Student holding boxUnless your child is lucky enough to have a big room resist the urge to over pack, as they will have nowhere to put it and a room stuffed with kit will be impossible to keep tidy – which they will have to do once a week if they are in a hall of residence  for the cleaners.

Girls in particular will want to take their whole wardrobe, of course, but clothes space will be at a premium so if you can persuade them to cut back on at least one suitcase that would help. Having said that, do stock up on socks and underwear to reduce their laundry trips. And take hangers.

From experience, items to take which may not be obvious are:

  • Kettle – low wattage to not blow the electrics
  • Key chain – round the neck style is good, as rooms generally have strongly sprung doors for fire safety, so its easy to get locked out
  • A starter pack of healthy snacks, biscuits and fruitDoor stop
  • Antibacterial wipes and a bottle of Carex
  • First aid kit, savlon, paracetamol and sore throat medicine
  • Extension cables – minimum of 2 x 4 plug extensions
  • Air freshener
  • Hangers – sometimes there are none
  • Bottled water for emergency hangover therapy
  • Mini fridge- stops people nicking favourite snacks
  • Alarm clock
  • White tack, sellotape and glueMulti plug connector
  • Photos of home and friends
  • Large bag to store & carry dirty washing to laundry
  • Small change for laundry & washing tablets
  • Over the door hooks for hanging coats as wardrobe space is limited
  • Max 2 glasses, plates etc (few rarely cook except for themselves)
  • Mattress protector makes bed more comfy & hygienic
  • Door wedge-more social and friendly to wedge door open
  • If sharing bathroom, a plastic caddy to carry/identify your bathroom bits
  • Flip flops for bathroom
  • Towel rack
  • 2 towels and own pillowCan opener
  • Dressing gown- lots of time is spent in pyjamas
  • Love package with little treats for them to find once you’ve gone
  • Stamps and envelopes
  • Printer and paper
  • Bottle/tin opener
  • Several under bed storage boxes with lids – for food and clothes
  • Playing cards and scrabble
  • If self catering – a few easy recipes
  • Screwdriver, screws and duck tape
  • Bathroom/kitchen cleaning spray and cloth
  • Folder with all university admin paperwork, insurance information etc, and a place to write down their lecture schedule
  • Decent desk lightFirst Aid Kit
  • For girls a decent size wall mirror – in sections from Ikea


And, especially for boys! :

  • Febreeze to spray round the room to get rid of nasty pongs ( suggested by the girls!)
  • Toilet rolls as most boys won’t realise they are running out or buy spares
  • Shampoo, shower gel, razors & deodorant – 2 or 3 of each as they will spend money on other things in preference
  • Nail clippers ( again requested by the girls!)

Making a packing check list even for the obvious things can be really useful when, having partied with home friends for the whole week before departure, your child stuffs everything into bags at the last minute.For more suggestions go to the student-room

If you don’t have access to a car, or prefer to order things like duvets for direct delivery to the hall of residence try, and if you want delivery from home go to student luggage delivery

On the food front:

A supermarket shop at the beginning of term is always welcome. The most requested items are:

  • Cereal, bread, spreads and jams, margerine, crisps & biscuits
  • Pasta, pasta sauces in a jar, good tinned soups
  • Vacuumed packed cold meats and cheese
  • Few ready made meals
  • Tea and coffee
  • Fruit and vitamins
  • Cooking essentials – salt, pepper, mixed herbs and spices
  • And any thing else that lasts for a long time in the back of a cupboard
  • Starter pack of beers and drink as ice-breakers on the first day
  • Lucozade for energy in Freshers Week
  • Washing powder, paper tissues & loo rolls

It is also work tucking in a cook book – four suggestions that don’t require a lot of expensive ingredients are:

The Ultimate Student Cookbook by Fiona Beckett
a very comprehensive and well-written book with 200 recipes, it also has price guides and timings. The first part is a bit lengthy on healthy balanced diets, but who knows it might go in!

GoodFood 101: More One-Pot Dishes
this little BBC book is ideal – small and not overwhelming for a beginner with lots of delicious looking easy recipes

Jamie’s Ministry of Food
promises “anyone can learn to cook in 24 hours” and does deliver , with step by step photos and easy instructions

Nosh 4 Students by Joy May
has the added advantage that you don’t have to weigh anything, and has plenty of useful recipes.