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Freshers: 10 essentials to pack for uni

From bedding and toiletries to clothes and technology, we cover what you should cart up to uni - and what you should leave behind...

When packing for uni, the temptation is all too great to pack absolutely everything.

But here at Which? Uni, we’d advise a minimalistic approach. You’ll quite happily get by with just the essentials, especially for your first term. After all, a cluttered room can make for a cluttered mind!

We’ve put together 10 key things to think about when packing for uni, below. If you go to uni and find yourself missing something you own - or you think your room could do with a little more decoration - you could always grab something from home the next time you’re back.

1. Bedding


Your halls might already have this covered but, if not, take your own. Even if your halls do provide this, it may well be worth taking your own if you’re a fussy sleeper and you know what you like.

You might also want to take along some fun bedding to give your room some pizzazz. 

2. Towels


On your first day of uni, you don’t want to find yourself having to drip-dry after a shower!

Definitely take more than one towel with you. If you take just one, you may find yourself without it for a few days if you hang dry it after it’s been washed - especially during the colder winter months.

Also remember other showering essentials that you use, like flannels or shower puffs.

3. Basic toiletries


It’s all well and good having towels, flannels and shower puffs, but you also need some toiletries to clean yourself with. These include:
  • shampoo
  • shower gel
  • toothpaste (and don’t forget your toothbrush!)
  • deodorant.
To avoid overpaying on the basics and to free up more spending money, check out the cheapest places to buy toiletries.

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    4. Health and medical supplies


    If you have a medical condition that you manage yourself through medication (e.g. asthma, diabetes, epilepsy), make sure you have enough supplies to tide you over until you can either register at a local GP at university, or go home to visit.

    5. Enough clothes


    For your first term at uni, you probably won’t need your summer wardrobe.

    Take enough clothes to see you through just until the Christmas break, if you plan to go home then.

    It’s likely to be pretty warm in September, but it’s safe to expect cold days and nights from October onwards. It might be a good idea to take a few jumpers, other knitwear, some jeans/trousers, gloves, a coat, and a scarf.

    6. Bare minimum stationery


    Resist the temptation to go mad with colour-coded folders from day one. For your first landing at uni, take just a few pens and small notepad - get anything else you need while you’re there.

    7. Laptop


    This is pretty essential! You’ll need a laptop for essays and desk research, but it’ll also come in handy for a film night or for catching up on TV after a night out.

    If you don’t already own a laptop - or you’re considering buying a new one - take a look at best laptops for students. This guide explores different laptops and budgets for different courses, as well as student discounts to look out for both on laptops and software.

    While using your laptop at uni, make sure you’re staying safe online too. You don’t want to give a hacker easy access to your personal info...

    8. Money-saving essentials


    If you’re living on a student budget, it’s good to be wise to all of the deals and discounts you can get your hands on.

    You’ll likely save a lot of money if you buy a 16-25 railcard (which knocks a third off train tickets) and an NUS extra card, which gives you access to hundreds of discounts.

    Find out more: six ways to get money-ready for uni.

    9. Recipes


    Ok, this might not be something you pack per se, but you should save a few simple recipes on your phone. You don’t want to spend too much time during Freshers’ Week wandering up and down supermarket aisles without having a scooby where to start.

    10. A few photos


    Moving to uni can be hard - it’s a big adjustment for many, and you may find yourself missing family and friends.

    Take a few photos of your best pals and loved ones, to remind you to keep in touch. For some of the less obvious ways to do this, head to five ways to stay connected with home friends.

    What NOT to pack

    There are some common things that students take to uni for their first term that they just don’t need.

    For example, you probably don’t need to take your own kettle - if you halls haven’t provided one, you and your flatmates can all chip in to get one.

    For more, our article on six things you DON’T need to pack for uni will really help reduce the weight of your bags...

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