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    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 5th Jun 16, 2:19 PM
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    'Bottom Drawer' for Uni
    • #1
    • 5th Jun 16, 2:19 PM
    'Bottom Drawer' for Uni 5th Jun 16 at 2:19 PM
    Hi all,

    My youngest son is due to start Uni in September, the first in my family, and I would like to buy him a few items to get him started.

    He will be in halls for the first year, and will have a lockable kitchen cupboard, a shared fridge freezer etc.

    I'm sure lots of you have been through this, and I would appreciate any help or ideas.

    So far I have thought of -

    * Duvet, pillows and 2 sets of covers
    * sack style laundry basket/bag
    * plates/bowls/mugs/cutlery etc
    * some basic herbs/spices lazy garlic/chilli
    * bottle opener/cork screw
    * starter shopping pack - tins beans, tin tomatoes, pasta etc

    I don't want to buy a whole load of stuff he just won't use, I asked for his input and he was surprised I was thinking about it now, he thought we'd pop out and get some stuff the weekend before he goes :rolls eyes:

    He,s working all hours at the moment to save some money for books etc, so he is doing his bit.

    Thank you in advance

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    Last edited by MSE Zorica; 15-06-2016 at 10:04 AM.
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!

    September GC £250/£0.00
Page 4
    • FairyPrincessk
    • By FairyPrincessk 15th Jun 16, 5:39 PM
    • 2,036 Posts
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    A few things I don't think I've seen mentioned:

    A stapler/hole puncher/tape/ruler--the sorts of desk items that are usually one per household.
    A few permanent markers for laundry/labeling food etc.
    A bottle opener, tin opener and sharp knife (even if housemates have these, they always either seem to break, go missing or be rubbish so backups are handy!)
    If there are cooking facilities, don't forget a colander, cheese grater, spatula--I've had too many flatmates who brought all the saucepans and cooking trays money could buy but didn't have these things).
    I think someone mentioned spices--if not, a mini set of some of the lesser used (just decant a spoonful or two from the household ones) and a full set of the common stuff, depending on his tastes. Buying a full jar for just a few pinches a term is always annoying, but spices can really expand your flavours when you're eating cheaply.
    Multiple towels, thinner ones are probably better as they dry more easily
    Oven gloves if relevant

    He will almost inevitably get 'freshers flu' possibly several variations of it throughout the term, so if he isn't used to self-medicating, knowing when to go to the gp and when to treat at home etc. then it might be worth a chat, some basic medications and clear guidelines written down (i.e. be careful of paracetamol in cold preparations, don't double up, go to the GP if glands are swollen etc.) A thermometer can also be useful. When I used to live alone and move around as a student to various unfamiliar lands I'd always assemble an illness box for myself. It had cold and flu supplies, V&D supplies and a stock of very easy food to eat in the event of illness--I used to keep cup a soup type sachets, cream crackers or similar, pre-made jelly pots and a packet to make for the next day, rehydration mixture, tissues and an emergency pack of disinfecting wipes in mine. There is nothing worse than being very ill everywhere and needing to clean up, keep yourself hydrated and rest and not having what you need or having anyone to pop out for you!

    Please also ask his current GP about the Meningitis vaccine and any others recommended for this year's intake of freshers. If he can get it before he leaves it will save him doing it when he is there.

    I'd also suggest a file of important documents--NI card, NHS card, photocopies of bank cards with lost/stolen numbers, passport etc. and I'd probably slip in a bit of cash for an emergency. It needn't be a lot. I'd record basic family contact info in it etc. It can then be stored safely and if he loses his wallet and mobile he'll be prepared for what to do.

    It will be a brilliant adventure for him.
    • e13
    • By e13 15th Jun 16, 5:40 PM
    • 25 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    Things I used all the time at uni were: string, pins (safety, sewing, pinboard), sellotape, various types of glue (superglue, uhu and pritt for me). I also used to find things like a few clothes pegs useful for shutting packets, and gluing shoes back together when they'd come apart. I liked having a permanent marker for labelling things. I used to take a multitool with screwdrivers etc - my university had a tendancy to screw down furniture and it was useful for meaning I could rearrange the room, put cupboard door hinges back on without issue. A really decent sharp knife that he never leaves in the kitchen because other people blunt and ruin decent knives.

    I think I'd also explain what a stop-!!!! is and where they're usually found if they don't already know. I once found some friends sitting in a flooded kitchen just waiting for me to arrive because they didn't know how to switch the stop-!!!! off.

