May 2, 2017

Sarah in IKEA

If you’re just leaving college or sixth form, you probably know a ton of people who are heading off to University this coming September, or who have already left and completed their first year.

You might be wondering what exactly what you need to take to uni – should you bring a toaster, a kettle and an iron? Or should you just wait until you get there to buy everything? In this post I’m going to share 5 things which I recommend bringing with you to University, and 5 things that, in my opinion, really just aren’t necessary.

family car loaded up

Loading up the family car ready to move out – seems like a long time ago now!

DO bring:

1) Photos / decorative items

Moving out of your home and into somewhere completely new can be quite daunting – believe me I’ve done it! Making your new room feel a little more like home makes all the difference when it comes to settling in. Take some of your favourite photos, fairy lights, magazines and coffee mugs with you and really make it your own. Bear in mind that most Halls do not allow Blue-Tac, so take some pins.

There is usually a cork board already on the wall for you to use. I ended up going to Ikea in the hope of finding some inexpensive decorative bits and bobs. In reality, I just got distracted by the cuddly toys…

2) A suitable duvet

When it comes to choosing a duvet, I would recommend just bringing the one. On the trip up when you’re trying to fit your whole life into your family car, so having two duvets is not the most helpful. To save room (and a lot of moving things around), opt for a detachable duvet that has different warmth layers.

Or if you’re really pushed on space, just wait until you’ve arrived and buy one there. Doing it this way means that when you go home in the holidays, you still have a duvet on your bed.

3) A warm pair of joggers / hoodie

It’s no myth that halls and student houses can get a bit cold in the winter. You most likely will be spending a lot of time in your accommodation, and having a go-to warm and comfy outfit is just the best. There is literally nothing worse than not being able to feel your hands and feet! Slipper socks and a hot water bottle always come in handy too. Another way of keeping warm, and if you also don’t want to be changing clothing all the time, thermals are a good way to go.

4) A planner

Staying organised at University does really pay off. Having some kind of planner – whether that be stuck on the wall, the calendar on your phone, or a diary to keep in your bag, can keep you up to date with your deadlines and social events. Especially in the first few weeks of starting term time, there’s so much going on! Knowing where you have to be and when in advance rather than the night before saves a lot of stress in the long run.

5) A suitable bag

If you’re reading this, you most likely know what the weather is like in the U.K. Forever changing! I know it’s nice to use your current fashionable handbag or backpack, even though it may not be the most practical one… But when it gets soaked through in the rain, ruining all your notes (and possibly your laptop too), it’s not a fun time. I recommend bringing one which zips up, and isn’t made of thin fabric. It’s probably wise to keep a brolly in there at all times, too.

Severn Bridge

En route to Cardiff Met over the Severn Bridge

DON’T bring…

1) All your kitchen gadgets

When deciding what to bring, try not to worry about things like; kettles, toasters, irons, or an ironing board for that matter! The day you arrive, or even the week, you can decide on who buys what for the kitchen.

Not having a toaster for a few days isn’t the end of the world. During this time, I learnt ways around these convenient kitchen gadgets. Using the hob for boiling water, the grill for toasting toast, and straighteners for smoothing out a top (though don’t try this on viscose clothing – it’ll ruin it!).

2) The entire contents of your wardrobe

It can be so easy to just shove all your clothes into a suitcase, however in reality you probably won’t wear half of them. Try to be strategic when choosing certain items. For example, unless you’re studying a sport related degree, 6 pairs of running shorts isn’t necessary.

In the lead up to leaving home, make a mental note of what you wear the most on a day to day basis. If you get to Uni and realise you’ve forgotten to pack some items, or are just really missing some, there’s always having things mailed to you as an option.

3) A printer

While it can be handy having a printer in the comfort of your own bedroom, it takes up lots of room, and you’ll end up always being asked to print documents for your flatmates. Free up some room, and take advantage of the printers on campus. The costs are usually low with students in mind, so you’ll probably save some money too!

4) A laundry basket

Laundry baskets which don’t fold up are generally quite bulky and space consuming, and are best left at home. Instead, try using a fold up laundry bag. You can attach it to the rail in your wardrobe for extra floor room, or on the hook behind your bedroom door. If you’re really wanting to save money, a Bag for Life, or an IKEA bag will do the job just fine.

5) Your daily toiletries

Surprisingly, toiletries are usually the heaviest culprit when packing – they were for me anyway. That shampoo and conditioner set, deodorant cans, and big bottle of shower gel takes up so much room in a bag. If you’re paying a delivery service to transport your belongings, buying the toiletries at a later stage over that extra cost for the weight of the items doesn’t seem so bad.

At the end of the day what you bring to University is your own choice, but I would say that under-packing is way less stressful than over-packing. There’s only so much storage space under the bed and in cupboards for your belongings. You can always go out and buy that blender if needed, but storing those 5 extra cheese graters is a bit of a nuisance! Try checking out the online forums for Halls when you know who you’ll be sharing with. You can discuss who’s bringing what there, for extra peace of mind and avoid doubling up.

Want more top tips from Cardiff Met students? check out Jenny’s post on being a sustainable student and Charlotte’s money saving ideas.