Uni essentials you may not know about

Here’s a handy list of things that were a great help during my first year that you may not have thought of!

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So you need to buy stuff for uni but still have no idea what you will actually need? Here’s a handy list of things that were a great help during my first year that you may not have thought of!


Plates, bowls, cups and cutlery

An essential for any kitchen, you’ll use these every day! But what type and how many?

  • Try and find unique looking plates and bowls - everyone in your flat will have them and most of them may look the same, so this helps make finding your stuff easier!
  • Don’t buy too many - everyone thinks you need lots but in actual fact you probably only need 2 sets. If you are worried about people coming round, ask your flatmates if you can borrow a plate for a meal and wash it up after! You can buy cheap sets in most supermarkets (big Tesco has some really well-priced items) to replace with if you break anything!

Utensils and other cooking equipment

There are so many things that your parents may have at home that you aren’t sure if you’ll need, so how do you work out what you do need? One of the best plans is to look at what meals you want to cook at uni and what you need to make them. Some things I found useful to bring were:

  • Saucepans
  • A wok
  • A frying pan
  • Baking tray
  • Wooden spoon
  • Spatula
  • Chopping board
  • Knives

Utensil pot

This was something I found super helpful as it differentiated my things from other people’s. They're super inexpensive and easy to find in shops such as Ikea (a future uni student’s favourite shop).


This is something that was extremely helpful for me at uni. I found that they were great to store leftovers in (I would usually make two portions of food and save one for the next day to not have to cook again) and for storing food in the cupboards. A similar, but slightly different, thing I would recommend is storage organiser (this is the one that I used) for packets and loose vegetables.


This was one of the most useful purchases for uni as it makes washing up much quicker and simpler (even when people leave washing up in the sink). It has your washing up liquid inside the handle and dispenses the right amount onto the sponge, meaning you don’t have to waste too much liquid washing up each time.


Underbed storage

Under most beds in Cardiff accommodation there is room that you can put boxes in, which is a great way to maximise your storage. I used this to store bedding, towels, and any cooking equipment I couldn’t fit in the kitchen.

Desk or Bedside Lamp

A lot of people found that the overhead lights in the evenings could be quite harsh and so used a lamp in the evenings instead.

Pins/command strips for photos

Your uni room can look quite bare when you first arrive so adding photos to your room can make it feel much more personalised! Some accommodations have pin boards above the desk which can be used for photos, but if your room doesn’t then command strips are a great way to put up photos without risking any damage to the walls. Having these photos can also help with feeling home sick as you still feel like you are connected to your life back home.

Door wedge

Not only convenient when you’re moving in, a door wedge is a great way to encourage your flatmates to socialise with you. By propping your door open, it says to people that you’re happy to chat and so people can get to know you more.

Over the door hooks

This may not be something that works for all Cardiff Uni accommodations, but it worked great for my accommodation (Talybont South). If you have an ensuite, you can buy hooks that fit over the bathroom door and allow you to hang things from them.

Extension lead

While there are quite a few plug sockets in your room, sometimes there are things that you need extra sockets for (such as chargers) and so an extension lead is a great way to make better use of the sockets you do have.

Clothes horse (dryer)

A clothes horse, often known as a clothes dryer, is a great way to save some money when doing your washing. The laundry facilities at uni are a little pricey and so cutting out the need for the tumble dryer will save you a lot of money throughout the year, plus it will be much better for the environment!


Storage box

A great addition whether you have an en suite or shared bathroom!


Big rucksack

This is probably the best purchase I made for uni and was a lifesaver when it came to carrying home a food shop.  This bag is also really helpful for when you are going home for holidays and weekends on the train as you can fit a lot in there and means you need less bags.


As much as your flat will try and keep everything clean, the kitchen floor will inevitably be a little dirty and so having a pair of sliders helps make sure you keep your socks clean when walking around the flat. Sliders are a better choice for wearing around the flat than flip flops, because then you can keep your socks on during the winter, or slippers, as they aren’t as easy to clean if you step in something. They are also great for shared bathrooms because you then can walk to the shower without stepping in anything.

Washing bag

A Laundry hamper is not always the most convenient at uni, so most people use a large bag with handles! I found that a common choice is the Ikea blue bags because they can fit a lot in and are only £0.75. They also are waterproof so there won’t be any problems when carrying your wet clothes back from the laundry building!


A suitcase is  easier to use in train stations than multiple large bags and, when paired with the large rucksack suggested earlier, gives you a really good amount of space! Your suitcase can also be used as storage throughout the year (I stored mine under my bed, but to do this you probably need a cabin case rather than a large suitcase).

These are the things that I’ve found helpful throughout the year, but there are always going to be different preferences, so do what seems best for you! Remember, even if you do forget something when you get to Cardiff, there’ll be plenty of places you can get anything you need - so don’t panic and enjoy the rest of your summer!


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