Man Met student and Freshers veteran Elliot Garlick offers words of wisdom for this year’s intake and some tips on what to pack and what not to pack. Warning. Explicit content. Not suitable for parents…

“Before your flatmates
become friendly, there
will be padlocks
everywhere…”

So it turns out that your parents were telling the truth all along. You take them for granted. A lot. Now you probably disagree with me. After all, you take the bins out sometimes, you’ve washed up in past and you’re usually a pretty pleasant person to be around. That’s enough, right? Wrong. There are literally thousands of tiny conveniences you use every day and never even think about, you selfish, ungrateful child.

But the real tragedy in this situation? You won’t believe any of it until it’s too late and you’re sitting on the toilet with a couple of clingers and no paper. Ouch.

To make the whole process just a little bit simpler, we’ve created a list of things you’ll need. Things you’ll forget and things that just waste space.

Tip 1 Buy a Bathmat

No matter how many Ikea pilgrimages you make or Costco members you know, most people won’t think about this until they step on dirty clothes to keep the floor dry. If you’re looking to pull during Freshers you will be taking a lot of showers, and you don’t want the lucky boy or girl to have to swim to the toilet. What’s the trick? Buy a bathmat cheap and buy it early.

Tip 2 You Do Not Need That Much Cutlery

Every September, Ikea makes a fortune selling pottery and silverware to new students. Last year four of my flatmates (me included) brought 18-piece crockery sets, just in case. For those of you who aren’t studying maths, that’s 72 dinner plates, side plates and bowls between four people. Literally insane.

Pro Tip: You will only need two of everything; two plates, two bowls, two knives, forks and spoons. This means you have a spare when one breaks and you can make breakfast for that ‘special friend’ who stays over last night.

Tip 3 Bring Washing Powder

Most student guides say not to bring washing powder because you can buy it on campus.

And they’re right, you can. However, it will cost you more money in the long run, and there is one BIG reason you want it in your flat-puke.

Pro Tip: If you’re at university, there are going to be parties. Where there are parties, there will be alcohol-related chundering. And the easiest way to clean up vomit? Pour a cup of washing powder over it and wait for the crystals to absorb all the liquid. Then clean it up with a dustpan and brush. Hoover the stain afterwards.

Tip 4 You Can Never Have Too Many Towels

When you move to university, there is only one certainty- you will be lazier than you’ve ever been.

Waking up at noon is an everyday thing. Your flat’s sink will be overflowing with dirty pots and you develop a sort of student-apathy toward anything that isn’t alcohol and parties. But what always suffers the most? Your laundry pile.

You see, the laundry room always feels like it’s miles away, even if it’s in the same building. Somedays it’s just too hard to interrupt your fifteen hour ‘Friends’ marathon to deal with the pile that’s starting to dominate your room. But what to do?

Simple. Get plenty of towels. You can turn your underwear inside out. You can wear a hoody without a t-shirt. But drying yourself with a still-damp towel just feels wrong.

Pro Tip: Make your lazy days easier by taking four bath towels, two hand towels and at least two kitchen towels.

Tip 5 Get a Lockbox

Before your flatmates become friendly, there will be padlocks everywhere. People start going overboard protecting cupboards full of noodles and beans, so it’s a good idea to get ahead by buying a box with a lock on it. Use it to store your house keys (separate from your uni keys), emergency credit cards, birth certificate, national insurance card. Basically any small valuables that you couldn’t live without. Between the lock on your flat, your room and your box all your most precious valuables should remain pretty safe.

Pro Tip: Make sure that you have a spare key somewhere safe, even if your parents have to keep it for you. It happens to everyone. You go to a club, lose your keys and suddenly you’ve been locked out of everything you own. Make sure that you keep a spare somewhere safe and completely separate from uni life.

Tip 6 Don’t Bring Condoms

One of the best things about family? The presents.

If you have a lot of family you will go to uni weighed down with cheap alcohol, promises of food parcels and a handful of crappy gifts you were too polite to turn down. But there will always be one brother/father/dickhead uncle who will watch as you unwrap a box of condoms in front of grandma and granddad. Hilarious.

But to be fair, condoms are expensive. Really expensive. So you might be tempted to buy a few cheap boxes before you move in. Only sensible, right? Wrong. During Freshers Fair, you can pick up condoms by the metric tonne from the sexual health table, and no one will bat an eye. You can also regularly top up your supply from the health clinic with as many freebies as your pockets can hold.

Pro Tip: Save yourself twenty quid by picking up free condoms instead of buying them.

Tip 7 Speakers

Flat parties are a MASSIVE part of uni culture. Sometimes they can be the main event, other times it’s just a pre-drink thing, but there is one thing that every flat needs- speakers.

I’ve been to so many parties where the only music was either coming out of a crappy laptop speaker or a CD player that looks like it was made in 1996. They don’t have to be uber-expensive or pro-quality so long as everyone can get angry when some moron starts playing Nickleback at 5am.

Pro Tip: Take playing cards and ping pong balls.

Drinking games are the number one source of entertainment at flat parties, with Beer Pong and Ring of Fire dominating. If you have speakers, ping pong balls and playing cards you’ll be making friends the second you move in.

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