The summer holidays are nearly over for most UK students - whether you’ve been working or just making the most of having no lectures, the weeks away from uni or college have probably flown by! Whether you’re sad to be leaving home, or excited to make new friends and live independently, moving day will soon be here.
If you’re a student moving away from home for the first time, or a student returning to your second or third year away, this is the time to get organised to make moving day go smoothly. Here are our moving house tips specifically tailored for students.
1. Write a list of essential supplies - and make sure you have them!
First of all, check the fine details of what will be included in your student accommodation. Will you need to take pots and pans, crockery and cutlery, towels and linen? Or will you just need to take your clothes and toiletries?
Here is a sample list of what you might need if you’re a student moving into halls or independent accommodation - cross off whatever you know is already included, and make sure you pack everything else you think you’ll need (in clearly labelled boxes!). In terms of how much of each item to take, a week’s worth of clothing will mean you need to do the laundry once a week, and four sets of crockery etc will mean you don’t have to wash up too often.
- Clothes and underwear for classes/chores/shopping, and evenings out
- Toiletries including handwash and toilet roll
- A first aid kit, plus any routine medication
- Dinner plates, side plates, cereal bowls, mugs, glasses
- Knives, forks, dessert spoons, teaspoons, sharp knife, chopping block
- 2 saucepans, 1 frying pan
- Cheese grater
- Tin opener
- Bottle opener
- Tea, coffee, sugar
- Ketchup, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, cooking oil
- Tinned and dried food for days when you can’t get to the shops - beans, soups, stews, tuna, chilli, pasta, rice
- TV, laptop, chargers
- Bedding - 2 sets of fitted sheets, duvet cover (and duvet?), pillowcases (and pillows?), so that you have one to use and one to wash
- Towels - bath and hand
- Bedside lamp
- Travel passes
- Miscellaneous useful ‘bits’ - Sellotape, BluTack, cling film, tinfoil, sandwich bags, spare batteries, torch
- Personal items such as photos, pictures and blankets
- Text books bought in advance, pens, paper, folders/ring binders, stapler, paperclips, punched hole pockets etc
Double-check that your accommodation is fitted with smoke detectors and alarmed carbon monoxide detectors. If not, pack your own.
2. Have a clear out
When you’ve gathered all the necessary items you’re taking with you, have a look at what’s left in your room. It’s a good time to have a good clear out and give away or sell unused or unwanted belongings. This could be a great way to make a bit of extra cash, and it will create more space for your essentials for when you move back in over the holidays or after your course has finished.
Your parents might want to use your room for guests or maybe they’re thinking of listing your room as accommodation on a site like AirBnb while you’re not using it. If so, take your essentials with you, sell or give away anything you don’t want/need, and pop the rest into a student storage unit until you come home. These cost a few pounds a month and will free up a lot of space at home.
3. Arrange a student moving company
If you’re lucky, your family or friends might be able to give you a lift to college/uni and you’ll be able to fit all of your belongings into their car. If you have a lot of things to take, you might need to hire a van (most van rental companies will require you to be over 21, so you may need an older friend or relative to rent and drive it for you).
If none of that is an option, you could find a specialist student moving company to transport all your belongings to your dorm or student house. They may offer special rates for students, or just offer a discount if you show your NUS card or acceptance letter; either way, you’ll probably save even more if you choose to move midweek as demand for moving companies is highest at weekends.
A student moving company will set its charges based on how much you have to move and how far you have to travel. To keep your costs down, make sure you don’t take any surplus belongings - another good reason for decluttering and selling or giving away anything you no longer need or want before you go and popping any excess belongings into a self storage unit.
4. Before arrival…
Make sure you know:
- How and when to collect your keys
- Whether there are any keys or codes for internal locks
- What night to put the bins out
- How to work the thermostat and timer for heating and hot water
- Where the fuse box is located, and how to deal with a blown fuse
- Where the stop tap (sometimes known as the stopcock) is located in case there’s ever a leak
- Where to find the WiFi code
Always read your contract so that you know what you’ll be responsible for and what your landlord should do for you.
5. Upon arrival…
When you’re physically inside the property, before you unpack, there are a few things you should do to protect your deposit.
First of all, take photographs of each room (and perhaps a video), including close-ups of any visible damage (scuffs on the paintwork, broken fittings etc). When you leave, your landlord might try to withhold some of your deposit to repair those defects if you can’t prove that you didn’t cause the damage.
Secondly, if you’re in private rented accommodation rather than halls, take photos of the water meter, electric meter and gas meter so that you have a clear record of the readings as at the time you move in. Provide these readings to the utility suppliers so that you receive accurate bills from the start.
Thirdly, give everything a really good clean. It’s much easier to do this when your belongings are still in bags and boxes, so make the most of this opportunity to start afresh.
Make sure you apply online for a TV licence - you’ll need one to watch your TV whether you’re in halls or a private, rented house. Also, check the lightbulbs to see what type of spares you’ll need (do they screw in, or use a bayonet fitting?) - pick up a couple of suitable spare bulbs when you’re at the shops just in case.
Finally, make sure that the Local Council is aware that you’re living there, and get your name on the electoral roll so that you can vote in local and national elections. If everyone living in the house is a full-time student, none of you will have to pay Council Tax, but you have to let the Council know that you’re in full-time education to avoid getting an automatic bill.
6. Consider using student storage
Some student accommodation is rented all year round - you pay for 12 months’ accommodation and can come and go as you please during that time.
Other accommodation, particularly onsite campus accommodation, is often rented to students only during term time: during the holidays, it’s often used as accommodation for conference guests or attendees of events at the university.
Whatever your contract says about whether you’re permitted to stay in your student house during the holidays, there will inevitably be times when you want to go home to see your friends and family. Student accommodation is very vulnerable to break-ins during holiday times because they’re so frequently empty. If you’re planning to go home for any length of time over the holidays, or if your contract requires you to vacate your student house over the holidays, you might be wondering what to do with all your belongings during that time to keep them safe.
You could bring it all home with you - hire a student moving company again, or ask your friends and family to help transport everything. Or you could choose to rent some student storage
to keep everything secure for however long you’re away. Student self storage is a flexible, affordable option if you need to store your stuff for a few days or weeks. You could rent a locker, which is about the size of a car boot, or you could rent a small 10m sq student storage unit. If you get together with housemates, you could rent a student self storage unit together and share the cost!
Student self storage is also a feasible option between years of study - rather than transferring everything home at the end of the year, why not keep it in your storage unit until the new academic year? That way, you can greatly reduce the amount of time you need to spend packing up and transporting everything home and back to university, and your belongings will be kept securely until you need them back.
At Safestore, our self storage units are located close to many universities, so it’ll be easy for you to access your stuff.
A final note…
Remember that as a student moving into your own accommodation for the first time, you might make mistakes, encounter problems or don’t know what to do to solve a problem. This is all okay and is part of a lifelong learning curve! Your landlord will be your first port of call for any home-related emergencies such as burst pipes etc, but also remember that the accommodation officers at your university or college are there to help you if you encounter difficulties in any aspect of your accommodation. Keep their number in your phone in case of emergencies.