To make sure you’re not sprinting to town in a panic after forgetting those all-important things, we’ve compiled a list of essentials.

What do I need for uni?

Formal documents you just can’t leave without

First things first, you’ll need all your essential documents organized and ready at hand. Try to have these kept neatly in one place and are kept up to date. These might take up precious storage space, but you’ll thank us later, promise…

  • ID (passport or driving licence) – you’ll need these for exams, to register for things like events and clubs, to gain access into buildings, for nights out and much more
  • Bank and discount cards, including student cards – you don’t want to a) have to ask your new housemates to borrow money and b), be missing out on any hefty discounts during freshers’ week!
  • University documents confirming your place, enrolment forms and any student finance documentation…just in case you look a little than before summer
  • Health documents, for example repeat prescriptions, medical insurance policies or other important information
  • Copies of rental agreements, insurance, proof of residence, and student visas if applicable. You may also need to install an app like Glide to make sure you’re splitting utility bills evenly amongst housemates, or a general budgeting app to track your spending

Electrical essentials

Whatever your living circumstances, you’ll probably need to bring a few key gadgets, although this depends on your unique needs:

  • A pair of good headphones – these block out noisy neighbours or housemates and let you study in peace when you need to, or have a much-needed nap after a night out
  • Laptop – use this to study, but also watch TV series’ without taking up too much precious space
  • Portable Speakers – let’s be honest, you’ll need a quick and easy way to play music for house parties that’s easy to transport!

Kitchen bits and pieces

What you’ll need to bring depends a lot on the kind of accommodation you’re moving into, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution and bring slightly more than you think you’ll need, just in case your things go walkabout.

  • Cutlery – bring just two each of knives, spoons, and forks to start with, to avoid unnecessarily heavy bags. You’ll also need one sharp knife at a minimum, and more if you’re keen on cooking. These are cheap and easily accessible though if you did need to buy more.
  • A plate, bowl, mug, and glass – bring more if you’re not a fan of washing up
  • Don’t forget scissors, tongs, a ladle (soup is classic student food), measuring jug, can opener, and a bottle opener (again, there will be house parties…)
  • Bring a few pieces of Tupperware, Ziploc bags and a chopping board for those leftovers
  • For pots and pans, you can get by with a single wok or frying pan to multitask, and possibly a colander and cheese grater
  • Oven gloves and tea towel
  • Washing up liquid and washing up sponge (Dishmatics are good if you want to unleash your inner Mrs Hinch)
  • Bin bags, including compost bags if you use these
  • Tinfoil and cling film

Bedroom necessities

The most important thing you need to set up when you’re in new accommodation is your sleeping arrangements. You need to make sure you’re as comfortable as humanly possible, so you can get the sleep you need to keep up with your studies (and to recover from heavy nights). Bedding, however, can be a little expensive if you buy everything from scratch, so make sure you’re not forgetting anything crucial at home.

  • Duvet with cover
  • Pillows with pillowcases
  • Bed sheets – bring two or three sets, and fitted sheets are often easiest
  • Mattress protector, especially if you’re not thrilled with using a secondhand mattress
  • Coat hangers – also consider smart clothing storage solutions if you’re in a smallish spot and have a lot of clothing to store
  • Laundry basket (try a space-saving one that hangs on the back of a door)
  • Small mirror
  • Clothes horse
  • Desk fan
  • Earplugs

Bathroom essentials

While it’s easy enough to buy these things as and when you need them, you’ll have a lot on your plate the first few weeks of term, and you’ll feel a lot more comfortable if you already have everything you need ready to go.

  • Bath towel and hand towels. Bring a dressing gown, too, if you use one often
  • Hand soap
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Shampoo, conditioner and shower gel
  • Flip-flops (essential in communal showers to avoid bacteria)
  • Toilet roll. You might like to bring some tissues and wet wipes, too
  • Hairbrush or comb, hair straighteners, or a hairdryer as needed
  • Make-up, make-up remover, perfume etc.
  • Nail clippers, tweezers, razors, shaving cream and other grooming items
  • A small first aid kit including plasters and paracetamol; bring any important medication and prescriptions
  • Contraceptives and sanitary products
  • Other personal items like contact lens solution, lotion, deodorant and so on


Obviously, the clothing you bring will depend heavily on the season and your own personal preferences, but make sure that you’re at least covering all your bases, so you don’t find yourself in a pinch.

  • T-shirts, shirts and tops
  • Dresses/skirts
  • Jumpers and sweatshirts
  • Jeans, leggings, tights, yoga pants or joggers (you’ll get a lot of mileage out of these!)
  • Smart trousers, a smart jacket, nice shoes and a tie for more formal occasions, or some heels and a more professional looking dress or skirt suit
  • Raincoat, winter coat, gloves and a warm hat (these last three can be left at home if you’ll be visiting before Christmas break)
  • Underwear and socks
  • Pyjamas and warm slippers
  • Trainers
  • Watches or jewellery
  • Handbags
  • Gym or swimming kit (if you’re partial to a regular swim)

Study items

  • Glide recommends using your laptop in lectures to reduce the need for bulky stationery, but you can bring a fluffy pen or two if that helps!
  • Post-It notes – whether this is for sticking revision notes on the toilet door, or leaving yourself positive affirmations during stressful times, these handy little things wouldn’t go a miss
  • Calculator (or use your phone if possible, particularly if your course isn’t number orientated)

Remember, you can always bring additional items if you’re heading back home before Christmas. This includes things like bulky winter coats, rugs, lamps or other useful room décor, and musical instruments (…you’ll want to suss out your neighbours first). If you’re still unsure, rest assured that like this one, there are plenty of guides out there to help send you on your way to uni.