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The ultimate uni packing guide

college student carrying books

Are you sending your offspring off to Uni this year? Here are 27 things to pack for university that you may have missed

Going to university is one of the most exciting, nerve wracking and transformative experiences in a young person's life. For many it will be the first time they’ll be away from home for an extended period of time, the first time they’ll have to fend for themselves and for some, the first time they’ll have to use the washing machine without any help (no judging round here!).

Knowing what to pack can be a bit of a minefield and it can be tricky to know exactly what you’ll need, however most universities provide lists and the essentials will vary hugely depending on the sort of accommodation you opt for, if living away from home.

Now, we’re not here to tell you what the essentials are as we’re pretty sure you either know this already, can figure this out, or have gathered enough information so far to have this vaguely sorted, in your head at least! Think packing for a super long self catering holiday with some nights out and you get the idea. What we CAN help with are all the random things you HAVEN’T thought of yet, that you can only learn you need from experience, or mishap, or both! We’ve compiled this super handy list of 27 items to make going to university a breeze… or near enough!

1 Extension cable with multiple sockets

Not only will you be charging all your own tech, chances are you’ll be hanging out with new friends who will want to do the same!

2 Ear plugs

You never know who will be in the next room to you, or when you’ll perhaps fancy a day time nap. And so some noise cancelling ear plugs can be a life saver!

3 First aid kit

We’d recommend making your own and filling it with the things you’re likely to need such as pain killers, plasters, scissors and antiseptic cream.

4 Collapsible clothes airer

Drying clothes in the absence of a tumble dryer (particularly if using one is pricey) is easy if you have one of these. It will also make your room smell lovely!

5 Toasted sandwich maker

Quick and cheap meals are everything at uni and a toasted sandwich with a filling of your choice can make up any meal or just be a handy snack.

6 Door stop

Bring a few, particularly on moving in day so that you don’t have doors swinging in your face too often. Propping your door open can also help you to socialise, but only if you want to.

7 Paper plates

Bring a big stack - you’ll be glad you did. When the sink is full, or when you just fancy a picnic, or meal in your room, your trusty paper plate will be there for you.

8 Wet wipes

You can use wet wipes for most things; hands, faces, surfaces, bathrooms, on days out, on nights out and so on. Try to opt for biodegradable if you can.

9 Tin of biscuits

You’ll be meeting lots of new people and probably having lots of cups of tea and so a large tin of biscuits could be just the ticket to offer round and break the ice.

10 Potato peeler

Seems an odd one to bring but a bad potato peeler can ruin meal prep and you want to remove as many barriers to eating vegetables as you can!

11 Tin opener

Like the potato peeler, a bad tin opener can be messy and chances are your shared kitchen won’t be the tidiest. Invest in a good one now and it will last.

12 Clip on spotlight

Let’s assume you’ve got lots of reading to do, your clip on spotlight near your bed or desk will help you to focus, for a little bit at least!

13 Bottle opener / corkscrew

We’re not sure this one needs any explanation!

14 Playing cards

Uni is incredibly exciting however it’s nice to have downtime too! A pack of playing cards could help you to bond with housemates, learn new games and unwind.

15 Slippers or sliders

Not that we’re judging but floors get dirty very quickly and so some easy to put on slippers or sliders can save your feet from the grime indoors.

16 Mattress Protector

You’ll need to know the size of your bed for this but make the investment as you never how comfortable your mattress is or who slept on it last!

17 Hangers

Far better to have a nice set of new slimline hangers to sort your clothes out than to rely on the random selection of used dusty ones at the back of your wardrobe!

18 Teaspoons

For some reason, there never seem to be enough. Bring a small pack with you to make sure you always have a clean one for that all important cuppa.

19 Face paint

There’s lots of opportunity to dress up at university and if you have a palette of face paint, you’ll always be prepared!

20 Emergency money in the back of a photo frame

This is a good way to ensure you don’t entirely run out of cash, plus its a nice thing to ask for as a leaving gift from family.

21 Scissors

You’ll need scissors for so many things and they do have a habit of disappearing so our top tip is to bring a pack of three - small, medium and large.

22 Lap tray

These aren’t just for eating breakfast in bed (!) but are also super handy for propping up a laptop, finalising some work on or just watching a film wherever you like.

23 Swiss Army knife

You won’t be doing much DIY at uni but things do break, get stuck and need sorting and this might do just the job. Just make sure the blade is under 3 inches long and check for any regulations your uni may have about owning one.

24 Large foldable laundry bags

These will be used for everything, laundry, packing, storing, keeping smelly shoes tucked away. We’d recommend having several, just in case.

25 Pizza cutter

Make sure you get lovely neat slices on your takeout or shop bought pizza with a sharp and easy to use pizza cutter. Just roll and off you go.

26 Sharpie pens

Use these to label, well, anything. Boxes, shoes, clothing, blocks of cheese, milk, whatever. Just make sure not to mark your skin as they are permanent!


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