I’m coming to the end of my first year of university, so I thought I would share my tips and tricks to living in halls and preparing for uni move in day! I’m no expert but all of these quick and easy things have made the whole process 10 times easier for me.
Preparation for the ‘big move’…
1. You can never have too many notebooks:
This generally is my day to day motto, but before uni you need to get your hands on a fair few notebooks (obviously you don’t need loads like me), but I would suggest having a look online for your course handbook and see how many different modules you will be studying and aim to have an organised place to put all of your notes. Some people prefer to have one big notebook which is good so you only have one to carry around with you, but it will only work if you keep it organised into sections! Take a notebook to your first week of lectures even though you will probably only be doing introductory lectures, it’s always nice to have somewhere to make notes if needs be, of important dates etc. Having these notebooks already to hand will get your university life off to a great start, being organised will always make the workload more relaxing, I promise
2. How to make friends:
It’s a daunting task, being dropped off in a new place, probably not knowing anyone around you. So my suggestion to tackle this is to face your fear and force yourself to interact with people, especially those in the flat with you, you’re going to be around them a lot of the time so you might as well get to know them. One little trick that might work in your favour is to take some food with you to share out, things like home baked cookies or cakes work a treat, food is usually the way to any students heart. Just speak to people, remember they’re all in the same situation as you so why not start the conversation?
3. Take a printer:
If you’re a lazy type of person like me, then having your own printer will be the most useful thing ever. It will save you so many late night trips to the library to print assignments, so it is a definite must in my eyes.
4. Learn how to cook:
I’m not suggesting you become a professionally trained chef two weeks before uni starts, but just have a few meals that you enjoy, are easy to make, and most importantly – are cheap! You can continue to experiment with meals while you’re there but its nice to have those go-to meals that are simple to whip up when you’re stuck for ideas.
5. Keep your packaging:
You’ll be lugging a mass of stuff to uni when you first start, in an array of bags and boxes. My suggestion is that you keep all of those bags and boxes, after all you will eventually have to pack all that stuff back up, so it’ll make this process so much easier if you have all of these to hand. If you don’t have space in your room to keep all of them, then just fit as many as you can in the space you have (put storage inside bigger storage to save space) and keep the good stuff. I like to have a small weekend suitcase for quick trips home and a bigger suitcase for the holidays.
Decorations are everything…
1. Surround yourself with happiness:
Take photos of memories that will make you smile, along with motivational prints and little decor pieces from home, your aim is to make this empty shell of a room into your home for the next year. Creating a wall display of pictures is a great way to vamp up the plain walls while saving space, not having picture frames taking up valuable surfaces. I personally find that the addition of things like fairy lights and bunting makes a room instantly more homely and unique.
Most university halls have some form of pin board, so get some decorative push pins at the ready and put up anything motivational, along with your lecture timetable and any other organisational planning bits and bobs you can find. Having your own personalised inspiration board right in front of you is always helpful in keeping you on track. Another way that I incorporated happiness into my room was by creating a colour scheme, this is an essential for me in any space. In my room I went for monochrome with a pop of yellow. It’s nice to keep the palette neutral, as you won’t know what colours may already be in the furniture provided. Then the pop of yellow brings some excitement and individuality to the space, along with being a calming colour with strong connotations of happiness.
2. Have a tray for essentials:
My tip in decorating any room is to have a space for you to basically just throw those little things you use all of the time (keys, watch, spare change, rings…). So you want them to be easily accessible but still look organised. I find that the best way to achieve this ‘organised mess’ look is to put everything on a tray/dish/basket. If things are thrown into/onto a piece like this it immediately looks neat and organised. It will also mean that you will always know exactly where these little essentials are, so when you’re running late to a 9am lecture you can quickly and easily grab your keys on the way out of the door. Trust me, this is a life saver.
3. Comfort is key:
Reiterating the fact that you want to feel at home in your uni room, comfort is a key aspect you need to incorporate. In a small student room, the bed in generally the focal point of the room, so make it somewhere that you want to be! The use of cushions (loads if you’re like me) and blankets will give you the comfort of home throughout the year, as well as basically being worn as a cape to keep wrapped up during those winter months.
4. Make yourself a bathroom caddy:
Whether you’re lucky and have an en suite, or you share a bathroom, I would say that having a bathroom caddy is an essential. Generally bathrooms have little to no storage, especially tiny student ones. So create some storage but filling a basket with things like cleaning products and spare shampoos etc. By putting everything in a basket on the floor, as opposed to just scattered around the room, you keep everything together and with the wire baskets being massively on trend at the minute, you can actually create a stylish spot to put all of those extra little bits and keep them out of the way.
5. Optimise storage space:
You pretty much will be squeezing your entire life into a pretty tight space, so utilise the storage given to the best of your ability. Things such as under-bed storage and tops of wardrobes are great places to put all of those things that you don’t reach for too often (suitcases, fancy dress outfits…). Another great idea that I’ve used in my room is to pin my necklaces and some other jewellery pieces to my pin board, this way you are displaying them, they are not getting into a tangled mess and they are saving surface space. You need as much desk top area as you can for actually doing work so try to maximise space in drawers and storage boxes to free up some of the desk top. Over door hooks will give you that extra space for coats, leaving you with more wardrobe space for other clothing. If you have more drawer space than hanging or folding areas, then you can practically double the amount of clothes you can fit in by rolling clothing instead. I would also massively recommend thin hangers for small wardrobes, you want to squeeze as many clothes in as you can, and if you hang then think of all the ironing you can avoid doing. Utilise the dead space underneath your desk with potentially a printer and bin to keep them out of the way but again, easily accessible when needed.