As a third year uni student (which is extremely scary considering it feels like I only just went into first year) I think I’ve gotten a good idea of what is necessary and unnecessary to take to your new home. Whether that is in student accommodation or private renting.
I’ve accumulated suggestions from a range of different students living in different accommodations (thank you!) and different places. This way you are getting suggestions that will hopefully serve you well.
Before I get into a list of things I think its important to preface this with some things you should do before you even start shopping;
- If you can, try and find your flatmates. This way you can speak to them and make sure no one is taking double of items. No one needs two kettles and toasters etc. In some cases doubles are not a problem however it’s important to make sure you’re not overcompensating and filling up your car unnecessarily.
- Check what your accommodation provides. Like I mentioned above often your accommodation will actually have toasters and kettles but if not its good to get them in advance so check just incase. Similarly, when I moved into private renting accommodation there were already plates, bowls and glasses there which I was unaware of, which meant we didn’t actually need to take any.
- Make a list. Properly think of what things you’ll be cooking or what you’ll need to feel comfortable. Everyone has different needs and wants when it comes to this. There is no point taking things just for the sake of it.
- When packing make sure to pack your things in rooms so, toilet, bedroom and kitchen. This makes unpacking a lot less stressful; you’ll thank me later.
What to Bring – Kitchen:
- Make sure to have cutlery which has an individual style to it. Pure metal ones are overused and you’ll most likely see more than one pair in your accomodation. If it has a design it means your cutlery is less likely to be stolen or go missing.
- A few cups and glasses. I know right now you’re only catering for one but most likely you’ll have friends over at some point so a few of everything is the way to go.
- Individualistic plates and bowls (also take a few) are important. Plain white is also most likely going to appear in your accommodation by someone else. This will make moving out difficult if they’ve all gotten mixed up.
- if you love a toastie, then a toastie machine/George Forman is very useful and can be used for many things, This is definitely one I’d speak with your flatmates about because one of my friends ended up having three in her flat.
- A few trays for the oven will be one of your most used items, especially if you’re not much of a cook. Think about one big enough for a pizza and then a smaller one that could always fit half the shelf so someone else can cook in it at the same time.
- A few dish towels are important and get dirty quickly so make sure to get at least two so they can be replaced.
- Decent Knives: these will last you a while, in fact you should be thinking about the fact that all these items will do you through your uni years. Decent knives makes cooking a lot easier.
- Stir Fry’s are incredibly popular because they are cheap, easy and quick. I’d advise getting a Wok. They last ages and are very useful. You can also get single Woks which are smaller if you’d rather.
- A range of pans in different sizes. Make sure to have a decent one for pasta, a frying pan etc. Think about how you cook at home (or how your parents cook) and what pans are most often used and how many.
- Measuring cups/spoons and a measuring jug are very handy. If you’re wanting to do some baking, be a bit more adventurous or simply need a jug to mix drinks or put something in the microwave, jugs are multipurpose and measuring spoons are useful.
- A sieve/drainer for draining pasta is one often forgotten about but is actually very useful.
- A few wooden spoons, potato masher, a serving spoon/ladel, spatula and something to hold them all in, is useful and keeps everything in one place. (the potato masher is something I didn’t use a lot so it depends what you prefer).
- A small oven dish for cooking pasta bakes, shepherds pie etc. is very handy and one often forgotten about.
- A good pair of oven gloves are important. *Don’t do what I did and nearly set them on fire by accidentally setting them on a hob which was recently turned off.*
- Chopping boards. This is something you don’t need to overdo but a few will do you well.
Things you don’t need: Personally I gave up with ironing. I did take one with me because a family friend kindly gifted me money to get something. A few of my flatmates used it but even now it only comes out of the cupboard every so often. I wouldn’t say it’s a necessity, a good way to get wrinkles out is hanging it in your bathroom after a shower.
Tip for the Kitchen: Aside from the kitchen utensils etc. a good idea before moving is getting a package of your favourite foods so when you’re there you feel more at home and don’t have to feel stressed about doing a big shop. Taking some cereal, biscuits, pasta, pasta sauce, diluting juice, tea, coffee, any condiments etc. will be a life saver, basically any non perishable goods which will last a while.
Tips for living with flatmates: As soon as you are there make a rota for cleaning and taking out the bins. Trust me, it is much easier to get this out of the way at the start when you’ve got nothing personal going on and you’ll avoid conflict if its just part of your routine.
