What To Take To University: The Ultimate Checklist | true | true

What To Take To University - The Ultimate Packing Checklist

Posted 6 Jul 2021

Going to uni this September? You should probably leave your pet cat at home, but let us help you with the rest…

Deciding what to take to university can be very overwhelming, but if you don’t fancy reading the whole article, check out our handy checklist to ensure you have everything you’ll need! Simply make a copy, print or download this list, tick them off as you pack and achieve the ultimate stress-free packing experience (if that’s even a thing?) 

At true student, we welcome people every year to our student accommodation, and we’ve seen countless students arrive without all the items they need. There’s no need to worry though - you can, of course, buy anything you've forgotten once you’ve arrived. However, moving into your studio or apartment will go much smoother if you already have everything planned ahead of time.

Bear in mind that whatever you pack has to fit into your new uni room, so maybe leave the giant teddy at home...

Important Documents 


Taking your personal documents will be very important in the first few weeks of university. Ideally, if you want to be organised, make paper and digital copies of all your necessary documents so you're never caught out.

  • Passport and/or driving license
  • Student finance documents
  • National insurance card/number
  • Extra passport photos
  • All university documents you received - acceptance letter etc
  • Any accommodation documents you received.
  • Scholarship/bursary letters
  • Medical/vaccination history
  • Insurance documents



Making sure your pencil case is well-stocked goes a long way in the first couple of days, along with making sure your desk is stocked up with all the folders and binders you will need for your course.

  • Pens and pencils, ruler and pencil case
  • Stapler and staples
  • Scissors
  • A4 or A5 writing pad
  • Storage folders
  • Ring-binders
  • Sticky notes - super handy!
  • Calculator, if you want to go old-school - or just use your phone!
  • Course textbooks
  • Diary or planner 
  • Highlighters 
  • Paper clips  



As much as you might try, living on takeaways might not be the best idea for your health, or your bank balance! If you're going to be sharing accommodation with flatmates, you’ll no doubt end up with multiple toastie-makers, so save the bag space and prioritise the useful things!

Take these basics to ensure you have everything you need to cook up a storm. 

For Eating and Cooking

  • Recipe book (if you prefer digital, there are hundreds of student recipes online)
  • Small cutlery set
  • Plates, small and large
  • Bowl
  • Mug(s) and glassware
  • Sharp knife (one good, general-purpose knife is plenty)
  • Cooking scissors
  • Air-tight containers - perfect for storage or as a lunch box!
  • Bottle and wine opener
  • Chopping board(s) - at least 2 is perfect to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Kitchen tongs, spatula and ladle
  • Frying pan(s) - non-stick are the best!
  • Saucepan with lid
  • Measuring jug
  • Can opener
  • Veg peeler
  • Cheese grater
  • Colander - collapsible silicone ones are perfect.
  • Baking tray
  • Oven gloves
  • Wooden spoon

For Cleaning

  • Tea towel - don’t be boring, get a funny one!
  • Washing up liquid, sponge and brush
  • Bin bags, tin foil and cling-film
  • Cleaning spray 
  • Cloths 



Don’t be that person who turns up with Peppa Pig bed linen, just because it was on offer.  

  • All-season duvet, pillows and covers
  • Bed sheets - trust us, Peppa Pig is not a good look.
  • Mattress and pillow protectors
  • Coat hangers
  • Laundry basket - pop up ones will help save space.
  • Washing airer
  • Earplugs - for noisy roommates
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Clothes airer 
  • Storage boxes
  • Small bin 
  • Decoration! 



Just realised that you have wayyyy too many clothes and they won’t fit? Or do you have hardly any at all? Don’t panic! Just make sure you have the essentials, and use your swanky new student discount to pick up some new garms.

  • Comfortable lounging clothing
  • Formal clothing and shoes
  • Nightwear/pyjamas
  • Dressing gown
  • Seasonal items such as hats, gloves and a scarf.
  • Backpack 
  • Raincoat
  • Flip-flops - essential for a communal bathroom!
  • T-shirts 
  • Jumpers 
  • Trousers/jeans 
  • Underwear 
  • Socks 
  • Hoody 
  •  Shorts 
  •  ‘Night out’ clothes 
  • Everyday shoes 
  • Gym clothes 
  • Running/sports trainers 
  • Jacket 
  • Winter coat 
  • Slippers 
  • Swimwear 
  • Fancy dress items! 



With an en-suite room or shared bathroom, make sure you have everything you need to not get caught out on your first night!

