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The ultimate student moving checklist

If you’ve got qualifications you needed, this is an exciting time. University awaits! But take a moment to think about what you’ll need to take with you. Our student moving checklist can help.

Girl packing

Uni packing list: Be box smart and secure

Whatever you do, don’t leave packing to the last minute. When you’re at home everything is at hand because your family have spent years accumulating all the necessaries and luxuries.

Fail to plan and you will either spend a bomb or end up living on rice and beans, nicking loo roll out of the student union toilets.

So, first up get some packing boxes, proper ones which you can buy online. You could buy a few to start, but will probably need more than half a dozen. Boxes are handy as they give you a sense of proportion.

If you can’t fit all you need in them, and they take up more than your bedroom, you’ve packed too much – after all you’ll only have one room to call your own.


Uni checklist: What to take or leave

Most new university students haven’t spent more than a week or two away from home.

So it might seemimpossible to know what to take with you for a whole year and what can be picked up later on.

You don’t want to be splashing out on goods at your local supermarket when they’re languishing at home.

There are much better things to spend your money on at campus than cosmetics or socks, right?

With this in mind, here’s a comprehensive guide to what you need to consider taking to university.


Step 1: Documents to take to university

This list of uni essentials is right up there with your toothpaste and mobile phone.

Scan these documents and keep them somewhere safe on your laptop, in the cloud or in a locked safe (in some cases – check with your student union or university admin office about this).

  • Accommodation contract, information, and terms

  • Driver's licence, passport or some other officially-recognised form of identification.

  • Your bank account details and bank card

  • Bank debit card

  • Insurance documents

  • Student loan documents or any other funding document – if they are in print think about keeping them at home

  • Student discount cards

  • National Insurance card – record the number on your phone or computer. Keep the card at home.


Step 2: Electrical items and entertainment

You’ll want to bring some entertainment with you to university, for instance:  

  • Games and video games console

  • Headsets

  • Cable adapters

  • Charging cables

  • Camera

  • Hair dryer and hairstyling tools

  • Speakers and amplifiers

  • Mobile phone and charger

  • Extension leads

  • Laptop/computer and charger

  • External hard drive


Step 3: Packing clothes for university

Clothing is a no-brainer as you’ll almost certainly know what you want to take with you when moving to uni. The following is a short list of the essentials, including a few extras that you might have forgotten about:

  • Seasonal clothing (sunglasses, gloves, scarves, hats)

  • Comfortable shoes and clothes for lectures

  • Clothes hangers

  • Dressing gown

  • At least one interview outfit

  • At least one bathing suit and beach towel

  • Slippers

  • Raincoat, umbrella, rain boots

  • Work out gear


Step 4: Toiletry essentials for university

It goes without saying that you’ll want to look and smell nice, but you’d be surprised how many people go on holiday without their toothpaste or shower gel.

Don’t be one of them – especially when you’re in for the full academic year. Don't forget the following:

  • Medication

  • Towel, blow dryer, hair straighteners, hair-styling products

  • Shaver, razor, shaving cream

  • Aftershave, perfume

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, lip balm

  • Deodorant

  • Cotton buds

  • Soap, shampoo

  • Shower stuff

  • Lotion


Step 5: Kitchen supplies

You’ve got to eat. While you just need hands to munch on a burger or a kebab, utensils and cutlery come in handy for breakfast cereals and proper meals.

For this and other reasons, start gathering the necessary kitchen supplies so that you can cook and store food.

With this in mind, consider the following supplies:

  • A pot and pan

  • Plates (small and large)

  • Bowls

  • Cups or mugs, glasses and a flask

  • Soap, detergent and scrub brush

  • Fork, knife, spoon

  • Tupperware containers

  • Can and bottle opener

  • Dishcloths


Step 6: Home comforts

Despite the fact that many university rooms come fitted out, you’ll still need some stuff to make the room usable - mainly for studying.

This is especially the case if you opt to move into a private rental flat or house away from campus.

The following are some of the essentials you won't want to go to university without (plus a few ideas to make your lodgings feel more like home):

  • Alarm clock

  • Laundry basket

  • Bed sheets

  • Pillows and duvets, plus pillow cases

  • Mattress protector

  • Sleeping bag

  • Doorstop

  • Photos of friends & family

  • Clothes (for all weathers), and hangers

  • Mini sewing kit

  • Iron, ironing board, clothes horse (Check whether your place has these first, if possible)

  • Lamp

  • Mirror



Step 7: Must have non-essentials

The items below aren’t exactly essentials, but we can almost certainly guarantee that you’ll need to have them in your new room, to give it that touch of home.

  • Plants for decoration

  • Cushions or throw blankets for a cosy touch

  • Full-length or a wall mirror

  • Bulletin board

  • Pictures or posters

  • A lamp shade


Step 8: Self storage units for university students

Depending on how long you’ll be gone for your studies, you’ll want to think about the costs of safely storing and moving your items.

