5 tips to help create a “home from home” for new uni students
Like a lot of parents around the country, we’ll be seeing our eldest off to uni this month. It’s an exciting time, but also a little bit of an anxious one - we want to know he’s going to be okay and help him feel comfortable in his new home.
We’ve been chatting with our peers, looking up articles and asking on our social media to find ways we can support our lad through this transition without smothering him or buying up half of John Lewis, and we’ve collected a few of our favourite tips to help other parents find their way through.
1. Make do and mend
Like lots of practical heirloom skills, darning and mending has had a resurgence since the first lockdown, with people finding time to “rediscover” craft and homemaking skills.
At the very least, it’s useful for students to know how to replace a button so they don’t end up spending sparse student funds on new gear. A small sewing kit with a few needles, thread reels and a pair of scissors is an inexpensive way to help them build good habits around looking after clothes. Likewise, don’t forget to pack shoe polish and a spare pair of laces!
2. Virtual planning
A lot of universities offer opportunities for students who will be sharing accommodation to meet virtually beforehand, which can help to break the ice. It’s also a great way to avoid buying duplicate kitchen equipment if they will be sharing a kitchen space - no kitchen needs 3 cheese graters!
3. Get a doorstop!
When we posted on our social media asking about what to pack for Ollie, we had a string of brilliant suggestions from our followers that included recipe index cards for home cooked favourites, supermarket gift cards for emergency shopping and a slow cooker.
Our favourite suggestion was from follower Penny, who advised getting a doorstop - that way students can prop open their halls of residence / flatshare doors and get to know people.
4. Leverage aromatherapy and plants
If you’ve been dealing with teenage bedrooms for the past few years, you’ll know that young people’s rooms don’t always smell as sweet as you might like. A student bedroom serves a lot of purposes; often it’s a main studying area, a place where snacks are consumed and a chill out space to be with friends, all of which can make it smell less than fresh. Organising some nice smells for their new space can help them keep it fit for guests to visit and create a cosy atmosphere for their first “home from home”.
Lots of studies show that living with plants is great for wellbeing, and there’s no doubt that a room with plants in feels more homely and a little more “put together”. Choosing scented plants can also help keep a room smelling fresh. Rosemary is a great choice for a hardy plant that smells great and can even be used in cooking, just don’t put it near the radiator.
A lot of student residences have a ban on candles, so check before buying any and look at no-heat diffuser options. If candles are allowed, choose eco-friendly soy wax - it has a cleaner burn and washes off most surfaces with just hot water and soap. Our range of soy wax candles come in ceramic pots that can be easily washed up afterwards and used as a desk tidy or toothbrush mug.
5. Throw in a tray
Student residences vary, but there’s rarely much storage and most students end up keeping their stuff in their rooms. When kitchens and bathrooms are shared, there’s no guarantee that others will look after your child's stuff!
At the start, whilst boundaries are being negotiated, it can be useful for your young person to have a tray or box for toiletries that travels with them to and from the bathroom, and another for a set of kitchen essentials so that they know there is always at least one clean plate and fork available.
Love Claire and the So Close team x