Getting prepared to leave your family home for university can be a stressful time, especially when you do not know what you need to pack. There are so many things you might need or want, but you only have limited space in the car or on the train for all your belongings. So, if you want a list of all the essential items you need (and will actually use) then check them our below.

1. Clothes for all weather

You will be living at university at a time for nearly a whole year, so you will be there for all four seasons, meaning you will need outfits for every weather. Especially in winter when you might be walking to your tutorials in the sleet and snow, you are going to need a good winter coat to keep you warm. Plus, you will probably try to put off doing your washing for as long as possible, so having a wide range of clothes will come in handy.

2. At least one ball gown or suit

Whilst you are at university, you are bound to attend at least one ball or dinner that requires a gown or suit. Whilst it is not something you need to purchase straight away, having formal wear in your cupboard cannot hurt and is a good way to make reuse of your high school prom dress. Once you are done with your dress, you can always put it into a ball gown exchange system at your university or sell it, or keep it for other balls in the future.

3. A small purse

small purse dhgate

A small purse or wallet that you can easily slide into your pocket is always useful and might help to make you feel more secure around campus. If you are studying in a busy city it can be a worry that someone can just slip their hand into your backpack and take your wallet, so you can pre-empt any problems by having a small and discreet wallet that is kept on your person at all times.

4. A sturdy backpack or bag

It goes without saying, but you will probably be carrying a lot of textbooks between your classes, and you need a decent backpack or bag to carry them all around in. You don’t want a small flimsy bag that will break in no time at all, especially if you live off-campus and are trekking into town every day with everything on your back.

5. Photographs

These will help make your student halls feel more like home and help make your walls feel less bare. They’re a good way to fill up your pinboard in your room, and you can add to them as the year goes and you make more memories with your new friends.

6. A planner

intelligent change planner
Source: Intelligent Change

University is basically just a bunch of deadlines that you need to remember, so a daily or weekly planner will help you remember those important dates. You can find really basic ones that act just like a diary, or fancy ones that let you track your grades, society meetings and timetable. If you’re not a fan of a physical planner, you can find ones online that will alert you with reminders.

7. A student railcard

A student railcard, or a seasonal bus ticket, is a great purchase for any student. They let you get around town and the country for a great price and will be used countless times over your years at university, especially if you are planning on travelling home at the weekends or visiting friends in other cities.

8. A reusable coffee cup

Lots of cafés and takeaways offer a discount on coffee, tea and hot chocolate if you bring your own reusable cup, meaning that you get money off whilst helping protect the environment. These reusable cups last for years, so they are well worth purchasing if you’re a fan of hot drinks, some universities even provide freshers with their own branded cups within their welcome packs when they move into halls.

9. A lanyard


Many university halls don’t use physical keys anymore; rather they use swipe cards to enter your flat and room that automatically lock the bedroom door behind you when you leave your room. This means that it can be very easy to accidentally lock yourself out of your room so having a lanyard that you can attach it to is really useful, as you’re less likely to forget your key when it is attached to a lanyard. You can also attach your student card and the key to your mailbox to it as well.

10. Slippers

Shared flat floors can get dirty incredibly quickly, so you probably don’t want to be walking around there with your bare feet, so a pair of slippers is a definite must.

11. A watch

This one really speaks for itself. You really need a watch to keep you on time for all of your classes and events.

12. A clothes horse 

folding clothes horse garden trading

With the cost of using washing machines and tumble dryers rising in halls, it may be worth your time investing in a clothes horse for your room. This will save you money by not having to use the tumble dryers, and they can be bought for cheap for local homeware shops or from Amazon.

13. A student cookbook

These can be picked up for cheap at most bookshops and will prove invaluable during your time at university. Student cookbooks specialise in food that is easy and quick to make whilst not breaking the bank account, and some even tell you how to make your own cocktails. Great for a night in with the girls!

14. A box for your toiletries

If your accommodation has shared toilets, you might want to invest in a small box or basket to carry your toiletries back and forth in if you do not want to leave your belongings unattended.

15. A reusable shopping bag

myria shopping bag
Source: Myria

If you’re in self-catered accommodation, then a reusable shopping bag will be invaluable. Not only will it save you 5p every time you go to the shops, but you will be helping the environment, and most universities offer loads of free shopping bags during freshers week, so you probably won’t even need to buy one.