29 unexpected things to pack for your first year at university

You'll kick yourself if you forget them...

Uni checklist

by Ruby Barry |

If you're on the lookout for a first-year university checklist, we're taking an educated guess that you are about to start this autumn. It's okay, feel free to let out your existential screams about being an adult here. We'll wait.

Ok, you good? If the answer is still "no excuse me, I'm utterly terrified to move out into a new place by myself with new people and new surroundings and I want to crawl up into a ball and cry" - we feel you.

But trust us - university is so worth it. You can look forward to new friendships, expanding your knowledge, and the new-found panic of running late for a lecture.

We can make the chapter to your new life a little easier by helping with the all-important first-year University checklist you'll no doubt have started. Hopefully, you would've packed some sensible things, like plates and tampons and tea towels, but you know what's even more important?

The odd, non-sensical items that you didn't know you needed. For example, it may not cross your mind to bring a pack of playing cards with you to uni, but boy they are so important for bonding with your flatmates.

Never fear, friends - we've got the low-down on the 29 things unexpected items to buy for your first year at university, recommended by the heat team (who are all graduates wishing for their youth at uni back). We've categorised this first-year university checklist into things like kitchenware, bedroom knick-knacks and health & well-being goodies. Trust us, you'll be kicking yourself that you didn't remember to pack them.

SHOP: 29 things you didn't know you needed if you're about to start Uni

First Year University Checklist: Socialising

The best way to meet flatmates

It can be easy to feel trapped in your room when you move in, but pop a door wedge on your door

Merriway BH02509 Heavy Duty Non-Slip Rubber Door Wedge Stopper
For hanging out in your room

A lot of first-year student halls won't have living rooms, just a straight-up kitchen, so you may

Gardenista Premium Large Garden Scatter Cushion
For movie nights

Movie/TV/Netflix night with your new flat is imperative for bonding - we recommend watching Shrek

Amazon Basics High-Speed, 4K Ultra HD HDMI 2.0 Cable
For fancy-dress parties

Ok, so one thing you never think to bring until it's too late is fancy dress. Freshers week is

Large White Glitter Fairy Wings
To become everyones favourite flatmate

You're on a night out and have popped to the big Tesco for pre-drinks. But, oh no, we can't open

Bottle Opener Keyring 2 Pieces
For drinking or non-drinking games

Playing cards are a necessity for pre-drinks, and yet they can easily be forgotten. Be the flat's

Standard Plastic Coated Playing Cards 52 Card Deck

First Year University Checklist: The Kitchen

To keep your feet clean in communal areas

Ok so, student hall kitchens can be... a sight to behold. Unfortunately, not everyone has been

Cloud Sliders for Women and Men Non-Slip
Because everyone always forgets scissors


Amazon Basics 20 cm Titanium-Blade Soft-Grip Scissors
For lazy food days

A student's diet consists mostly of Pot Noodles, biscuits, and canned soups. Get ahead of the

Culinare C10015 MagiCan Tin Opener
To make sure pizza night isn't ruined

It won't be until you put your first pizza in your student kitchen oven that you'll realise, "oh

Double Oven Glove Curious Dogs
For meal prep

If you want to actual cook yourself proper meals for yourself (impressive) then meal prepping will

essen Meal Prep Containers (10pk)
Because you'll always need a bowl

We know you're thinking... "a bowl...really?" But trust us. Having a plastic bowl on hand is

Addis Made from 100% Recycled Plastic Large Rectangular Washing Up Bowl
To make washing up...fun?

We will never get over the invention of the Dishmatic. If you're using student kitchens, you'll

Dishmatic Value Pack Kit

First Year Uni Checklist: Your Bedroom

To make your uni bed actually comfortable

We've got some bad news - student hall beds? Yeah... they're not exactly luxury hotel quality to

Silentnight Airmax Mattress Topper
To get a good nights sleep

Student halls can be noisy at times, and that can be overwhelming if you want a peaceful night's

EarHub Sleepwell Soft Foam Earplugs 10 Pairs
To get a good nights sleep

Just like the earbuds, an eyemask is also a great buy if you rely on your beauty sleep. Student

Sleep Eye Mask for Women & Men
To save money on heating

Save money on heating with a hot water bottle, and never argue about the thermostat again. This

Ram® Large 2L Hot Water Bottle with Soft Fleece Cover
For easy access charging electronics

Because life always throws curveballs, you may arrive at your new room to discover that uni

Belkin E-Series 4 Plug SurgeStrip Surge Protected Extension Lead - 1 m
So you can actually see your full outfit

One thing a lot of people don't think of to bring with them to uni is a full-length mirror- but

Vida Designs Nishano Cheval Mirror Free Standing Full Length
For alone-time dinners

Sometimes you'll want to eat dinner and socialise with your new flatmates. And sometimes you'll

DIVCHI 2X Set of Anti-Slip Plastic Dinner/Drinks Serving Tray
To hang your coats and towels

You won't have heaps of storage in your Uni room, so making use of vertical spaces is super

HapiLeap Over Door Hooks Wall Hanger
For secret snacks

An absolutely unexpected item you'll be glad to have is a snack box. The best part of becoming an

mDesign Toy Box – Storage Container
To make your room more homely

No uni residence would be complete without fairy lights. Whether you hang them in your own room or

[2 Pack] Fairy String Lights, 120LED 12M/40Ft 8 Modes USB Plug (Warm White)

First Year Uni Checklist: Health and Welfare

To keep you safe

Having a cupboard of first-aid essentials is expected in your family home- so you need to remember

66 Piece Travel First Aid Kit
To survive Fresher's Flu

Beware: Fresher's Flu is a thing, and it can knock you down hard. However, you can make it much

Lemsip, Vitamin C and Throat Lozenges
To lug your clothes to the laundromat

You'll soon be missing your washing machine at home because laundry at university is a pain in the

Luxja Travel Laundry Bags, Camping Laundry Backpack
To save money drying clothes

Ain't nobody got time to pay for drying as well as washing at the student laundromat, so get

Minky 3 Tier Plus Indoor Airer with 21 m Drying Space
To stitch up any mishaps

We know you're thinking "really, a sewing kit - what am I, 82-years-old?" But trust, you'll be

AUERVO Travel Sewing Kit
To make your room smelly extra nice

Smell can do so much for the atmosphere, and lavender is ideal for creating a soothing, relaxing

WAX LYRICAL Reed Diffuser 40ml English Lavender

And that's it for our list of odd, unusual items you have to remember for your first-year university checklist. Being kitted out with unexpected items like this will make the experience a lot easier.

We believe in you! You can do it! And don't forget to bring cake or biscuits with you on move-in day - instant friend-making material.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us
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