Things you need to take to university

By Charlotte Gaines

The time has finally arrived for you to clear a rather large space in the house to pile the copious amounts of STUFF you’ll want (and need) to take to university with you.
Grab as many boxes as you can and print off this handy list of what, and what not, to take to university come mid-September.

This is by no means a completely exhaustive list but will be enough to set you up for university life.

Some great (and cheap) places to shop for your uni gear are Argos, Wilko, IKEA, Dunelm and The Range.
You can find all of these in Norwich should you forget something crucial, or think of another way to spruce up your room as you’re moving in.

Let’s start with the important stuff.
It’s worth taking a plastic wallet with these items in, as you can keep them all in one place to access if and when needed.

  • Passport and Driving Licence – possibly the two most important documents for students, you won’t be able to buy alcohol without them!
  • NHS medical card & doctor details – you’ll want to sign up for the medical centre on campus in case of any ailments during term-time
  • National Insurance number – jot it down somewhere if you’re planning on job hunting when you get to uni
  • Confirmation of place letter – proof that you belong here!
  • Accommodation contract – a note of where you’re living, when you pay and when you have to move in and out
  • 16-25 railcard and NUS card – everyone loves a saving and with certain student bank accounts you can get either one of these discount cards for free too!
  • Copies of CV and references – Jobs, jobs, jobs
  • Student finance entitlement letter – keep track of your payments and financial situation
  • Spare passport photos – always handy for bus passes and other admin

Next up we have electricals, in which category my most important tip is: don’t leave your laptop at home when you leave for uni, your parents won’t be impressed!

  • Curlers/straighteners/hairdryer
  • Electronics – Tablet, phone, laptop, portable hard drive/USB sticks, Kindle, games console
  • Extension leads
  • Docking station/speaker
  • Headphones
  • Printer – although you can print at the library for as little as 5p per sheet, it may be worth investing in your own printer for convenience
  • Chargers and leads – and a box to keep them together in
  • Spare light bulbs – make sure you know how to change them before you leave too
  • Table or desk lamp

Now to the academic items:

  • Ring binders
  • Plastic wallets
  • Notebooks
  • Pencil case – pens, pencils, rubber, sharpener, highlighters, paper clips
  • Calendar and academic diary
  • Paper
  • Post-it notes
  • Address book, stamps and envelopes – don’t forget home birthdays!
  • Sellotape
  • Push pins/drawing pins – to pin those family photos to the noticeboard
  • Hole punch and stapler
  • Mini white board – for your to-do list and deadlines
  • Rubber bands
  • Sharpie pens

Even though you’ll be sharing a kitchen with as many as 14 people here at UEA, it’s best if you don’t rely on everyone else to bring kitchen essentials and come stocked up with a few pots and plenty of cutlery to last you through the year. You’ll need:

  • Tubs for freezing food
  • Tea towels – remember to wash them every once in a while!
  • Kitchen sponges – for doing washing up
  • A few of your least favourite/cheapest mugs – mugs have a high mortality rate in student kitchens
  • Glasses or tumblers
  • Plates & bowls (3 of each) – try to get unique ones so they don’t get used by others
  • Cutlery – again, ones with coloured or patterned handles will help yours stand out
  • Sharp knives – 2 decent sharp knifes should do for cutting meat and vegetables
  • Scissors
  • Two wooden spoons
  • Two chopping boards
  • Two baking trays
  • Peeler
  • Washing up liquid
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener with corkscrew – goes without saying
  • Measuring jug
  • Shot glasses
  • 1 frying pan
  • 1 small & 1 large saucepan with lids – if possible invest in decent saucepans to ensure they get you through the year and beyond
  • Cheese grater
  • Sieve
  • Oven gloves
  • Pizza cutter – in case you decide to quit the Dominos for a bit and cook your own


  • Bedding (2 x duvet covers, sheets, pillowcases)
  • Duvet
  • Mattress topper – highly recommended, these make the beds a whole lot more comfortable
  • Doorstop – leave your door open over moving-in weekend to meet your new flatmates
  • Over-door hanging mirror – a bit of a lifesaver for the fashion conscious –
  • Potted plant – spruce up your room
  • Pillows – however many you like
  • Alarm clock – put as far away from your bed as possible
  • Bedside cabinet (if not provided)
  • Posters – and anything else to help personalise your room
  • Blu-tac/white tac – for the posters
  • Storage boxes
  • Laundry bag – IKEA bags do the trick
  • Family and friends photos – pin them on your noticeboard and stare at them during nostalgic moments
  • Slippers – your kitchen floor will be nasty
  • Coat hangers – you can never have too many clothes
  • Fancy dress – handy for Fresher’s week and beyond

A great way to pack your clothes and bedding is using vacuum bags, an easy but effective solution to reduce the space they take up in the car.

Students may have a reputation for being grimy, but that doesn’t mean you have to neglect your personal hygiene too. Make sure you take these items:

  • First aid kit (including plasters, painkillers, cough sweets, Olbas Oil and Lemsip) – be prepared for Fresher’s Flu
  • 2 bath towels & 2 hand towels
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Shower gel & shampoo etc.
  • Hand soap
  • Tissues
  • Washbag
  • Toilet roll
  • Bathroom tidy/box
  • Bath mat – or just use a bath towel, it dries much quicker

A few more random items you should take with you:

  • Rucksack/satchel – for everyday use
  • Clothes horse – saves you paying for the tumble drier but takes up a fair bit of space in your room when in use
  • Washing bag/basket – don’t just put your clothes in a pile on the floor
  • Washing powder or tabs
  • Febreeze
  • Pack of cards – always handy
  • Torch
  • Fan (if not provided in your accommodation)
  • Anti-bac cleaning wipes

After a long list of things you need, here are a few pointers on what you don’t actually need to lug all the way across to your new home:

  • An iron – I can count on one hand the number of times I picked up an iron in first year, so unless you really can’t bear unironed clothes then save your money on this one
  • Old schoolbooks and work – unless you know you will need them for the modules then don’t bother bringing these with you
  • School leavers hoodie – pledge allegiance to UEA with our hoodies instead
  • A TV –  your laptop will do, though watch out – you could get in trouble for watching BBC iPlayer without a TV licence

Make sure you start buying your university gear early, don’t leave it all until the week before you leave. Happy packing!

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