As it’s September (where is this year going?!) I thought now was a good time to pass on some advice to new freshers. For this post I thought I’d start with what (and what not) to pack before moving into halls. So sit back freshers and learn from my wisdom (ha!).
Bathroom: I had a room with an ensuite in my first year so what I needed to pack was more than what those of you who are in accommodation with shared bathrooms will need to pack. Never-the-less, most of it is the same.
- Obvious things like toilet roll and bathroom essentials such as toothpaste, body wash etc.
- Cleaning products- yes, freshers, if you’re in an ensuite you will need to clean your own bathroom (sorry). If you’re in a shared bathroom the cleaners will do it for you (but it’s not a bad idea to buy a bottle of bleach or something).
- Soap and toothbrush holders- things like this never even crossed my mind but luckily my mum was on the ball and packed them for me. They’re an actual godsend and it gives visitors the impression that you know how to be a grown up.
- Towels- take plenty of towels because nobody likes washing towels regularly.
Bedroom: what you take for your room all depends on how much space you have and what your personal preferences are. Every room will have a bed (duh), but some are single, some are double. They will also have a wardrobe and a desk with a chair so, with all of this in there, the space you have left will vary from room to room.
- Bedding- I bought some really cheap ones from primark and they’ve lasted me two years now, and they look cool too (grey with the London skyline on one and one set that’s just pink and grey in case you’re wondering).
- Desk lamp- you might want to check if you’re provided with one but from what I can remember (it’s been two years already!) there wasn’t one in my room. I took one anyway but never used it until the fuse blew on my bedside lamp (I never got round to changing the fuse so switched my lamp for my desk lamp.). Take one, you never know when you may need it. And, unlike me, you may actually use it for its intended purpose- studying at night!
- Bedside lamp- I hate having my main light on at night before I go to sleep so I like having a bedside lamp to make the room feel a little bit cosier. Plus, it’s much easier to switch a lamp off at night than to get out of bed to turn the main light off then fumble across the room in the dark trying to get back into bed.
- Pictures of friends and family from home- I think this is a lovely idea as it makes you feel more at home especially in those first few weeks. Every room at UoL has a pin board in it so there’s plenty of room to pin photos (after you’ve pinned your timetable on it of course).
- Studying implements- yes, sorry, this has to go on the list. You will need books, pens, folders, highlighters etc for when lectures start. I lay all mine out on my desk in the first week so that a) I didn’t dump stuff on my desk instead of putting it away in its proper place and b)so that it was already out when the time came to actually start studying (spoiler: it didn’t help for me but it might for you! 😂)
- A fluffy rug- I wish I’d brought one of these as I think it’s lovely to be able to feel a fluffy rug between your toes when you’re getting out of bed at stupid o’clock in the middle of winter.
Kitchen: okay, so you won’t know your housemates before you move into halls and, chances are, if you’re speaking to them before you move in you won’t be talking about kitchen roll and washing up liquid! Because of this you will end up with lots of the same thing and that’s fine (we ended up with five huge bottles of washing up liquid but at least they lasted us nearly the whole year). Take what you think you’ll need and when things start running out you can all start chipping in for replacements to share. If you’re in catered halls you won’t need to worry about much of this but some of it will be useful.
- Utensils- take more than one of everything such as knives, forks, plates, bowls etc. Don’t be the housemate that has to borrow everyone else’s stuff. You could get luckily like our housemate who did this and be sharing with all people who are happy to lend you their stuff, but unfortunately some people don’t like others using their stuff.
- On that note take a cheese grater. It’s often something people forget about but everyone needs so if you’ve brought one everyone will love you.
- Saucepans- take a few of different sizes and take one with a lid. If you’re reading this and thinking ‘but I can’t cook and don’t have a clue what to do with saucepans of varying sizes’ (like me before first year) trust me you will learn how to cook several things and then you’ll be glad of all your saucepans. Even if you don’t they’ll come in handy for your flat Christmas dinner.
- Washing up liquid and sponges- don’t forget to replace the sponges. Don’t be disgusting like we were in first year and use the same sponges all year. I repeat: washing up sponges need replacing regularly!
- Tea towels- you can never have enough tea towels. And besides you’ll probably end up throwing at least one away when it gets used to mop up a spill at pre drinks and you decide it’s too disgusting to wash.
- playing cards- invaluable at pre drinks
- Shot glasses- invaluable at pre drinks
- You will get a microwave and a kettle but not a toaster. However, instead of ending up with multiple toasters wait till you get there and buy one together with your flatmates.
That’s a pretty long list but I think I’ve covered everything essential. You will inevitably arrive and realise you have forgotten something but don’t worry about that as you can buy things when you get here (Asda is just around the corner). If you think I’ve missed something please let me know in the comments so I can add it to the list. Also, if you have any questions about what to bring or about first year in general then please feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer.