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How to Pack for University Like a Pro

Updated: Feb 14

Learning How to Pack for University is a Key Life Skill for Students

From choosing the right courses to finding your way around campus, there are a lot of things to consider. One essential aspect of starting university is packing. But knowing HOW to pack for university is key!

In this guide, we will provide you with expert tips and tricks on how to pack for university and make your packing process smooth and efficient. Whether you're living in halls of residence, a dorm room or an off-campus apartment, we've got the tips and tricks you need to succeed.


"Packing Pro" is my middle name!

Our sole raison d’etre is based on our understanding of the challenges that students face when packing for university. It is the reason why we have created our comprehensive guide “From High School to Uni” to help you every step of the way. 

Order your copy NOW and get more than packing lists, but guidance every step of the way on preparing for university and surviving and thriving on campus.


front cover of From High School to Uni a guide for students moving to university with tips on how to pack for university
The Ultimate Student Guide

In the meantime, we are here to help you pack smartly and efficiently. We know that you may have a lot on your plate, so we have compiled the essential items you need to bring, as well as some handy packing hacks to save space and money.



It's Not Just What You Pack but How to Pack for University that is Important


Knowing how to pack for university can seem daunting to many students. And parents too. It's not just about cramming clothes and toiletries into a couple of suitcases. It's about being creating a space that feels like home, and to be prepared for any situation while you're on campus.


Here are some reasons why packing for university is important:


  • Saves time and money: Packing the essentials before you leave for university will save you the hassle of last-minute shopping trips. By being prepared, and getting started well ahead of time, you can avoid spending extra money on items you forgot to pack or didn't realize you needed.

  • Create a comfortable living space for yourself: Your dorm room or apartment will be your home away from home for the year at least. While you certainly shouldn’t empty your current bedroom into your suitcases, by packing items that make you feel comfortable, such as bedding, decorations, and personal mementos, you can create a space that reflects your personality and helps you feel more at home.

  • Be self-sufficient: University life comes with new responsibilities, and being self-sufficient is one of them. Packing essential items such as kitchen utensils, cleaning supplies, and a first aid kit, will allow you to manage everyday tasks without relying on others.


Knowing how to pack for university does not mean you have to expertly pack everything you own into a few bags and boxes. It's about choosing the right items to make your university experience more enjoyable and less stressful. And at certain times when you may feel a little homesick, it will help to have items that are comforting around you.


Essential Items to Pack for University


When it comes to packing for university, it's important to strike a balance between bringing what you need and not over-packing in the process.

Here is a list of essential items that should be on your packing checklist:


  1. Bedding: Pack sheets, pillows, pillowcases, and a comfortable blanket or duvet. Check the size of your bed on the university accommodation website before packing bedding.

  2. Toiletries: Don't forget to pack your toothbrush, but travel-sized containers to save space for toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and any other toiletries you use every day.

  3. Clothes: Pack a mix of comfortable and ‘social’ clothing. Don’t overpack! You won’t wear them! And make sure they’re all easy to wash – no “dry-clean only” items! Don't forget to bring comfortable shoes and a raincoat or umbrella.

  4. Kitchen equipment: If you're staying in halls of residence or a student dorm with a communal kitchen or in an apartment with a kitchenette, pack some basic kitchen essentials such as plates, bowls, utensils, and cookware.

  5. Electronics: Bring your laptop, phone, chargers, and any other electronic devices you'll need for studying and staying connected. Don't forget to pack headphones for those late-night study sessions.

  6. School Supplies: Wait for Freshers Week to get the freebies. You don’t need to stock up on notebooks, pens, highlighters, and other school supplies. Consider investing in a good backpack or tote bag to carry your laptop, any books and supplies. Check out our Instagram posts on what to pack for everyday university use.


Remember, this is indicative.

Our packing lists in Member Resources have precise checklists to help you gather EXACTLY what you need for university. Keep in mind any specific items that may be prohibited by your university or accommodation.


Showcase of checklists for students moving to university on website
Some of the checklists available in our Member Resources

Tips for Maximising Space in your Suitcase


It's no secret that space is limited when packing for university. Here are some tips to help you maximise the space in your suitcase:


  1. Roll your clothes: Instead of folding your clothes, roll them tightly. This not only saves space but also reduces wrinkles.

  2. Use vacuum-sealed bags: Vacuum-sealed bags are a great way to compress bulky items such as bedding and winter clothes. They can save you a significant amount of space in your suitcase. But attention, when sucking the air out of the bags, it does make them much heavier! You need to take this into account, particularly as you will likely be carrying your suitcases up stairs to your accommodation that may not have an elevator!

  3. Use packing cubes: Packing cubes are small, lightweight bags that help you organise and compress your clothes. They are especially useful for when you start unpacking, as you can tackle one area at a time.

  4. Pack versatile clothing: Choose clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits. This way, you can pack fewer clothes without sacrificing style.