    (Also, remember that it won't matter if he doesn't have everything - between amazon, ebay and the local hardware store (which I found surprisingly hard to locate!), he'll be able to get everything he needs. There's nothing like the laughs you have with friends when you've mended your bike with string, or attempted to cook a brownie in a pyrex bowl etc. Though, having mended my bike with string, retrospecticively I might have taken some cable ties with me!)

    I also got an awful lot of mocking for how prepared I was with things that I'd brought to university, but then I really did take everything but the kitchen sink.

    (In the very long list of things I used to take to uni, other things I found useful were: batteries, a really good torch, a decent pair of scissors, an umbrella and rain coat, plenty of mugs, bike chain oil, some sort of lubricant to stop the lock sticking in the winter, a bike pump and a spare inner tube, a bread knife so I could treat myself to nice bread, or bagels or whatever and actually be able to eat them rather than sort of vaguely hack into lumps, a long ethernet cable because the wifi was awful and the ones we got given tethered us to our desk, a little sewing kit, extension leads and a shaver socket adapter as ours were always in stupid places) This list could go on basically forever, so I'm gonna stop there!
    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 15th Jun 16, 10:11 PM
    • 4,340 Posts
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    I think lidded plastic boxes have been mentioned, but if you find a set that stack when full and nest when empty they are great extra storage if needed - and packing for getting stuff to and fro!
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
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    Lewis Carroll
    • wilddominatrix
    • By wilddominatrix 23rd Jun 16, 10:38 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    I looked at a student site and the students on recommended a bucket- for being sick in !
    • jemb
    • By jemb 24th Jun 16, 12:18 PM
    • 879 Posts
    • 1,520 Thanks
    The best thing when I went to uni (13 years ago eek!) was having a booze box and a door stop. The booze box meant it was very easy to make friends when moving into halls and an easy way of saying hi to your neighbour "hi, do you fancy a beer?" and the door stop as it's a it scary moving in and very easy to close the door on others moving in. At least then they can bob in and out and you looking welcoming! Other staples were towels, smellies, extra coathangers! staples - pasta, rice etc and basic kitchen stuff x
    Married the lovely Mr P 28th April 2012. Little P born 29th Jan 2014
    • candygirl
    • By candygirl 24th Jun 16, 11:22 PM
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    The best thing when I went to uni (13 years ago eek!) was having a booze box and a door stop. The booze box meant it was very easy to make friends when moving into halls and an easy way of saying hi to your neighbour "hi, do you fancy a beer?" and the door stop as it's a it scary moving in and very easy to close the door on others moving in. At least then they can bob in and out and you looking welcoming! Other staples were towels, smellies, extra coathangers! staples - pasta, rice etc and basic kitchen stuff x
    Originally posted by jemb
    The booze box is bound to be a winner
    "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf"

    (Kabat-Zinn 2004)
    • Mrs_Ryan
    • By Mrs_Ryan 25th Jun 16, 12:51 AM
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    Can't stress enough- plastic boxes with lids- useful for leftovers. When I was doing my nurse training they were a godsend when I was on earlies as I didn't have to worry about the next day's lunch. Also if he is cooking lots of pasta dishes he can make an extra big portion and use it the next day. Buy ones of varying sizes from the pound shop.
    A travel mug if he likes hot drinks- then he can make himself a cuppa in the morning if he's in a hurry (if he's anything like me who always got up at the last possible second!)
    This sounds weird but if he has a sink in his room and the machines are liquitabs only, a small box of washing powder. Many a time I was so broke I had to wash undies and my work polo tops in the sink in my room it worked though and is useful in an emergency!
    Lots and lots of bin bags. I discovered the use for these when my entire flat in halls, to celebrate first day of placement, got drunk and decided to have a water fight in the bathroom (I was lookout as i came in late in my good clothes and they had all had time to change) Students do funny things
    If he's on PAYG, an emergency phone voucher so he can always call home if he needs to. If he's on contract obviously that won't be needed!
    Soft loo rolls. Always good!
    Finally, emergency toiletries- razor blades, deodorant etc. I know I'm a girl but I still need razors for various reasons and I didn't have any for the first week- I was going to pack some but forgot and I couldn't get any for about a week!
    Best of luck to him
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    • Honeylife
    • By Honeylife 22nd Sep 16, 9:21 PM
    • 19 Posts
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    You really need to know the accommodation first. DD1 never got halls had an awful house share with a sponger and a thief. The room was bare and basic. No one share anything. We gave her her own mini fridge (silent) and she had to hide food in her room. DD2 shared with four lads in halls was extremely frugal, only second hand cheap ikea pots and crockery for her. Took her own duvet and bedding from home. Just wouldn't spend any money, and that was ok. DS had a lovely large room in halls and took everything anyone suggested, no cheap tat for him had to be quality stuff, new pots pans, bedding (and new bike). DD3 had a large ensuite room so had to take toilet rolls and bath mats, her room also had a silent mini fridge in there already and there was a huge welcome pack in the kitchen consisting of tea bags, coffee, sugar, plus another small welcome box on her bed in her room. She insisted on new bedding. (waste of money her siblings told her!) DD3 actually filled a van - not a car a van with her stuff! All wanted CASH!! We gave them Sainsbury vouchers/top up cards.
    Last edited by Honeylife; 22-09-2016 at 9:23 PM. Reason: spell
    • Jinx
    • By Jinx 22nd Sep 16, 9:43 PM
    • 1,731 Posts
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    Photo album.... for when home sickness kicks in.

