uni dorm room

Your Definitive List of Uni Essentials: What to Take to University 

Packing for uni can go two ways – under prepare and you’ll spend your first day rushing around getting the basics in. But equally, you don’t want to lug all of your possessions halfway across the country only to find your room is too small to fit them. In this definitive guide, we’ll bring you a list of uni essentials to help you avoid panicked trips to the supermarkets or a cluttered room on your first day. 

Your Personal Uni Essentials Checklist

Take the time to tick this stuff off before you arrive and you can spend your time meeting new housemates and planning your social schedule… not putting in a last-minute order for duvet covers. 

We’ve broken this uni essentials list down by room to make it easier for you to grab items when you’re shopping. Plus, we’ve included a handy shipping solution guide at the end of this article. Time to pack! 

dorm room with books and surfboard

Bedroom Essentials

Firstly, you’ll want to find out what, if anything, your uni is providing for you. Rooms might come stocked with chairs and mattresses but you could also be starting from scratch. Check before you buy to avoid getting duplicates.


Some of the first things you’ll want to buy are your bedding. This includes a duvet cover and  pillowcases. Depending on what you’re bringing from home, you’ll also need a duvet and pillows. Uni halls aren’t known for having the thickest mattresses so add a mattress topper to your uni essentials shop to make things more comfortable. 

Lastly, try and double up and bring two pairs of covers and sheets. That’ll make things easier on laundry day if you’re waiting to use a drier and need to get fresh sheets on! 

Soft furnishings

When you’re putting together your uni essentials list it can feel like a bit of a luxury to focus on soft furnishings – but if you can stretch to it, they are well worth buying. Most uni rooms are a blank canvas and you’ll want to inject your own personality into the space. Try adding rugs, cushions, photo frames, or get creative with a string of fairy lights. Some of these bits can definitely be brought from your room at home to help you settle in quickly. 


Whack this right at the top of your uni essentials checklist! Forgetting your toothpaste is one thing, but you don’t want to misplace your laptop, phone, or any of your chargers. 

Important documents

Similarly, you’ll want to make important documents a high priority. The kind of things we mean by that are passports, bank cards, forms of ID, perhaps a university admissions letter, and any student finance documents. It can be handy to combine all this paperwork in a ring binder.


If you’re going to uni in the same country you’ve grown up in, you’ll know what clothes to pack. If you’re going to uni abroad, check the climate and go month-by-month checking the average temperature to get a better gauge on what to bring. 

Other than your regular weekday and weekend clothes, pack sportswear if you plan on getting involved in clubs, smart clothes for formal events, and fancy dress options for freshers week. Coat hangers are also a good move if you aren’t sure what the uni provides. 

coat rack with white hangers and pictures above

We’d also recommend packing a rucksack and a weekend bag. This leaves you open to taking short trips, hiking excursions, and any spontaneous getaways. 


Pens, pencils, notebooks, and ring binders… the world of uni essentials stationery might seem pointless right now, but you’ll be pleased with your purchases once lectures start. Having an aesthetically pleasing way to store your notes will be a big help. This is also a good time to think about any books or textbooks you want to bring with you.

Bathroom Essentials

Whether you’re sharing space in halls, or opting for your own accommodation, you’ll need to top up on some bathroom essentials. Hopefully, you can bring some of these items from home with you, but if not this should be a relatively inexpensive part of your uni essentials shopping. 

Hair & body care 

Bring shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel with you as well as soap, any shaving foam and a shaver. If you’re trying to cut down on space or keep costs down, opt for travel-sized products for move-in day. This will be enough to give you a headstart without breaking the bank. 

Oral hygiene

Other easy last-minute purchases include a toothbrush, toothpaste, and any mouthwash and dental floss you might need. 


Self-explanatory, but make sure you pack a couple of towels. It’s for the same reason it’d be good to pack multiple sheets – if you can’t get it washed and dried on the same day you aren’t stuck. 

messy dorm room with clothes and books


In all likelihood, you’ll be reaching for the paracetamol during freshers week! This can be a part of starting, or back to uni essentials, that gets overlooked. But having some basic cough medicine, painkillers, and plasters is a good start to tide you over until you can get to a pharmacy. 

Kitchen Essentials

Probably one of the biggest communal areas you’ll be using if you’ve opted for halls and one that needs a lot of furnishing. The best thing to do is to get the basic utensils and cookware but don’t go overboard. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with eight sets of graters and pots and pans in one place. 


Check off a mug, chopping board, cutlery, a plate and bowl, Tupperware (for leftovers), and a frying pan and saucepan. You’ll also want to bring bin bags, silver foil, and a tea towel. This is a good starting point before assessing what else you need to bring in if anything.

Food Essentials

That leads us to food! Whilst not essential, it can be a good idea to add a food shop to your to-do list. That way you’ll have your cupboards and fridge stocked up on day one, which means you can focus on meeting new people and parties – not the weekly shop. 

Food shop

Your first food shop will mostly be about stocking up on cupboard staples. It’s a good idea to get some cans in – think beans, chopped tomatoes, and any soups. Next, focus on seasonings and sauces like salt, pepper, ketchup, mayo, etc. Once you’ve got these staples down add some dried pasta, bread, milk, eggs, or similar to your list. This will be enough to get you started. 

young people hanging out at a cafe in university

Shipping Essentials for University

The last piece of the puzzle… how to get your items to your uni halls? Ship uni essentials with Sherpr and we’ll take the hassle off your hands. You don’t need to worry about loading up your parents’ car with awkward pieces of furniture, taking multiple trips, or breaking any of your items in transit. 

Instead, just pack your items, we’ll deal with the removal and deliver them to your end destination at a pre-agreed time, and you can even track your things whilst they’re on their journey. Simple.