What to Pack and What to Leave Behind

It's all confirmed, it's really happening, you're coming to join us and we can't wait to meet you! It's time to get yourself organised and top of that list is deciding what to bring with you. Don't worry though, we've done the hard work and put together a list of essentials for uni living to help you pack your bags.

First off, although the list of things you need may seem huge, it's important to be realistic with the amount of stuff you bring. Storage can be limited, so resist the temptation to pack anything and everything you think of. If it's not all going to fit on the back seat of your car, chances are you've been a little ambitious.

Top tips:

Leave behind things you’ll be able to buy when you get here (like stationary) as they add unnecessary weight.

Check what your accommodation already has so you don’t end up bringing items you don’t need. Most university accommodation already               have microwaves, kettles etc in the kitchens.



You absolutely must not forget these things:

  • Acceptance letter
  • Accommodation documents
  • Student Finance documents
  • Some photo ID
  • Your Bank Details
  • Bank Cards
  • Passport (just in case)

It's also a good idea to buy a document folder to keep everything together.


Don't go overboard when it comes to filling your suitcase. You’ll definitely want to bring comfy clothes and a few warmer things like jumpers and a jacket, some fancy stuff for going out in and plenty of underwear, shoes and socks is a good starting point. After all, there’s a Primark in Colchester now so you're always going to be able to expand your wardrobe later on.

You might want to think about bringing a sturdy bag you can carry your laptop and notebooks in for when you are studying.


This one's easy, go take a look at your bed, what's on it? That's what you need. But in case you can't be bothered going to the other room, we'd suggest a duvet and covers, sheets, a pillow and pillow case, a warm blanket and a mattress protector.

It’s also a good idea to bring:

  • Ear plugs
  • Door stop (so you can say Hi to your new neighbours)
  • Coat Hangers
  • Laundry basket
  • Hot water bottle
  • Torch


Although we're sure your tech was probably the first thing in your bag, it's always good to double check you've got everything.

  • Laptop 
  • Mobile phone 
  • Extension cable with multiple outlets (you can often find extension leads with both USB ports and power sockets, perfect for charging everything at once.)
  • Hairdryer
  • Headphones
  • Lamp
  • Alarm Clock

Remember, if you're planning on bringing a TV for your room, you'll need a TV licence. You'll also need a licence for watching on demand or catch up services like BBC iPlayer.


More than just pens and pencils, consider bringing a range of different files and folders to keep everything organised. Throwing all of your handouts into one pile may seem like a good idea at the time, but keeping it all in check will be a life saver come the end of term.

Other useful extras:

  • Post it notes
  • Organiser
  • Highlighters
  • Calculator (if your course requires maths that is)
  • Hole Punch
  • Stapler

Top tip: consider buying a folder for each module you take to help keep your handouts organised (trust us, revision will be much easier by the end of the year this way).


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shower gel
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Razors
  • Makeup
  • A couple of large bath towels and hand towel

If your accommodation has shared showering facilities then it might be a good idea to bring flip flops and a dressing gown too.


It's better to be prepared then have to drag yourself out of bed to buy painkillers when you've got a thumping headache. There's a doctor’s surgery on campus, but don’t forget to bring basics:

  • Painkillers
  • Cold and flu tablets
  • Plasters
  • Throat Pastilles


It might be worth waiting until you meet your new flatmates to find out what everyone is happy to share in communal kitchens, but nevertheless definitely bring these few items to start with:

  • A couple of bowls, plates, and mugs
  • Cutlery
  • A few glasses
  • Saucepan
  • Frying pan
  • Baking tray
  • A sharp knife
  • Tea towel
  • Cheese grater
  • Veg peeler
  • Tin opener
  • Bottle opener


While having to fend for yourself may seem daunting and the list of things you feel you need to bring may go on forever, remember that you won't need everything on day one and a lot of the smaller items, or things you forget, can be bought when you get here.