If you’re worried about lugging all your stuff home over the summer break or you don’t have enough room, finding a self-storage unit near could be the answer.

Research the costs up front because they can vary by quite a degree . Check out the place before handing over any cash too.

Ask the university or your student union for recommendations. The last thing you want is to deal with someone who uses or steals your stuff. Or the place isn’t secure enough to keep out thieves or the rain.

Also, if you’ve friends in a similar situation, ask if they’d be willing to share the storage unit and split the cost.

One more thing, make sure you find out whether the self-storage provider offers insurance for your goods.

If it’s not included shop around for the appropriate type of home insurance cover. Don’t just opt for the provider’s policy, as it may be lacking or too expensive.


Step 9: Get your car serviced before moving to university

If you choose to bring your car to university, make sure you have it examined by a mechanic beforehand.

This is particularly important if you have to drive a long distance to your new place.

Additionally, ensure you have checked the parking regulations of your university area to avoid a dreaded parking fine.

In lots of cities, there will be specific parking zones that either require you to either pay and display or purchase a residential parking permit.

Some of these don’t cost anything depending on the area.

If you require a permit, the council will often ask for proof of residence, and a copy of your vehicle documents so make sure to take these to university with you.

Don’t forget to tell your insurer about your change of address during term time as this may affect your policy and premium.

Check out our guide to student car insurance if yours is up for renewal.


Step 10: What you should not take to university?

This is always a tricky one. What you shouldn’t take with you to university will depend on a number of factors, but for convenience’s sake let’s break it down into five sections:

  • Health

  • Cost

  • Security

  • Safety

  • You and your roommates


Some things are just not safe to have when you are effectively living in one room. A room which may be a tad cluttered at the best of times. So, for obvious reasons leave the following at home:

  • Candles

  • Ashtrays (chances are you won’t be allowed to smoke in your room)


Before going wild online, check to see whether your accommodation comes with the following big-ticket items. If they don’t, wait until you move in and broach the subject of splitting the cost of any that you need and aren’t provided:

  • Vacuum cleaner

  • TV

  • Ironing board and iron

  • Kettle


Halls of residence are purpose built, and usually very secure. However, a private rental may not be. Don’t even think about putting valuables outside of your room.Get a lock fitted to your door when you move in but make sure to ask the landlord’s permission first.

Fit a garden latch on the inside, so you’re safe at night and can slide it open if you need to get out. But don’t opt for a padlock on the outside. Someone might lock you in for a jape.


The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 requires all private landlords to ensure their properties are fitted out with smoke and CO2 detectors.

If your private rental doesn’t have both on each floor of the property take it up with the landlord and keep the university informed. If your landlord is reluctant to buy one, get one yourselves. You might be able to regain the cost at the end of the tenancy, but your safety should be your first priority.

You and your roommates

It’s also important to try and co-exist with your roommates as best you can. They’ll have their own quirks, habits and preferences. So, if you want to avoid a blood-bath don’t do the following:

  • Take Pets – bringing a pooch or even a tortoise along might give you a best buddy to share time with, but your place might be small. Halls of residence will prohibit pets, as may private rentals, plus your housemates might object, especially if they have allergies.

  • Play loud music – keep the speakers at home. Your walls could be paper thin and not everyone will share your taste in music, especially if they are trying to get their head round tricky coursework.

  • Food – don’t cook with other people’s food, unless you’ve asked first.

  • Leave as you find – pretty obvious, but if you’re all sharing the same toilet, bathroom, kitchen or living space, tidy up when you’re done. Arguments between tenants are the last thing you want while at university.

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Do I need student contents insurance?

Sadly, it’s a stressing fact, but student accommodation is at a high-risk of burglary.

As a student, you’re expected to own highly-prized items, such as laptops, tablets, iPads and other gadgets, sometimes even jewellery.

It’s no wonder then that one-in-three students become a victim of crime yearly.

Most students believe their stuff will be covered by their parents' home insurance even while they’re away at university. In some cases, this doesn’t happen, so always check the policy wording.

You might not think of it, but when you go to university you may also be leaving home for good. Consequently, you’ll need to apply for a separate contents insurance policy for your new place.

When it comes to tenants’ insurance, most people think of protecting themselves against theft or damage to their personal property. But it’s the liability for harm to others, or their belongings, that can be a financial burden if it happens.

Contents insurance is intended to protect you if you’re prosecuted in the event of accidental damage or injury to another individual or their stuff.

An insurance policy incorporates liability insurance for damage that tenants or their invitees cause to the property. And for injuries to a third party that they might be legally responsible for.

Student contents insurance can provide you with peace of mind and let you get on with enjoying your time at the university.

You might want to look into specialist bicycle insurance too. Particularly if it's your main method of transport.