  • Towels - don’t forget a small one for your hands!
  • Sponge/Loofah 
  •  Bathrobe 
  • Bath mat 
  • Toilet paper 
  •  Hand soap  


  • Toothbrush and holder/cup
  • Toothpaste 
  • Shampoo 
  •  Conditioner 
  • Shower gel 
  • Razor 
  • Shaving foam 
  • Deodorant 
  • Skincare 
  • Makeup 
  • Makeup remover 
  • Sanitary products 
  • Contraception 
  • Nail cutters and tweezers 
  • First aid kit  
  • Air freshener - a must for shared flats!

For Cleaning

  • Bathroom and toilet cleaner
  • Sponges 
  • Rubber gloves 
  • Toilet brush  


Phone and charger
  • Phone 
  • Phone charger 
  • Portable charger 
  • Headphones 
  • Speaker 
  • Laptop 
  • Laptop charger 
  • Lamp 
  • Printer 
  • Printer ink 
  • Hairdryer 
  • Curlers 
  • Straighteners 
  • Camera 
  • Extension lead 

Medical Supplies

  • Paracetamol 
  • Ibuprofen 
  • Lemsip 
  • Vitamins 
  • Plasters 
  • Allergy medicine 
  • First aid kit 
  • Nail scissors/clippers 
  • Prescription medicine

Payment Methods  

  • Debit card 
  • Credit card 
  • Cash 
  • Student discount cards 

Making New Friends “Essentials”

It might not be something you should strictly ‘take with you’ but nothing will break the ice with your new roommates quite like a game of beer pong. Perhaps include these drinking games on your first Amazon shop at your new address.

  • Beer pong - be the champion of your flat for undying respect.
  • Cards against humanity - discover the dark side of your new friends.
  • Pack of playing cards - the possibilities are endless.

Where to Buy Uni Essentials 

You may not need all the items on the checklist above. However, buying everything you need for university can be expensive. Thankfully, there are lots of affordable retailers out there, so you can still find items on a student budget.

Great places to buy uni essentials include Wilko, Amazon and IKEA. And why not go to Poundland or B&M for your toiletries and cleaning products? 

What’s more, there are some outlets that offer student discounts, too. Before you buy everything, make sure to shop around to find the best deal possible. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Packing for Uni 

When Should I Start Packing for Uni? 

It’s a good idea to start packing at least a week before you arrive at university. This way, you can take your time and you’ll have a much less stressful experience. Go slow, look through each of the sections in this checklist one by one, and you’ll enjoy the process so much more. What’s more, you don’t want to forget anything, so if you plan ahead of time, you’ll be able to double and triple check everything is there. 

Packing up for uni can also be emotional, especially if you’ve never lived away from home. You want packing to feel like a memorable experience - and not something that’s rushed in a day! 

What Do I Need For My First Day of Uni? 

It’s useful to these items on your first day at uni: 

  • Campus map 
  • Acceptance letter 
  • Stationery 
  • Notebook or paper 
  • ID 

However, don’t worry if everything isn’t sorted in time. You’ll have plenty of days to sort everything out and get settled in, so don’t feel like you have to rush if you don’t want to.  

What Should You Not Bring to Uni?


In most university halls, it’s likely you won’t be able to bring the following items. They may either pose a fire hazard, or cause damage to the property. Check with your student halls provider first if you’re unsure. 

  • Plug-in fairy lights 
  • Pets 
  • Candles 
  • Incense  

Should I Share Items Like Cutlery With My Flatmates? 

If you’re living in shared accommodation, like a flat or apartment, you may decide to buy some uni essentials together. For example, it’s common for people to chip in and pay for cleaning products as a group. 

If you know who you’re going to be living with, why not set up a group chat with them before you arrive at your accommodation? This way, you can discuss together whether you’d like to share the cost of some items. Some people will be comfortable with it, and others may not be. That’s okay! Talking about it beforehand helps you work out what you will and won’t need to bring. 

Bear in mind that you may not live with the same people throughout your university experience, so plan at the start of term what you’re going to do with the items you buy together once you part ways. 

Get 10% Off UniKitOut 

Want to save even more stress and hassle whilst packing for uni? With true student, you can get 10% off at UniKitOut. They offer starter kits where you can get essential items for your bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. Even better, you don’t have to bring them with you, as they’ll arrive at your student accommodation on check in day. 

We hope you found this ultimate university packing list helpful! Now, you can take the stress out of packing, and enjoy the move to start your next adventure at uni. 

true student offers private, luxury student accommodation in locations including Swansea, Liverpool, Birmingham and more. 

Book a Viewing Today 

Posted 6 Jul 2021