September 19, 2014, by International students

The top 5 places to buy everyday student essentials

bedroomIf there are no pillows and duvet when you are sleepy, no cutlery when you are hungry, and no desk lamp when you study, it’s easy to feel at a loss.

It took a week for my flat to be fully equipped. However, some items did not last long; for example, I used my first desk lamp only for several weeks. Don’t forget you get what you pay for. As a student, we cannot buy everything we need from John Lewis. We should think about budget. However, we can’t give up the quality of items at the same time. Over time, what I figured was each shop has its own strength in specific items. Here, I give you 5 special shops which can help you settle down quickly and easily.

1. Primark


Primark is not only a place where you buy your clothes and shoes. They have really nice stuff for your bedroom. You can get bed sheets, pillows, duvets and duvet covers at cheap prices. One thing you must get from Primark is hangers for clothes. I don’t mean you should buy them. I bought hangers from there, but they were not strong enough for winter coats. When you buy clothes in Primark, they usually give you hangers with clothes. Those hangers are really strong. So, if you plan to buy clothes from there, don’t buy hangers. Just get them for free.

2. Wilkinson

Among so many great items in Wilkinson (also known as ‘Wilko’), the best things are kitchen appliances. You can get decent cups, cutlery sets, cereal bowls, dishes, pots, pans and toasters at reasonable prices. One thing you should keep in mind is that you should avoid buying multipiece cookware sets. Even though they include many pots and pans at a cheap price, in my experience they do not last long. Plus, I really recommend you must get a desk lamp from Wilkinson. I got one for £6, and the quality is great!

3. Poundland

As its name says, Poundland has many cheap items. Even though some of them do not last long, they have really good deal for bathroom stuff: shampoo, body wash gel, toothpaste, and so on. You might get some stuff for your new flat-warming party such as plastic cups, forks, and napkins as well.

4. Charity or second-hand shops

The UK has a huge number of charity shops where you can buy second-hand goods very cheaply while supporting a great charity, including children’s charity Barnardo’s, Cancer Research UK and The Salvation ArmyOxfam, who aim to to help alleviate poverty and suffering worldwide, even have a specialist books and music store on Market Street where you can try and hunt down the books you need for your course for a fraction of the price.

5. Gumtree

Checking Gumtree is also another option to help you settle down. However, most stuff is heavy appliances such as fridges and tumble dryers, so this website is more useful to students who rent a flat privately rather than living in student accommodation.

Once you set up almost everything for your new flat, it’s time for food shopping! There are Lidl and Tesco near University Park and Jubilee Campuses. Generally, items in Lidl are cheaper than them in Tesco. However, Tesco has many varieties of international food. So, if you can’t find something you need in Lidl, you should check Tesco.

Finally, you can enjoy your Nottingham life 🙂

Kuemju Byeon, international student from South Korea studying MSc Work and Organisational Psychology at The University of Nottingham.

Posted in AccommodationNottingham city