Packing your entire life up in boxes can be a daunting prospect, but I promise that it’s so, so much easier than it first appears. Well, maybe ‘easy’ is the wrong word, but it’s certainly do-able.
My first recommendation for a stress-free packing experience is to use a packing list. I personally like this one, though you can use any that seem appropriate (after all, you know more about what you personally need than I do). Now – and this is important – you must stick to it. With the exception of specific requirements (e.g. medications, your favourite stuffed bear, etc.), the people who write these things know what they’re doing. They’ve been there, done that and arrived at uni with a load of stuff they never even needed to remove from their suitcases. If it’s the only advice you take this summer, learn from their mistakes. Honestly, I promise that you won’t need the ice-cream maker, your walking boots or the entire kitchen sink. Really, you won’t. Take it from me – you won’t use 80% of the stuff you bring for your first semester.
However, that being said, one thing that the packing lists won’t necessarily include is fancy dress. Trust me, it’s useless but you need it. Throw in a onesie or two and that ancient Buzz Lightyear costume your mum got you for Halloween three years ago. Chances are, they’ll come in handy.
If you’re going into first year, chances are you’re going to be living in halls. If you’re catered, great! All you’ll need is a plate, bowl and some cutlery. If you’re self catered, also great! But you’re going to need to pack a little more stuff. As someone who was self-catered in my first year, I advise that you coordinate with your new flatmates as to who is bringing what. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t, but you do run the risk of having five different toasters clogging up your kitchen. In that vein, it’s also worth checking what’s actually provided for you – one of my acquaintances ended up cooking her pasta in a kettle for a week because she assumed that pans were provided (they weren’t).
Finally, don’t bring anything expensive or sentimental into your shared kitchen. I can guarantee that it will be borrowed by your messiest flatmate, it will be left (festering) on the side of the sink for three weeks, and it will end up ruined. In my opinion, it’s best to buy some cheaper kit, at least until you move out of halls.
No matter how well you follow your packing list and adhere to all my top-tips, it’s more than likely you’ll end up on a family mercy dash to a local B&Q to get a lamp, coat hangers and a cactus (I know I did). If/when this happens, there’s a great Homebase on Welford Road. You’re welcome.