So... as Result’s Day approaches for freshers-to-be, the impossibly possible task of packing for university is creeping closer. Living with strangers? No more mum’s meals? Using a washing machine? These are all pretty daunting realities you’ll soon be facing. BUT. If you’ve packed the right stuff and you’re prepped for your new independent lifestyle, you’ll be one step ahead of everyone else when you arrive.
Most universities offer accommodation with a choice between a bedroom with an en-suite bathroom or a bedroom with a sink and a shared bathroom.
For those lucky enough to have the luxury of an en-suite bathroom, there’s only one down side to the pleasure... you have to clean it! And a few cleaning essentials that will last you near enough the whole of first year (depending how hygienic you are!) will do the trick. The followings things you can get from pound stretchers or similar saver shops. 2 towels, shower mat, face flannels, toilet brush, shower/bathroom cleaner, Duck loo cleaner, hand soap, air freshener/Febreeze, toilet rolls, mop and bucket.
And those opting for a shared bathroom, you won’t need as many cleaning products, apart from a basic cleaning spray, hand soap and cloths for the sink and surfaces, but it might be an idea to take some flip flops for the walk to the shower as walking bare foot can be a little risky (and gross) the morning after a heavy night out for the flat. Trust me, you don’t know what you could find...
For the actual bedroom, most university accommodations will require you to bring pretty similar essentials. You’ll typically find you’re given a standard set of furniture including a desk, chair, wardrobe, bed and mattress, bedside table, waste bin and reading lamp (check your uni’s website to confirm these). Other bits you’ll want to take include pillows and duvet, bed sheets, blanket, fan (prepare for the extremes in uni accommodation!), storage boxes (for cupboards and under the bed), laundry basket, washing powder, clothes’ hangers, clothes’ airer (I also found taking a basic de-humidifier helpful for the winter when you don’t want your windows open for too long).
TIP. Take advantage of the nice pre-paid showers in first year before you revert to bill paying in second and third year... You’ll need all the classics like shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, (girls) makeup wipes, nail varnish remover, first aid kit (plasters, bandages), healing cream, pain relief tablets. And of course, the embarrassing bits like contraception and (girls) a pregnancy test or two (you might become an absolute saviour to a friend). You might also want to be clever and take some sun cream just in case.
Sharing a kitchen with others (nine in my case) isn’t going to be easy at first. But, once freshers’ week has passed and you’re all getting on with your own unique and slightly different schedules, having the time and space to cook will be just fine.
Again, whilst in first year you have the luxury of having a cleaning team visit your communal areas. However, there will be some things that you won’t be able to avoid buying. As I said, living with many other teenagers won’t be as easy as you suspect, even if there is only one week in between each cleaning visit.
Washing up liquid. Apparently to students, this stuff is absolute gold. And even better if you can convince someone to buy it. Somehow, my first year flat managed to get through 2 litres of washing up liquid a week, so make sure you bring plenty when you arrive in September. Another MUST HAVE is your own tea-towel which will get used by everyone who didn’t bring their own or has lost their’s, even if you hide it in your cupboard. Trust me, by the end of the year, the tea towel you bought with you will be the grossest thing you own, so be smart and make sure you shove it in the wash once in a while... for your own sake.
Other things you’ll need for the kitchen include a washing up bowl, kitchen roll, surface cleaner (arrange who is buying these beforehand to avoid owning a hoard of them as a flat), J-cloths, a saucepan, a frying pan, baking tray, plates, bowls, mugs, glasses, cutlery (bring loads as it will disappear in a never to be seen again pit), wooden spoon, serving spoons, foil, cling film, scissors, tin opener, vegetable peeler, cheese grater, sieve, basic recipe book.
Stationery/ study essentials
To be as fully prepared as you can be for the main reason that you’re going to this strange new place (your degree), you’ll want to make sure you have all the basic stationery gear. You’ll need a few folders, stapler, hole punch, ruler, laptop, printer and ink cartridges (depending on necessity), plain paper, note pads, pens, highlighters, calculator (if necessary), plastic pockets, blue tack (handy for sticking photos onto pin boards), celotape (for last minute birthday wrapping), scissors. You also might want to be clever and take some documents with you such as your passport, bank cheque book (if you have one) and a letter with your proof of address on as these you’ll often need for things like volunteering programmes or signing up to the gym.
You’re going to uni from the months of September all the way through to May/June time so you’ll need to be prepared for all weathers. Let’s face it British weather isn’t exactly predictable. For starters, you’ll need the number one halls’ life essentials including a cosy dressing gown, slippers and hoodies (my general attire when I don’t have to leave the building for lectures or the gym). You’ll then need plenty of other things like summer and winter clothes, clothes and shoes for partying, fancy dress clothes/ props (a MUST for freshers’ week and if you plan to join a society), bed wear, underwear (you can never take too many socks- they also disappear into that pit where the cutlery goes), swimwear? (Might get another heatwave), sportswear, trainers, bum bag (very handy on a night out). One other thing... if you’re a glasses wearer don’t be a donut and forget your glasses! Otherwise you may have a bit of a shock when it comes to reading your lecture slides...
Whilst it’s likely that most of your food shopping you’ll do once settled into your accommodation, it’s always a good idea to take essentials such as -bread, butter, marmite/jam, crisps, cereal, sweets, soup, pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes, baked beans, pasta and rice sauces, long life juice, cooking oil, tomato sauce, salt & pepper- with you when you first move in. There often isn’t an incredible amount of fridge, freezer and cupboard space in the kitchen, so taking a big plastic box to keep long-life things in your room is a good idea if you can.
With some hope, this guide will make packing an easy and do-able process for you and you’ll be the most prepared of them all when you move in, making it a more enjoyable than scary experience for you.
Best of luck with packing and the move and enjoy your first year as a fresher! Have FUN! ￼