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The Ultimate Packing List: University Essentials vs Excess

Updated: Mar 17


Packing List for University: Mastering the Essentials

Going to university is an exciting adventure, but a common pitfall for many students is overpacking. We get it, the temptation to bring your entire wardrobe and quirky mug collection is real, but trust us, less is more!

Let's look at the art of packing and the list of essentials to bring to university and what to leave behind.

How do I start packing for Uni?

Think about the location of your university and how you will be moving there.

Are you taking a flight, or train, or driving?

Start collecting items in a corner of your room that you think you will need, or would like to take to university. You will quickly see how much space they will take up in suitcases or boxes.

Packing moving boxes ready to move to university

Top 10 Tips for Packing for University

  1. Packing takes more time than you think. Start early! Break it down into themes. Our packing lists cover the essentials you need for your student dorm, bathroom, electronics, kitchen, and more. Access Member Resources to get a lifetime subscription to all the checklists, tools and resources you'll need as a university student. Our recommended shopping lists detail the products you'll need.

  2. Pack a day bag for the day you travel. If your arrival at university is delayed for any reason, you may just want to crawl into bed and sleep. So, it’s a good idea to pack a washbag with overnight toiletries, pyjamas, a change of underwear and a tshirt for the next day, some snacks or a pot noodle to tide you over if it’s late, a pillowcase, mobile phone charger, your laptop and charger.

  3. Use a storable suitcase or recyclable boxes to transport your belongings. You won’t have room to swing a cat in your student flat, let alone store a hard-case. So use duffel bags or soft cases on wheels that you can fold up and store under your bed.

  4. Maximise your storage space. If necessary, use bed-spacers to raise the level of your bed and increase the storage space underneath.

  5. Bring door hooks. Check out our Storage shopping list for ideas.

  6. Lightweight narrow hangers. You probably won’t be provided with hangers in your limited hanging space, so pack 10-20 hangers and/or space-savers so you can hang up your clothes immediately.

  7. Don’t pack your entire wardrobe! Pack a few outfits that you can change with the seasons. And not too many shoes! You will probably be living in sneakers and slides!

  8. Bring a multi-point extension plug unit. The sockets in your student dorm may not be in convenient locations, so bring an extension cord so you can charge your electronics where it is convenient for you. Remember to keep any charging equipment away from your bed or soft furnishings, to avoid the risk of fire! WARNING! Do not have your phone charging on the bed while you sleep!

  9. Carry a first aid kit. Most people have minor incidents such as paper cuts, shaving, or using sharp kitchen knives. Having a first aid kit on hand will help you deal with them quickly. Check out our free checklist with direct links in our Free Resources.

  10. Bring a door wedge. Jam your door open on move-in day and say hello to anyone who passes by. This will help break the ice and you will make friends so much quicker.

Storage books on shelves

What to Pack for Uni vs What NOT to pack


The essentials for every university student's packing list:


  1. Clothing for all seasons: Pack versatile clothing for different weather conditions. Think layers and items that can be mixed and matched.

  2. Sleeping basics:  Comfort is key, so bring your favourite pillow, sheets and a warm blanket. You will be provided with a duvet and 1-2 pillows, but feel free to take your own bedding to ensure you new space feels like home.

  3. Tech equipment: Don't forget your laptop, chargers, adaptors, transformers, and other essential tech gadgets. These will be your lifelines for work, entertainment and staying connected.

  4. Kitchen basics: A few microwave-safe dishes, utensils, mugs and cutlery will save you from relying on takeaway food. And your budget will thank you for it. Learn to cook a few dishes, and share ideas or with your flat mates.

  5. Sportswear: Most universities have sports facilities, and a great way to make friends is to join a sports team, or take up an activity you have never considered before.


The items university students don't need to pack:


  1. Too many outfits:   While it's tempting to bring your entire wardrobe, realistically you will probably wear the same 3-5 outfits. Stick to the basics and see what you need before you pack a ballgown 'just in case'.

  2. Too many shoes:  Trust us, you don't need a different pair for every day of the month. Comfortable everyday shoes, sneakers and maybe a formal pair should do.

  3. Books you won't read: University libraries are there for a reason and are usually well stocked. Leave the novels you 'might' read at home to save space.

  4. Overdo the decorating: Bring a few items to personalise your room and make it feel cosy, but don't go overboard. You're there to study and socialise, not become a home deco influencer!

  5. Giant kitchen appliances: Unless you're addicted to smoothies or toasties, leave the blender or sandwich maker at home. They may seem essential, but realistically, space is limited and you won't want other flat mates using them. Opt for smaller, multi-purpose appliances if you really need them.


Typical student dorm in halls of residence

Why Less is More at University

Space is limited in student accommodation

Student rooms are notorious for their lack of space. Take a look at the image above - a typical student's room in university halls of residence. As you can see, there is very little storage space.

Bringing only the essentials means you won't have to navigate a maze of clutter, and can fit all your belongings in the storage provided.

Check out our recommended storage products to maximise your space.


Easier to move in and out

The less you bring, the smoother your move will be. Trust us, your future self will thank you when you're not struggling with multiple heavy bags. Make life easier on yourself and move into university with the minimum you need to get by in the beginning. You'll quickly find out what you're missing or think you need, and fix it.


Focus on the essentials

University life is all about new experiences, friendships and academic challenges. Minimising the distractions of unnecessary items will help you focus on these important aspects. If you bring your Xbox, you may find that you isolate yourself in your room and fail to socialise or make new friends.


Remember, finding the right balance between comfort and practicality is key when packing for university. The more space you have, the better you can create lasting memories and navigate the exciting journey that awaits you. Happy packing!

Get your essential packing list for Uni here

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