All the things you think you need to take to uni... but don’t


It’s taken three years for me to perfect, and will differ slightly between catered and self-catered halls, but here are all the things you probably won’t need heading off to uni in September - everything from complete wastes-of-time to that fourth mug you could probably live without...

Hockey sticks, tennis rackets...

You won’t be needing any sporting equipment. When it comes to sports gear, pack realistically, not idealistically. If you’re a pro tennis player, you could get away with the racket, but if you haven’t picked up a hockey stick since primary school, don’t get too carried away.


There’s no need to stack the shampoos, conditioners, face washes, razors, toothbrushes, and entire medicine cabinet into your parents’ boot. Everything you need will be stocked at Sainsbury's, Tesco, or Boots down the road, and each of them will have excellent ‘off to uni’ packs for you to pick through. These rules also apply to packing food. (This, of course, excludes any favourite comfort foods that can only be found at the corner shop down the road from your family home).

Fancy kitchen equipment

Do not allow your parents to enter John Lewis and purchase a beautiful, and expensive, frying pan. Within a week, I can assure you that it will have been used to make a greasy curry, left to wallow in the sink for three days, and will never be the same again. Club together with your flatmates and get some Sainsbury's basics to see you through the next three years.

An iron

It may seem a bizarre item to mention on this list, however, apparently, it is a popular item to be packed in amongst the bedding and cutlery. The truth is, you won’t have much time to be ironing anyway (and if you do have time, you’ll be Netflix and snoozing, rather than ironing a shirt). Most flats tend to come with one anyway.


Old school books and your entire fiction library you plan to read. I can assure you that you won’t have time to read for fun, nor will you need to touch your old schoolbooks for references or ideas, and if you need to, your parents or siblings are a phone call away – send them hunting to save space!

Same goes for stationery

Everything you need can be found near your new address, so there’s no need to bring it all with you. However, don’t let that prevent you from packing in a favourite pen or notebook. Just try and limit it to one or two, rather than a full pack.

A car

Most universities are either within walking distance of somewhere exciting or will have excellent shuttle systems into the nearest city. Parking permits are expensive, and without them, it can be a nightmare to find somewhere to leave your ride. The locals won’t love you for taking their parking spots either.

Decorative items of all shape and sizes

Paintings, your mum’s best rugs, and every scatter cushion that has adorned your bed since you were 12 will all serve little to no purpose in your new abode. There will be well-stocked poster sales on campus, and any neatly placed rug will get the red wine treatment by Christmas.


Probably the largest thing you may try and fit into your parents’ car -

other than a bicycle, as I attempted in second year - and one of the most unnecessary. Most laptops screen better quality tv without the fuss of a TV license anyway. If you’re looking for some socialising in front of the TV, head to the common room.

A printer

This final one is on many ‘leave behind’ lists, which is the only reason I will include it even though I tend to disagree. It's true that most universities have excellent printing facilities, and ink cartridges are expensive. However, take this with a pinch of salt, as uni printing services cost a fair amount too, and they're not sat in your bedroom the night before an essay is due.

#tyro #digs #packing #list