- Look at what you have in your bedroom currently. I know you might view your new flat as semi permanent and not worth doing anything too but a year is a long time. To make your stay more comfortable try and take some pieces from your current bedroom. When I went I took some fake plants I had (don’t come for me), some frames (not allowed on walls but can be leant against a wall), photos of friends, fairy lights and some little mementos of my favourite things.
- Your bed is most likely not going to be the most comfiest of things so a mattress topper, mattress protector, a decent duvet and some good pillows will go a long way in not only making you more comfortable but getting you a goodnight’s sleep.
- If your room is lacking colour then adding some decorative pillows will not only brighten up your space but make it extra comfy and will be handy if friends pop around.
- Take an extra set of bedding so when one is in the wash you don’t have to rely on it drying that day because a lot of the time the drier doesn’t work properly.
- Over the door coat hanger. To save space in your wardrobe, this is really ideal. You can hang your bags, jackets and reusable shopping bags here and it makes it easy to grab whatever you need and go out the door. This will depend on what door you have, if it is a fire door you aren’t allowed to have it there however instead you can hang it on your bathroom door.
- An important thing to stock up on either for your kitchen or bedroom is medicine. Including; Cold medicine, ibuprofen, paracetamol and plasters and most likely a flatmate will need it. Just a warning FRESHERS FLU IS REAL. It’s nasty and I probably spent most of first year with some sort of cold so be prepared.
- I feel like you probably already know this but some blankets really are useful. Not only for adding a layer of coziness to your room but are also great for taking to your living space If you’re cold and can also add some colour to your room.
- Hangers. You will definitely need these. I came to uni with a decent amount and still had to go and get some more.
- A basin. One of the more recommended items from friends, this will be handy if you go mad at freshers or get ill. Plus while it’s not being used you can easily store it away with extra bits in it. Your kitchen most likely will already have one in the sink, but having your own is probably preferable.
- A laundry bag. I had both a basket and a bag and hardly ever used the basket. It was more of a storage item than anything else. The bag makes taking your washing to the laundry bit of your accommodation a lot easier because more often than not you’ll have to walk to it.
- This isn’t exactly an item for your room but more for your comfort. Taking some hoodies and/or a dressing gown and some lounge wear is something I didn’t really keep in mind when I first moved down but needed and used a lot once I got some.
- A drying rack for your washing is extremely useful and something which can be discussed with your flatmates if you feel comfortable sharing one or two. The washing machines and driers in the laundry room are not reliable.
- To add to this a hot water bottle is great for period pain and to keep you warm.
*Remember you aren’t allowed to take electrical goods because they need to be PAT tested so go for battery operated things. Straighteners etc. are okay.*
What you don’t need: Remember your room is going to be small (or most are). You don’t need to pick up your entire life and throw it into your room. You’ll be going back home for Christmas soon enough so you can get anything you’re missing then. This also goes for summer clothes. It is slightly warm in September but you definitely don’t need all of it down with you, be more prepared for autumn/winter and take some more summer clothes with you at Christmas or Easter.
The doorstop is something you’ll hear a lot of people rave about and say is essential. I never used one and when speaking to friends about it no one suggested this as a must have. Instead why not just use a box or something you are unpacking from?
Things like curtains aren’t necessary, they are provided. I know that is a bizarre thing to include but I can imagine someone doing that.
- To keep those pesky germs away take some cleaning products, especially for your bathroom. It gets dirty easily (which you rarely notice if your parents usually do it for you).
- Like I said for the kitchen stocking up on your bathroom essentials is extremely useful. This way you have them when you arrive and probably will last you a decent while.
- Take a bath matt, it saves you sliding getting out the shower and makes the space look nicer. It’s also an easy way of adding colour.
- Towels. Make sure to have around 2-3 large towels, some hand towels and whatever else you usually use. It’s also a good way to add colour.
- Stock up on toilet roll. Say a 24 pack will do you a while and saves you the hassle of trying to take them home on a shopping trip.
I hope this is useful and provides some clarity on what you need to take and what might not be on the top of your list.
Please share with any friends or family going away, I personally wish I had something like this when I was moving.
And good luck! It’s an exciting opportunity! I think I’ll do a blog post soon on my thoughts and feelings of my first year experience and debunking some expectations of it.
But don’t worry and take it as it is. If you’re not in a great flat ask to move or wait until you are on your course. Just because you are in a flat with some strangers doesn’t mean they have to become your best friends (but some do and that is great!).
Finally, a massive thank you to everyone who left suggestions! It made writing this post a lot easier.