As if becoming a student wasn’t challenging enough there is also the logistical nightmare of leaving home, probably for the first time. It can be absolutely terrifying, the prospect of living in a new city, doing all of your own cooking and cleaning whilst trying to make new friends and actually getting a degree. When considering what to take with you and what to leave at home you need to aim for a balance of creating a comfortable, homely feel in your student accommodation, but not taking so much you can’t then move it at the end of the year.
When you arrive at your new accommodation you will probably be scared, your room will be clean but unfriendly and you’ll have agreed to go to a foam party that night with people you don’t know. Throughout the trials, tribulations and hangovers of being a student it is more important than ever to have an oasis of home to come back to.
When packing to move out and deciding what to bring, try to take the minimum. Your accommodation will not match the storage you have at home, as you will be going from a whole house to one room, and everything you own and don’t want to share will have to be in your bedroom. Try to identify the things you cannot live without and these will form the basis of your packing.
Essentials to take with you
- Bedding, including a duvet: Even if these are provided for you it’s worth taking your own as you’re then guaranteed a good night’s sleep.
- Cleaning products: Even if you’re not a clean freak you will want to clean at some point, when your room isn’t being cleaned by your mum you’ll notice how quickly dust and dirt build up!
- Food for the first week: Just do a basic weekly shop, some pasta and pesto, some vegetables and some emergency chocolate! You will end up eating out more than you expected and cooking with your flatmates so it’s not worth taking lots with you.
- Saucepan, frying pan, oven tray, wooden spoon, sharp knife, bowl, plate mug, glass: Unless you are a culinary whizz you will only need the basics of kitchen equipment. It will get steadily ruined over the year as its borrowed and broken by others so don’t borrow your mum’s finest.
- Wardrobe, enough for 2-3 months: Try to only take one season’s worth of clothing as you won’t have much storage space. You’re not going to need you summer finest in your first term so don’t worry about leaving clothes at home.
- Pictures of loved ones: Even the least sentimental of people will appreciate a few familiar faces around their room; it will help you feel at home and cheer you up when university is taking its toll.
- Scatter cushions, blankets: These will come in handy when you’re hosting a film night in your room or staying up late revising for an approaching exam.
- Candles: Check the health and safety guidelines first but if you’re allowed them, candles are a cheap and easy way of warming up your room.
- Speakers/iPod Dock: No matter what university you go to, the room with the speakers will be the busiest room. So if you’re the sociable kind bring a basic pair of speakers or an iPod dock and get ready to host your neighbours.
- Selection of favourite films: There will be nights, maybe when you’re feeling a bit poorly, when you just want to curl up and watch some of your favourite films. Make sure you’re prepared and bring a generous selection.
Everyone’s essentials and home touches will vary but the important points to remember are to prioritise and only take the bare minimum of each. Definitely do not exceed the amount your parents can fit in one car load. The worst that can happen is you will arrive and realise you’ve missed something you didn’t think you would need, in which case, the longest you’re likely to be away from home is 6 weeks, as terms are quite short. It’s also worth remembering that once you’ve settled into your new accommodation it’s likely that you and your flatmates will group together to buy anything needed for the flat, so don’t worry if you move in and are faced with no iron or dish rack, these things tend to get sorted a few weeks in.
End of term can be a nightmare – you are guaranteed to have accumulated things over the year and now the prospect of packing up your room and moving it back home is quite the task! It’s worth asking your landlords for your next year’s accommodation whether you can store things there over the summer, or maybe ask any friend you’ve made who lives in that city. If you can save moving everything back home it will make the move a lot easier.