10 Forgotten essentials that should be on your uni packing list

06 Aug 2019
By Ellie M., Post-grad at University of Glasgow

There’s almost nothing worse than being at university, maybe hours away from home, and suddenly realising you just need that thing that you left in a drawer in your room because you never thought to bring it with you – and yet, right now, it would be so useful!

I’ve been there too, kicking myself because if I’d just thought to pack it when I had moved, it would make life so much easier. And now you have to trudge off to the shop and buy one.

Anyway, the problem with these things is that you’ll probably only ever need them when you don’t have them. So, as a self-confessed over-planner, I have written a list of these sneaky forgotten items in an attempt to save you from those annoying situations.

1) Tape

Essential for when you’re trying to wrap a birthday present, or put together a portfolio, or stick up study notes, or just fix something. And on that note, duct tape and/or super glue might be a good idea too – they will fix pretty much anything!

2) Small screwdriver and batteries

If you have batteries lying around at home, take them with you because buying them is expensive. And it’s a real pain if something dies when you’re in the middle of using it. The screwdriver will open battery ports too.

3) Pizza slicer and tray

Pizza has been my go-to ‘too-tired-to-cook’ meal at uni but, for the last two years, I’ve had to suffer a part-cooked or part-burnt pizza because my baking tray is too small for a pizza to sit flat. This year I finally invested in a £3 round pizza tray. What a difference. And don’t forget the slicer either or you’ll be cutting it with scissors.

4) Needle and thread

I know it sounds old-fashioned but it’s probably a good idea. Even if it’s just one of those tiny sewing kits you get in a Christmas cracker, it will come in handy if you rip your favourite jeans on a night out or a button falls off your shirt. And it’s better for the environment to fix clothes instead of replacing them.

5) Tupperware

A relatively simple one. You can keep leftovers in the fridge and take lunch and snacks to uni. They also make useful storage boxes to keep drawers tidy. And you’ll save money on tin foil and cling film.

6) Waterproof bag

At some point during your year (or at several points depending on where you go to university) you will have to walk to or from your lectures in the pouring rain. And whether you are carrying text books or notes or your laptop, you’ll definitely want to keep them dry.

7) Chair or small cupboard (if you have the space)

So far, I’ve never had a room at uni that had a bedside cupboard to keep all the random stuff you leave next to your bed, like your phone/alarm clock, a lamp, a book, or whatever. It sounds like a pretty minor one, but not having what you’re used to at home can be pretty frustrating.

8) Extension lead

That is, if your landlord allows them. Some uni rooms can be pretty sparse when it comes to plug sockets so an extension lead will allow you plug in wherever you are in the room. And if you’re studying abroad, don’t forget a power adaptor or two!

9) Important documents

You might want to take your passport, student loan documents, university acceptance letter, national insurance number (if you have one), and a proof of your address. You might never need any of these, but it will be a real pain if you’re asked for them and they’re buried in a pile somewhere at home.

10) Clothes airer and laundry basket

Since starting uni I’ve discovered that using student accommodation washing machines and dryers is expensive. A folding clothes airer will save you some money on the drying at least. And a laundry basket helps keep the place tidy and makes it easier to get your laundry to the machine if it’s somewhere else in the building. I often see students having to lug several carrier bags of laundry to the machines because they didn’t think to bring a basket!

Basically, I would say if you have room for it in the car and in your accommodation, take it. It’s much better to have something, never use it, and bring it home again than it is to not have something and suddenly need it!

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Crafter, casual gamer, and future forest ranger. I'm Ellie and I graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2021 with a degree in Film Studies and Theatre. I grew up in rural Aberdeenshire and am still trying to figure this ‘adult’ thing out.