Are you a student moving into university accommodation in September? If this will be your first year, you’re probably on tenterhooks about whether or not you’ll get into your university of choice, so the practicalities of the move might not yet be a priority. Whichever university you go to, though, you’ll need to be ready to move into student accommodation, and the more you do over the summer holidays to get ready, the easier the transition will be.
Have a look at our tips on moving out of your family’s home to see how you can make the most of your new student accommodation and make it into a home of your own.
1. Start making decisions
Being independent involves an awful lot of decision-making! One of the first decisions you’ll need to make as a prospective student moving out of home is what you’re going to take with you to your university accommodation.
Space will be at a premium, whether you’re allocated a room in halls or a room in private accommodation, so you might have to make some tough choices!
Decide what you have to take, then work out what you’d like to take if you have space.
The essentials you’ll need to take when moving into university accommodation are:
- Toiletries (basics like loo rolls should be there, but you’ll need things like hand soap as well as shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and deodorant, and make-up/remover if you use it).
- First aid and basic medicines - paracetamol, plasters, antiseptic wipes/cream, sting/bite cream etc.
- Regular medication (top up any prescriptions before you leave home, as it will take some time to register at a new GP surgery near your university accommodation)
- Two or three bath towels and a couple of hand towels.
- Bedding - your room will probably have a duvet and pillow (check this with your accommodation) but you’ll need pillow cases, sheets and duvet covers. Take two sets, so you can wash one set and use the other while it dries).
- Something to dry your clothes on (see below), e.g. clothes horse or washing line (and pegs!).
- Laundry detergent and fabric softener.
- Clothing and shoes for the autumn/winter terms (take a coat, thick jumpers and winter boots if you’re not likely to go home before Christmas).
- Pyjamas, dressing gown and slippers (important in case there’s a fire alarm at night!).
- Cooking utensils and crockery - 2 pans, cutlery, plates, cups, colander, grater, baking tray, spatula, tea towels, oven glove, chopping board, peeler, sharp knives for chopping ingredients, washing up liquid and sponges/cloths.
- Documents - you’ll need ID for signing up for a bank account or to register with a local GP, and you might need it to register on your course when you arrive. Take your passport and/or driving licence and keep it somewhere safe. If you have a car, take your car’s paperwork with you including a note of your insurance information.
- Electronics (laptop, phone, console, TV, hairdryer/curlers/straighteners if you use them) and their chargers. Take extension leads so you can plug everything in and not have to worry about where the plug sockets are in your room.
- Stationery and folders for your work.
If that seems like a lot to organise, you can actually buy a uni student starter kit - these contain pretty much everything mentioned above and more. Might be a nice idea for a parent or loved one to buy you a kit as a ‘well done’ for passing your exams..?
Once you’ve moved in with the basics, you might find you have room for more bits and bobs to make your room feel more like home.
These might include:
- Soft blankets.
- Comfy cushions.
- Desk lamp.
- Lamp for softer lighting in your room.
- Pot plants (succulents are good, they don’t need watering often).
- Kettle and mini fridge (for a nice cup of coffee first thing in the morning!).
Optimise the space you have with some of the following ideas and you’ll certainly have room to make some personal touches to your room!
2. Consider some of these uni student storage ideas
Your room will be designed for function, not luxury! Space will be limited, so your room will probably be just large enough for a bed, a desk and a wardrobe; you might also have a sink and/or en suite bathroom. In most student accommodation, kitchens are shared between several students, but you’ll probably have a cupboard you can add a padlock to for your non-perishable food, and you can agree with the other students on a space each in the shared fridge for fresh food.
This doesn’t leave a lot of room for possessions and it’s important that your room doesn’t feel cluttered. You need a space where you can relax, and also concentrate on your work, and having to move lots of belongings out of the way every time you want to sit down isn’t ideal.
Invest in some of these space-saving storage ideas to organise your room and make moving in a doddle:
Organise your clothes
This serves three purposes:
- to provide more room,
- to make it easier to access your clothes without getting everything wrinkled, and
- make it obvious when you’re running low of certain items and need to head to the laundrette!
Make use of over-the-door storage ideas like shoe storage hangers, or over-the-door storage caddies. You can store shoes in them, obviously, but can also store socks, underwear, stationery, snacks - whatever you like!
If you need to store more folding clothes (t-shirts, jeans etc) than hanging clothes, you could buy some fabric shelving to hang from the rail in the wardrobe.
If you don’t have space for that, you could make your hanging space more efficient by using hangers that allow you to hang multiple items from each hanger.
When you’ve washed your clothes, you’ll need somewhere to dry them. Your accommodation might have a communal area for this, but there’s no guarantee you’ll have space for your clothes on any shared airer. Consider an over-the-door clothes airer, or a retractable washing line that you could suspend from one end of your room to the other (check whether you’re allowed to attach this to your wall).
Use your bed
The space under your bed can be invaluable. Buy some under-bed storage boxes with lids to store spare bedding and blankets, thick jumpers and coats, until they’re needed.
Alternatively, buy some vacuum-pack bags to store these items and suck all the air out with a vac (you might have to sweet-talk the cleaner if you don’t have your own vac) to save loads of space. Pop those under your bed and out of the way.
There are caddies you can hang from the side of your bed, too, to hold things like your book, glasses, TV remote and mobile phone. This can free up your desk space from a lot of clutter!
Organise your bathroom and laundry
Whether you have an en suite or a shared bathroom, store all your toiletries in a caddy. In your en suite, this will prevent clutter (you could hang it from your shower curtain rail or shower pipes); if you have a shared bathroom everything will be in one place and easy for you to transport.
A traditional laundry basket will take up too much floor space - opt instead for a narrow laundry basket or a laundry hamper you can hang from hooks on the back of your door or on the side of your wardrobe.
Organise your desk
As long as you have enough space to use your laptop or write notes by hand, the rest of your desk space can be used as extra storage space. Use desk shelves to store your stationery and folders. If your desk doesn’t already have drawers, invest in a narrow set of drawers that will slide underneath the desk to keep all your paperwork, file dividers, plastic pockets etc accessible but out of the way.
Using your desk shelf, you could store a charging station for all your electronic devices so you don’t have wires all over the place and can find everything you need quickly and easily.
If you want a desk lamp, save space by investing in one that clips onto the side of your desk.
Whether you get into your first choice university or not, these tips will hopefully help you to get settled quickly so you can start finding your feet.
Self storage units for students
When you reach the end of each term, you might have to move out of your halls residence (some universities rent out rooms to conference delegates). Even if not, you might want to come home for a few weeks. If you can’t leave personal items in your room either because your room will be let out, or because you don’t want to risk them being stolen or damaged in your absence (burglaries of student accommodation spike during the holidays) you could consider renting a self storage unit
. Store all your student gear in a locker or small room (you could save money by sharing a self storage unit with other students) and pick it up at the end of the holidays.
We offer student discounts and we have stores nationwide close to many major cities and universities. If you think you might need to use self storage at Christmas, Easter or over the next summer holidays, get in touch and see how we can help.