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10 essential tips to reduce the stress of packing for university

If you are preparing to go to university, here are our top ten tips for packing for university

Written by Lana Richardson on 5 July 2016

Going to university is an incredibly exciting opportunity in any young person’s life.

It’s likely to be your first time away from home and your first real taste of freedom. Not only are you going to get a great academic opportunity, but you’re going to meet so many new people, see so many new places and experience so many new things during your time at university.

Before all of the fun stuff though, you have to actually get to university, and that requires packing up your entire life into one or two suitcases and hoping for the best.

We’re not going to lie - it’s pretty stressful, especially if it’s your first time away from home because it’s almost impossible to know what you should bring with you and what you should leave behind, having never had to think about it before.

 It’s a no-brainer that you’ll want to take as many home comforts with you as possible to keep the homesickness at bay… so how can you make sure you’ve got everything, not to mention actually get it all there?

Specialising in student shipping, we at Uni Baggage know a thing or two about packing for university (find out more about our student shipping services here). The team at is made up of recent graduates, so we’ve put our heads together and come up with absolutely everything you need to know about packing for university condensed into 10 top tips.

Getting your belongings to university.

Your method of travel to university really determines how you might pack up your belongings. If your parents are driving you there (or you’re driving there yourself) you’ll have lots of space in the car to bring a suitcase and maybe a couple of boxes, too.

If you’re flying to university or taking the train, you’re going to have to be a little bit more conscious about the amount of items you have to avoid any nasty airline baggage fees, or the struggle of carrying heavy items through a train station. In these instances, aim to travel light. The other alternative is shipping all of your belongings straight to university using a student shipping service.

Choose the right suitcase

Of course, the easiest way to pack up all of your belongings and conveniently bring them with you is in a suitcase (or two). You’re going to want to choose the biggest suitcase that you can comfortably carry (after all, you don’t want to be seen struggling to get around campus to your accommodation with a suitcase that can’t be shifted).

Choose a suitcase that is spacious with lots of extra pockets to fit more things in. If you’re flying over to university, make sure you research the airline baggage guidelines and fees before turning up at the airport, because the last thing you want is to be slapped with extortionate fees for overweight luggage. If you’re considering using a student shipping service, make sure you invest in a strong, sturdy bag that you’ll be happy for a courier to handle.

Figure out what you really need.

Figuring out what to take to uni might just be the most stressful part of the entire process. You have so many worldly belongings, but there’s no way you can take everything you own, so you’re going to have to compromise and figure out what you really need.

The last thing you want is to arrive at university, unpack all of your things, only to discover you’ve left something important behind. Consider all of the essentials, but be realistic about it. 12 pairs of shoes might seem essential, but realistically, you can probably get away with only bringing 3 or 4 pair.

Prioritise what is actually important.

Use strong, sturdy boxes.

The alternative to a suitcase is to pack your things up in boxes. It’s a great idea - especially if your parents are driving you there in their car, or you’re driving yourself, or even if you’re using a student shipping service.

Be sure to invest in sturdy, double-walled cardboard boxes to protect your items. You’ll probably get more than one use out of the boxes too, so make sure you invest in a pack that will withstand the test of time.

Don’t forget about important documents.

In your hurry to back all of your bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen essentials, as well as all of your home comforts - don’t forget about all of the important documents that you’ll need to bring with you. In the stress of packing, they can often be overlooked, but you’re not going to want to forget them. Especially documents such as your university admissions letter, your student finance documents, your accommodation documents, your course acceptance letter, and of course your passport/driving license. You’ll never know when you might need them.

Check with your university

Before you go out to buy anything, make sure to check what your university may provide for you when you get there. Many universities will provide their accommodations with kitchen essentials and more. Checking this could save you pennies that you’ll be thankful for come Fresher’s Week…

Wait until you get there.

There are a bunch of things that you’ll need on a daily basis that don’t necessarily have to be packed and brought with you from day one.

These are the type of things that can be bought when you get there or over time, to save you space in your suitcase. Things like soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, pens, notepads - they can all be bought when you arrive.

It may be useful, but is it necessary?

When moving to university, you’re going to want to make it your aim to travel light. Realistically, you’re going to be moving into a small room with limited storage space, and you’ll be moving out again in June. Some items may be useful, but may not be entirely necessary for your stay at university.

Unless your course demands full access to a printer at all times, you’re not really going to need one as your university library will have high-quality printers that you’ll be able to use to your heart’s content. DVDs are another good example - there’s nothing better than a good movie night-in with your housemates, but realistically you’re not going to need your entire DVD collection.

Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime will be your saving grace at university, and they’ll save you so much space.

Don’t leave behind what might come in handy.

When you’re packing for university, it’s important to make absolutely sure that you’ve considered everything, as you don’t want to leave behind those essential items that may not spring to mind straight away, but may come in handy.

Things such as a TV license if you’re bringing your TV, an extension lead or two, a school uniform (for that inevitable fancy dress party during Fresher’s Week) and flip flops (especially if you have a communal bathroom).

Pack your suitcase strategically.

When you’ve finally organised what you need to take with you, then comes the task of packing it all up. Packing up your worldly belongings can seem like a daunting task, but it’s easy when you take a strategic approach.

If you’re packing a suitcase, start with bigger, heavier items and place them in first. Placing your clothes on top will ensure that these items are well cushioned and secured. It is always better to roll up items of clothing when you can, as this will save more space than folding. For bulkier items, invest in vacuum bags.

Don’t forget to make use of the extra pockets, too!

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