Girl Walking Carrying Suitcase

A Guide to Packing for Your First Year at University

There’s a golden rule when it comes to packing for Uni: take less.

This is first time you’ve been away from home and you’re going to make yourself feel more secure by trying to pack the entire contents of your bedroom, including Mr Bear who has sat on your shelf since you were two. Don’t.

Now is the moment to espouse a minimalist lifestyle.

Your personal space is about to be radically diminished, don’t fill it with a load of stuff which you’ll soon discover that you don’t really need.

There will be shops, you will be able to buy things, they may even be much cheaper.

There will also be a whole bunch of other people going through the same experience as you and borrowing stuff is a great way to meet people.

This is not irresponsible advice, it’s an essential survival tip.

Living in a small overcrowded environment is stressful, keep it simple and give yourself space, it’ll fill up soon enough.

Don’t pack suitcases or trunks because you’ll be stuck with somewhere to store them afterwards.

Go for soft bags which can be stored compactly or cardboard boxes which you can recycle.

Lots of medium sized bags are better than some six-foot high backpack that scrapes the paint off the walls as you drag it inch by inch to its final destination.

Chances are that you are going to be in halls of residence for your first year and that quite a lot of things will be provided for you.

Don’t make assumptions, try and find out what it provided.

If you’re moving into private accommodation this might be trickier but the golden rule still applies: don’t overpack.

Group of University Students Chatting

The Essentials


A cosy bed is a great solace so make sure you’ve got a decent duvet and pillows and enough bed linen so that you can have one lot on and one lot in the wash.


A hand towel and bath towel.


No, you can’t bring all your clothes and you can’t pack for four seasons either.

Think outfits, think comfort.

One smart outfit is a good idea.

A waterproof, a warm jumper, footwear that isn’t going to fall apart.

University gives you the opportunity to reinvent yourself and acquiring new clothing is going to be part of that process.


This stuff is easy to buy so don’t bring the entire bathroom cabinet.


Laptop and mobile phone, plus all the attendant chargers and leads, headphones and speakers etc.

This should have been at the top of the list because it’s the only stuff that you really can’t do without.


Proper grown up stuff this, you need to keep it safe and you need to know where to find it.

Passport, driving licence, National Insurance card, letter of admission, finance details, bank details and a bunch of passport size photographs for your student card etc.

In order to get registered with a doctor or dentist, you’ll need a letter with your university address on it.

Kitchen Equipment

Find out what’s going to be there but if it turns out that there’s no wok after all you will still survive.

Think camping, knife, fork, spoon, bowl, plate, mugs, spatula, frying pan, saucepan, corkscrew, bottle opener, can opener.

You can throw those lavish dinner parties later; in the meantime, you just need to be able to eat.

Study equipment

Do you really need those bagfuls of highlighters and mini staplers?

Some A4 paper and a good desk lamp should be enough to get you started.

And don’t arrive with your entire reading list already purchased.

You can only read one book at a time and you’ll pick them up much cheaper from last year’s students and if you buy from a brainiac you might even find that they are full of super useful notes.

Author Bio

Written by Stuart Cooke, Blog Editor at MAHI Leather who make quality luggage from ethically sourced leather.