    I don't know if it's a girly thing but my daughter loved the small photo album I smuggled into her case with pics of family and her cats!
    Light Bulb Moment - 11th Nov 2004 - Debt Free Day - 25th Mar 2011
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 22nd Sep 16, 9:56 PM
    • 2,826 Posts
    • 26,495 Thanks
    I just wanted to thank you all.

    My son didn't get into halls, and has ended up in a house share with 4 other's.

    I was really stressed about him having to 'jump in the deep end' with utility bills, as well as rent and all that jazz, but although it's just a week in, he is getting in really well with his housemates, and they have sorted the bills etc

    Your suggestions of things to take have been invaluable, things like a clothes airer, and Tupperware type boxes have gone with him.
    We bought him a multi picture frame with photos of us, and another just blank for pics of his friends or whoever he wants.
    He has a good range of store cupboard staples as well as a couple of good simple cook books, loo roll, laundry tabs and a good range of kitchen ware - they decided before moving in who was bringing what.
    The item he has seen most value in is a mattress topper - one look at the mattress sent us straight to the shop for one before he moved in

    He is my youngest, and I am missing him, but am so proud of his independent spirit and he is loving it so far

    Thank you all once again - I love this forum, it's like having you own personal helpline X
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!

    September GC £250/£0.00
    • Lynplatinum
    • By Lynplatinum 23rd Sep 16, 12:19 AM
    • 747 Posts
    • 15,052 Thanks
    Cautionary Tales

    If your child is house sharing be careful.

    Ensure that a book is started with a page for gas; electric; water;rent; (check out council tax - different rules in different areas - I think).

    Each person's name on each page

    How much they each should pay

    They sign the book each time they give money to whomever pays the bills. the person who pays gets a receipt and staples it into the book each month.

    One of my sons was nearly saddled with £2000 of bills and because he was the only one of the 9 folk in the house who ever paid, the power company were most aggressive in persuing him. We managed to get 2 of the others to cough up but 6 of them got off scott free - my son only had their phone numbers (and of course they did not answer) and the uni refused to either give us their home address or pass on letter (unsealed) to their parents/home address. A complete nightmare.
    Also get your child to keep a small supply of tinned goods; dried milk; bowl and spoon and mug - possibly knife and fork; coffee/tea; loo roll in their room. Do not tell others its there. 'Borrowed' is rarely returned in both of my son's experience and late night shops are expensive. They wont believe you at first!!

    That said - they both had a fun time overall and had good housemates and living experiences as well! Including one lass who offered to do all the cleaning cos my son was such a good cook! And she did! They made and have kept many friends and learnt so much! Every 2 months or so I did a 'bog roll and beans' run topping them up on essentials and checking they were ok and spoiling them to a meal out.
    Hope this helps.
    Nite all
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    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 23rd Sep 16, 7:37 AM
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    Lynplatinum - How awful......

    The have opened a bank account in all 5 names, and set up standing orders from each of them, and DD's for all the bills, which are in all 5 names where poss, they have expedition certs for the council tax as they are all FT students. We took photo,s of the metres the day he moved in (he an pud one of the girls were first) - we also got copies of the Landlords certs, gas safe and electric certs etc

    My best friend is a barrister so we got her to check the contract and it's fine they all has to sign each page as you said.

    We have done as much as we can . We will be going down to see him and replenish stocks in early November, just a day run - nice lunch and home - then he,ll be home for Christmas a I,m making him a joke hamper full of super noodles, and loo roll
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!

    September GC £250/£0.00
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