  5. Use empty spaces: Make use of any empty spaces in your suitcase, such as the insides of shoes or the gaps between larger items and stuff socks, underwear, or small accessories into these spaces.


Remember to pack efficiently but also leave some room for items you might think about at the last minute.


Organising your Packing Checklist


A well-organised packing checklist can help ensure that you don't forget anything important. Our checklists have been tried and tested to help you pack the essentials for university without a second thought.


Here are some tips on how to organise your packing:


  1. Categorize items: Divide your packing list into categories such as clothing, toiletries, electronics, etc. This will help you stay organised and ensure that you cover all the items you need.

  2. Check items: As you pack each item, check it off your list. This will help you keep track of what you've already packed and what you still need to pack.

  3. Prioritise essential items: Start by packing the essentials first, such as bedding, toiletries and clothes. This way, if you run out of space, you can easily leave behind non-essential items.

  4. Pack in stages: Packing everything in one go can be overwhelming. Break your packing into stages, such as packing clothes one day and electronics the next. This will make the process more manageable.

  5. Heavy items: Place heavy items, like shoes, in the bottom of your case(s) to prevent any items getting crushed or creased.


By organizing your packing checklist, you can ensure that you have everything you need and avoid the stress of forgetting important items.

How to Pack Electronics and Gadgets for University

Electronics and gadgets are an essential part of everyday university life. Here are some tips on how to pack them safely and efficiently.

  1. Use a padded case or sleeve: Invest in a padded case or sleeve to protect your laptop, and other electronic devices from scratches and damage.

  2. Wrap cables and chargers neatly: Use cable organisers or ziplock bags to keep your cables and chargers tangle-free and easily accessible. This will save you time and frustration when you setting up your electronics.

  3. Back up important files: Before packing your electronics, invest in an external hard drive and  back up all your important files and documents. This way, you won't lose any important data in case of theft or damage.

  4. Check voltage compatibility: If you're travelling to a different country for university, check the voltage compatibility of your electronic devices. You may need to invest in voltage converters or adapters to ensure they work properly.

Remember to take care of your electronics during transport and avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures or humidity.

More importantly, download our packing checklists once you sign up for Member Resources and pack exactly what you need in terms of electronic equipment.

Packing for Different Climates and Seasons

If you're moving to a university in a different climate or experiencing different seasons, here are some tips on how to pack accordingly:

  1. Research the climate: Before packing, research the climate of your university's location. Find out the average temperatures, rainfall, and any extreme weather conditions you may need to prepare for.

  2. Layer your clothing: Layering is key when packing for different climates. Pack a mix of lightweight and warm clothing that can be layered to adapt to changing weather conditions.

  3. Pack appropriate footwear: Depending on the climate, you may need different types of footwear. Pack sturdy boots for snowy winters or waterproof boots for rainy seasons. Don't forget comfortable shoes for everyday use.

  4. Consider seasonal accessories: If you'll be experiencing different seasons, pack accessories like hats, scarves, and gloves for colder months. These items take up less space but can make a big difference in your comfort level.

  5. Check university regulations: Some universities have specific rules about heating and cooling in student accommodation. Check whether you are allowed to bring additional items like fans or space heaters.

Remember to pack for the climate you'll be living in, but also keep in mind appropriate clothing for trips or when you travel home during holidays or breaks.

Tips for Moving into your Dorm or Apartment

Moving into your dorm or apartment can be an exciting but hectic experience. Here are some tips to make the process smoother:

  1. Coordinate with your roommate or flatmates: If you have a roommate, coordinate with them beforehand to avoid unnecessary duplication of items. Discuss who will bring larger items like a microwave or mini-fridge.

  2. Label your boxes: Labeling your boxes with the contents and the room they belong to can make unpacking much easier. This way, you can quickly find what you need without rummaging through multiple boxes.

  3. Pack a "first-night" box: Pack a separate box with essential items you'll need on your first night, such as bedding, toiletries, and a change of clothes. This way, you won't have to unpack everything immediately.

  4. Take measurements: If you're bringing larger furniture items, take measurements of your dorm room or apartment to ensure they'll fit. This will save you from the hassle of bringing items that won't fit through the door or in the available space.

  5. Ask about move-in assistance: Some universities offer move-in assistance to students. Check if this service is available and take advantage of it to make the process easier.

Moving into your new living space is an exciting milestone. By following these tips, you can make the process smoother and more enjoyable.

Start your University Journey with a Well-Packed Bag

Packing for university doesn't have to be overwhelming. With proper planning, organisation, and these expert tips, you can pack like a pro and start your university journey off on the right foot.

Remember to prioritise essential items, maximise space in your suitcase, and pack efficiently.

By bringing the right items and creating a comfortable living space, you can focus on making the most of your university experience. So, start packing, and get ready to embark on an exciting new chapter in your life.


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