What should I take to university?

Written by Channon Gray

What should I take to university? Is the question most first time (even second and third time) students are asking themselves right now. Packing for university can be an endless mission. The hard part isn’t so much the packing but more so the art of fitting everything into a tiny box room at the other end.

**I am currently adding to the list and so therefore, I would love to hear any suggestions from you, contact me here.


  • Duvet, duvet cover and bed sheets.
  • Pillows and pillow cases.
  • A mattress protector – unless you are lucky enough to have a new bed then a mattress protector is key.
  • A blanket – a teddy bear blanket from Dunelm is the one!


  • Frying pan – fry ups are an absolute hangover must.
  • Saucepans.
  • Baking trays – these will get ruined so buy cheap ones.
  • Cooking utensils – essentials: a spatula, tongs, plastic spoon, wooden spoon and potato masher.
  • Can opener – you might think that all cans now-a-days have easy open lids, but value ones definitely don’t…
  • Pizza cutter and pizza oven tray – pizza is a staple student diet.
  • Chopping boards – similar to the trays, these often get destroyed within weeks so cheap ones are ideal.
  • Bowls, plates and little plates – two of each is enough.
  • Mugs, glasses (and shot glasses).
  • Cutlery – I made the mistake of spending an extortionate amount on really nice knives and forks, but within a matter of days most of them had gone ‘missing’. I finished up my year with just one teaspoon, one spoon, one fork and four knives…
  • (Many) tea towels.
  • Stackable food containers, tupperware and microwavable takeaway containers (these are a life saver).
  • Potato peeler.
  • Colander – how else are you going to drain away the water in pasta?
  • An egg cup – why not?

Cleaning and organising:

  • Dishcloths and sponges – these get pretty dirty so I would keep them in your personal draw.
  • Wipes – disinfectant, wooden, bathroom and citrus cleaning wipes are the ones I used the most.
  • Dusters.
  • Dustpan and brush – this is good to keep in your room.
  • Washing up bowl – now, my flat didn’t have one of these (partly because no one actually knew what one was). However, if you can get in contact with your soon-to-be flatmates prior to university then this is something to discuss. P.S. a top tip: search for your halls Facebook group before you start!
  • Bin liners – you can never have enough of these.
  • A bathmat and bathroom bin – if you are lucky enough to have your own bathroom, oooooo fancy.
  • Coat-hangers – I collected them throughout the year, mainly from my Primark clothes.
  • Laundry bag or bin – no one wants to see your dirty pants…
  • Storage boxes, empty shoeboxes or spare suitcases – great for storage under your bed.


  • A day per page diary – once you get to university, there is a lot of stuff to remember including appointments, class times, essay deadlines, reading lists and homework tasks so therefore, a good diary is handy. I recently splashed out on a Filofax from Paperchase in the sale (because I am obsessed with stationery…) and I cannot wait to personalise it once I start back in September.
  • Pens, pens and more pens.
  • Coloured pens – Stabilo pens make me so happy. I bought a set of 30 for €9 when I was in France, what a bargain!
  • HB pencils, a rubber, pencil sharpener and ruler.
  • A clear pencil case – keep it simple.
  • A calculator – trust me, even if you do English Literature, you will probably find a use for a calculator.


  • A laptop with Adobe Reader and Microsoft Office – Office 365 offers a student deal using an NUS card. The Office 365 apps are also transferrable to tablets, such as iPads. I recommend OneNote to anybody and everybody.
  • A tablet – useful for on-the-go reading, note taking, planning and presentations.
  • An AUX cable – always needed, ALWAYS.
  • TV, although remember to purchase a TV license with this – I had a TV last year, as I like to work with background noise but this is completely optional. It might make you very loved amongst your flatmates, *cough, cough* X-Factor Saturday party in your room! I also had an x-box, so that I could watch films and play games against my Sister (oh and SingStar alone, in my room) BUT the StudentCom internet didn’t allow for that to happen, so it was basically a DVD player.


  • Desk lamp – the dimmable ones are good and you can find them at Dunelm or on
  • Pictures, posters and knick-knacks from home – I would say that these are probably the most important thing. I really missed home throughout my time away, especially in the beginning but displaying things from my room at home really helped.
  • A mirror.
  • Cushions – these serve a double purpose: 1) they look nice and make a room feel homely, 2) your bed can double-up as a sofa with the help of a few cushions and a throw.

Clothes and other:

This is just a basic list of clothes and doesn’t include absolutely everything but I couldn’t have lived without these last year:

  • A warm jumper – hoodies are so comfy, although you probably own one of your uni hoodies within a week, I did!
  • A coat – university in the UK will definitely involve some long walks in the rain, wind and cold. Also a hat, scarves and gloves are pretty handy.
  • Comfy and sturdy shoes – I eventually bought some Nike trainers after living in London for a while, having worn out two pairs of leather boots within my first term.
  • A rucksack – practicality over fashion. You will end up carrying a lot of unnecessary junk to uni and this means that a fairly strong bag is a good idea.
  • Bathrobe and slippers – when the fire alarm goes off at 4:36am, you are going to need these.
  • Towels and facecloths – a large bath towel is essential as the run from the shower room to your bedroom is risky to say the least.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 14.25.30


P.S. Don’t forget a pack of cards – they will be used, all the time!

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About the author

Channon Gray

I'm Channon and yes, it's spelt wrong, but that is interesting right? I'm 23 years young. I like to write, create art and travel. Cornish bumpkin who studied in London then Cambridge. I'm now a Postgraduate Student, Stationery Addict and all-round Life Enthusiast.

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August 20, 2017 01:58

Great list, what about swiffer for the floors (kitchen and bathroom). This is more like advice but a nice organized desk with inspirational quotes or stuff that inspires you.

August 19, 2017 19:59

6 years of university taught me to wait and see what my flatmates are also bringing – if everyone brings a full set of cookware, there will be no room to cook! What are you studying?

Mind Over Meta
August 19, 2017 17:06

Well, that’s a very comprehensive list! You mentioned taking a deck of cards, which brought to mind a little game which I find really funny but you have to be not-easily offended; Cards Against Humanity. I reckon this would be good to bring out after a few drinks ;)

Gary Jefferies
Gary Jefferies
August 19, 2017 16:56

Crumbs; this take me back…three times in fact! Mind you times were simpler so tech was not on the agenda back then; unlike today! Exciting times ahead though. I loved Uni :)

August 19, 2017 16:23

I’m 22 and finally decided to take the plunge and go to uni in September. I won’t be living in halls though – do you think I will miss out on all the fun stuff?

August 19, 2017 16:14

Your own special treat box of goodies for those stressful study days.

Becca @ The Married Cat Lady
August 19, 2017 16:13

I think you’ve got a thorough list here, and I definitely concur on the cards!

Ruth Daly
August 19, 2017 16:01

Wow, great list. Looks like you’ve got everything covered!

Ritu Bhathal
August 19, 2017 15:59

University days are wonderful!

Ritu Bhathal
August 19, 2017 15:59

University years are wonderful!

Josy A
August 19, 2017 15:53

I wouldn’t worry too much about pens, you get so many for free in Freshers week.

What about a cheap toaster? I lived on toast early on in uni life…


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