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Ultimate University Packing List for UK Students in 2024

New housemates, introductory talks, and bar-crawls through town… there’s a lot to think about on your first day of university. This ultimate university packing list will make sure that forgotten items aren’t one of them. 

Do away with dodgy organisation and set that first day at uni up for success. In this guide, we’ll cover exactly what you need to pack, how to pack, how to move your things, and our best hacks for you to use along the way. 

What to Pack for University

Overwhelmed with the thought of packing up your whole home life? We get it. Condensing your bedroom down into a few boxes can seem like a tough ask. Plus, there’s the stress of forgetting something essential. 

The foolproof way to get through this stage is to break it down into categories of items like clothes, electronics, kitchenware, room essentials, and any important documents. 


Probably one of the bigger items to tick off your university packing list, clothes can be the biggest headache. Partly because you’ll want to take them all, and also because of the volume of them. 

Start by making a list of freshers events and socials, this will give you a bit of a steer on what to bring. Is there a sports week you’re attending? A formal dance? A paint party? Pack clothes specific to these situations to avoid overpacking. 

packing clothes for travel

Next, consider what you wear day-to-day at home. Trusty outfits that you wear time and time again will help you to feel confident and be a good go-to when you’re stuck on what to wear at university. 

Ultimately, try and keep your clothes packed on the light side. You can always have more clothes sent to you or pick them up when you’re next home.


Make a university packing checklist that includes all of the electrical items you want to bring with you. Again, you can get these at the other end but it gives you some peace of mind to know a phone charger is packed. 

Don’t forget laptops, cameras, USB cables, and any game consoles you want to bring. Portable chargers can be useful if you want to give yourself some flexibility with where you can work from. 


Your cupboards at home are probably crammed full of cooking utensils and appliances. This is another area where you’re just going to want to begin by just covering the basics. Think about the types of food you’ll be cooking for yourself and work around that. 

The likelihood is you’ll need a saucepan, frying pan, ovenproof dish, cutlery, cheese grater, and strainer. Add these to your university packing guide and if you’re into your cooking feel free to add some more specialist items to the mix, including steaming baskets, blenders, and rice cookers. 

Room essentials

This is the fun bit of your university packing list – your room! Start with the basics like bed linen. You’ll need pillowcases and duvet covers plus any mattress protectors and blankets. Then it’s time to think about how to make your room your own. 

Bring items from home that’ll help you to settle in easier. Your ultimate university packing list should include things like picture frames, favourite books, rugs, maybe a plant – anything to help add some character to your room. 

messy university room

Important documents

We’re guessing you’ve got this bit covered – but triple check you’ve got your passport and any acceptance letters and documentation, National Insurance card, and other forms of ID. 

How to Pack for University 

So you’ve nailed down what you need to bring, and now you’ve got to actually pack it. Take a little extra time at this stage to make things more seamless and straightforward at the other end. 

Clothes packing

Chuck it in a suitcase, sit on it, hope for the best… right? Works for a short-haul flight to the Canaries, but it’s probably not the strategy you want to go with for university. Do yourself a favour and take some time with the clothes packing. When you get to the other end you’ll want to quickly unpack and get on with meeting people and going to parties. 

If you’ve got a large case, use that. If not, laundry bags are a really practical way to transport the clothes on your packing for university checklist. If you know what you have scheduled for the first day (a party, sports social, dinner with new housemates) select an outfit for that ahead of time and leave it on the top of your case or in a separate rucksack. This will save you riffling through all your things in a panic on the first day. 

Packing the car

So you’ve ticked off everything on your university packing list and it’s time to load up the car? The key here is to make sure fragile and larger boxes are wedged between other items so they don’t slide around in transit. 

You might want to put your heavier items towards the front so that you can get these unpacked first (when you’re freshest!) at the other end. Avoid a chaotic jumble of boxes if possible to make things smoother when you arrive.

pile of boxes adorned with flowers

Before setting off, have a final scan of your complete university packing list!

University Packing Hacks

If you want to be even more prepared, try to implement some of these hacks. Whilst they aren’t essential, they’ll make your life easier on that stressful first day of university. 

Share items out

If you’ve been put in touch with your housemates before you move in, check with them about what they’re bringing. This will be especially useful in the kitchen. If somebody already has a cheese grater but doesn’t have oven gloves – it’s useful to decide amongst you who’s bringing what and share out your communal area items. This is a good way to reduce the amount you have to bring and the cost. 

Use the library

On a similar note, don’t pack your textbooks! We can either send boxes to arrive on day 2 or 3 or look ahead to see what the library has in stock. This will avoid unnecessarily heavy boxes and extra lifting. 

Avoid breakages

You’ll also want to wrap up any breakable items. If you’ve left this to the last minute and don’t have any bubble wrap, use your items of clothing, bed linens, or a towel in a pinch. 

Get organised 

Add a label maker to your university packing checklist! The label maker will be your best friend. To avoid having to dive into every box when you get there, label your boxes with which room they are for. That way you can drop them off in their correct spot until you’re ready to unpack them. 

Shipping Your University Packlist Items

The ultimate university packing hack is to avoid loading up a car and risking mishandled goods and forgotten items and ship your things instead! 

Sherpr’s student shipping service is an affordable way to get you things from a to b and takes the hassle of moving-in day off your hands. Simply pack your boxes and arrange for them to be picked up. We’ll deliver them at a pre-agreed time and location, and you can even track your items whilst they are in transit.