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Essentials for starting University

ALIX BOOTH reminds us of some of the useful university essentials for first years moving into their new accommodation in September.

With move-in dates around the corner, first years are preparing themselves for some pretty big changes – particularly as for many, this is the first time moving away from home and living independently. With this in mind, it is important that you can settle in quickly and start enjoying what university life has to offer. That is why preparation is key!

Besides the obvious things like cutlery, bedding and your clothes, here is what I found to be a useful list of things to remember to take to uni with you that you might forget:

Lots of coat hangers!

Storage space in uni accommodation is often limited, which means hanging stuff up is an easy way to fit more in. Also, I managed to survive my first year without having to touch an iron by hanging up everything that can get wrinkled easily! I don’t know whether you know the ‘I’m a little disappointed but also slightly impressed’ look from your parents when you’ve done something? That was my Mum’s reaction.

Clothes airer/clothes horse

These are an essential to air your clothes in your room. Make sure you buy a good, sturdy one as I had to rescue my housemate when it collapsed on top of her (we still aren’t sure how that happened, but no people or airers involved were harmed).

Coat hooks

I found an over-the-door coat hook like this really useful as a way to store my coats and towels, as well as save space in my wardrobe.

However, this might not fit over all doors so it might be worth waiting to see if your accommodation has door hooks before buying.

Command strips and pins

A lot of the time, universities won't allow you to tac pictures to your wall as it leaves greasy marks on the paintwork. Command strips or hooks seem to be a popular alternative, but be careful as some have stripped paint too! Also, most accommodation provide pinboards, so make sure you bring some pins to hang up all your notes and photos.


There is nothing more frustrating than when someone else turns up with the same IKEA starter kit and you end up with an empty cutlery draw after a few washes. I added a blob of nail varnish on the bottom of my glasses and crockery so it wouldn't wash off.

My parents also own a garment printing company, as you can imagine, my name has been scrawled on water bottles, bags, bath towels – you name it - since I was a child (if you look close enough, I probably have one on the back of my head just in case). Whilst I did sometimes feel like I'd been attacked by human label makers, it really was a blessing in disguise.

Extension Cables

Sometimes plug sockets aren’t always in the most convenient places, so having an extension cable will make things a bit easier and they are quite cheap to buy.

Buy decent kitchen utensils, but not expensive ones

One thing I found is that many people buy the cheapest things they can find “because it will just get ruined anyway”. I can see this logic because things can go missing or break, so why would you buy expensive stuff? However, this often means that the cheap stuff breaks easily meaning, in the long run, you end up spending more. Places like Asda and Wilko are just a few of the places that do decently priced home essentials that have lasted me through my three years at university.

Things to make your room more homely

Remember, you will be living in this room for a whole year, so making it feel more homely is a great way to smooth those moving jitters.

Including pictures, decorations like battery-pack lights or that cactus that is hanging on for dear life, will bring your home away from home to life.

It is worth checking to see what you are allowed to bring to your new home, as you aren’t often able to bring candles, burn incense and sometimes extra furniture as these are all fire hazards.

Re-useable shopping bags

It is likely that you and your housemates won’t have a car with you at university as many of the accommodations prefer you not to bring one, so you will be hauling your weekly food shop by foot. Fortunately, the university is in a fantastic location with many local supermarkets nearby, so purchasing sturdy re-useable shopping bags will not only stop your plastic bag splitting on the way home, but you are doing your bit for the environment too!

Living away from home for the first time can feel like a very daunting experience, but it is also an exciting time for making new friends, building your confidence and exploring a new city. So pack up your things, make the most out of university and enjoy yourself!

Anything you think has been missed? Comment below with some of your university essentials!

Written by Alix Booth

ATTENTION: Fresher’s, do not panic!! Instead, read Liz’s article for her Hitch-hiker’s guide to the University of Chester

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