1 September 2023

Packing For University – What NOT To Bring

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It’s a mistake that every fresher is guaranteed to make. No matter how organised and efficient you think you are, when you go off to university for the first time, you will end up over-packing.

It’s an easy thing to do when you’re a new student, going off to live somewhere different for an entire year with no idea of what to expect.

Your siblings, friends and articles on the internet might give you advice and anecdotes about university life, but you never really know how to prepare until you’re actually there.

While there are plenty of useful ‘what to take to uni checklists’ out there, it’s sometimes far more practical to know what you DON’T need to take with you on your new adventure….

9 Things You DON’T Need To Pack For University

#1  Toiletries

Heavy bottles of shampoo, shower gel and a mountain of beauty products can take up a lot of space and weight in your suitcase.

This can be especially inconvenient if you’re travelling to uni by plane, where every kg counts.

When packing for university, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, can I buy this when I get there? If the answer is yes, then leave the item behind.

So try your best to leave toiletries behind if you can purchase replacements easily and inexpensively.

If it’s not essential, leave it behind

#2  All the clothes you own

When packing for an entire year, you’re going to need clothes to carry you through all the different seasons, not to mention the many different outfit choices you need for nights out.

While it’s tempting to dump your entire wardrobe into your suitcase, resist the urge.

Not only is wardrobe space very limited in student accommodation, you probably won’t even wear half the items you take with you. Most students will tell you that half your time at university is spent in a dressing gown. 

With clothing, if you haven’t worn the item in a year or more, and can’t imagine at least three outfits you’d pair it with, then don’t pack it.

#3  An iron

An iron is, without a doubt, the most pointless and unnecessary item in a student’s home. When you start doing your own cleaning and laundry, ironing becomes a complete waste of time and energy.

We guarantee you’ll either stop caring about wrinkled clothes or you’ll find ‘creative’ ways to straighten them out – like bringing them into the bathroom whilst showering and letting the steam do the work.

#4  Luxury kitchen utensils

In halls or furnished student accommodation, items like kettles, toasters and microwaves will be provided for you.

Luxury items such as toastie makers, coffee machines or rice cookers probably won’t be provided, but you don’t need to bring them with you anyway. This is especially true if you’re sharing a kitchen – people steal.

Try to pack just the very basics; plates, some cutlery, a saucepan, a frying pan, a couple of bowls and mugs. If there’s anything else you need, you can always buy it when you get there.

#5 Old school books and notes

We know you want to be prepared but you don’t necessarily need all your old school notes. At university, you start afresh, so the vast majority of your old notes and folders will be irrelevant.

The best idea is to leave all your school books at home and if it turns out that there’s something you absolutely need, you can use a cheap courier or a student shipping service to deliver it to you from home.​ Or better yet, get a family member to take a picture.

#6  Your entire reading list

Purchasing your entire reading list ahead of starting uni can seem like the ‘good student’ thing to do, but it’ll end up costing you.

Not only are these books heavy and take up a lot of luggage space, you probably won’t need all of them. Wait until you’ve started your course and decide which books you absolutely need to purchase.

Find out which books can be borrowed from the library and which books you can share with classmates. 

#7  A printer

Unless your course requires a lot of printing, bringing your own printer is pointless.

The university’s printers will be just as handy and more cost-effective; if you do run out of printer credits, buying more is still cheaper than ink.

And, if your friends find out you have your own printer, you’ll just be swamped with requests from them to ‘just print out one little page’ for them – soon, you will learn to hate them. 

#8  Stationery

Remember the thrill of buying a new schoolbag, pencil case and fancy gel pens for every new school year? Even when you get to uni, the urge to do this doesn’t go away.

Resist it. When you arrive at university and attend fresher’s fairs and events, you’ll be able to pick up enough free pens, USB sticks and notepads to last you a lifetime.

Freshers Fairs have plenty of stationery to last you all year

#9 A car

It might be a vital part of your daily life back home, but a car won’t be as necessary when you get to university.

Most universities are located in the centre of a town or city, within walking distance of everything and public transport is usually pretty efficient. In addition, parking space at universities is often limited and expensive.

How to pack for university

The nine things listed above that you don’t need to bring to university will save space in the car, and ensure your room doesn’t look like a junkyard.

If you cannot fight the urge to leave your garlic crusher and fancy stationery with you, you’ll have to pack really carefully.

Below are some tips for packing for university that will save space, ensure nothing breaks en route and allow you to bring your favourite colouring pencils. 

  • Stuff socks inside your shoes
  • Vacuum pack everything. It will compress your clothes and allow you to fit more into your boxes
  • Put all of your heavy items at the bottom, so they don’t crush everything
  • Use large IKEA bags, they’re easy to carry, hold a lot of weight (without ripping) and look fantastic

Need some inspiration? We’ve put together the ultimate packing for university list to help you.