning what you’re going to take will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

So to help we’ve put together this, the first in a series of packing for university guides, an ultimate checklist to making packing as painless as possible. Whether you’re staying in a shared apartment, studio apartment or an en-suite room in halls, we have everything covered to make sure you’re ready for the big move!

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Bedroom essentials

  • Bed linen: sheets, duvet, duvet covers, pillows, pillowcases, mattress protector and any blankets/cushions
  • Clothes and shoes: this is the fun bit – pack clothes for all seasons and occasions, including loungewear and activewear for those downtime days
  • Coat hangers: you need somewhere to put all your clothes, after all
  • Washing bag/basket: trust us – this will be invaluable when it comes to taking your clothes to the laundry room!
  • Storage boxes: to keep your space tidy and organised
  • Photos/pictures: this is your room after all and as long as you don’t do any damage to the place adding your own finishing touches to keep it homely will help you transition from living at home to living at uni.
  • Small mirror: there will most likely be one in your room, or at least in your bathroom, but it’s always good to bring a small portable one, especially when getting ready for a night out!
  • Alarm clock: Most of us use our phones, but having an alarm clock in case of emergencies will make your life a lot easier
  • Clothes horse: to help cut the cost of drying clothes
  • Washing powder and fabric softener
  • Small safe: to keep your important documents and money in when you go out

Kitchen essentials

  • Plates and bowls: of varying sizes
  • Mugs, glasses and cups: again, make sure you have a variety of different mugs and cups, to make sure you’ve got something for every occasion!
  • Other utensils: a pair of tongs, a whisk, a peeler, a spatula, a ladle, a pizza cutter, some kitchen knives and some wooden spoons will be helpful whilst cooking
  • Pans: especially a frying pan and a saucepan, but depending on the level of cooking expertise you have you might also want to take more of a variety
  • Cheese grater
  • Can opener
  • Baking tray
  • Chopping board
  • Bottle opener
  • Tupperware: batch cooking will save you money in the long run, and it always helps to have somewhere to keep your lunch and your leftovers!
  • to have somewhere to keep your lunch and your leftovers!
  • Washing up liquid and sponges: it would be wise to have some flash wipes or surface cleaner as well to keep your space clean even if you have a cleaner
  • Bin bags
  • Tin foil
  • Cling film: or choose an eco-friendly option to help reduce plastic
  • Measuring jug
  • Tea towels and oven gloves



Electronic essentials

  • Mobile: and chargers!
  • Laptop: take your laptop, a case and all of the chargers you need for it
  • Printer and ink: you’ll find it useful for getting your work done more efficiently
  • Headphones: and portable speakers in case you end up at a picnic or outdoor study session
  • Extension leads: don’t get caught short of plug sockets!
  • USB memory stick: essential for keeping all of your work in one place
  • Ethernet cable: whilst this won’t be essential if you’re moving into a Downing apartment – as all of our apartments have high-speed WiFi – this isn’t the case everywhere, so make sure you check!
  • Hairdryer and straighteners

Study essentials

  • Student planner: make sure to get an academic one so you can plan from September
  • Document storage folders
  • Pens, pencils, rulers, rubbers, highlighters, scissors, stapler, staples and whatever specific equipment you need for your course
  • Writing pads: A4 and A5
  • Post-it notes
  • Calculator
  • Course textbooks: check out your course reading beforehand and make sure you have what you need
  • Dictionary and thesaurus: you might want to use online options, but either way they’ll stand you in good stead when studying

Documents to bring to university

  • Passport and other ID: if you have a driving license, for example, make sure to bring it
  • Passport photos: to us for your student ID pictures
  • Insurance documents: make sure to get student specific insurance, and keep your documents in a safe place
  • Bank details: it is always helpful to bring a bank statement with you should you ever need to prove your home address
  • Student finance documents: keep these with your bank statements and insurance documents in a safe place you can access easily
  • University acceptance letter
  • Accommodation documents
  • NHS medical number: you will be able to sign up with a GP when you’re at university, just make sure you have your medical number
  • National insurance number


It may seem like a lot, but once you get unpacked, you’ll be grateful to have everything you need at hand to save the headache of having to go back and forth.

To make it even easier for you, we’ve teamed up with Unikitout, the UK’s leading Student Kit supplier, who can deliver your uni essentials in one handy package delivered straight to your accommodation! Enter code Downing10 for a fab discount on everything you need to make your apartment or room a home away from home.

Make sure to get in touch with your accommodation provider to check what facilities they offer too. Our student rooms and apartments at Downing are packed full with lots of extras, including ample storage space, and study areas, however not all spaces will have this so you may need to also bring your own TV and storage units.

Above everything else though, our top tip for packing for university is to enjoy it and make your space your own. After all, you’re going to be living there for the best part of a year – it would be a shame not to!


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