Kirsty McLuckie: how to send student offspring packing
There is plenty of advice available on what to pack to take to halls but, having gone through it three times in the last five years, mine would be to keep things as simple as possible.
Child number two (Stirling) arrived to find that every one of his four flatmates had brought almost identical coffee makers, sets of pans and sandwich toasters – all of which spent the first year stuffed under their beds, as their kitchen was well-equipped already.
The point is that minimalism is the key, and once they’ve packed up clothes, toiletries, laptops, and posters – vital to announce to your new friends just the sort of person you really are – there is little that isn’t readily available if needed.
This is easily evidenced by visiting charity shops around universities, which will be rich with the cast-off pickings of former students.
Cooking utensils can be bought as needed. In my experience, most young folk will be living off jazzed-up ramen for at least the first few weeks, and will be unlikely to require a specialist vegetable paring knife.
And while a clothes drying rack might be useful, carting an ironing board cross-country will not make it any more likely to be used.
In terms of paperwork, young folk should register to vote at their new address – important for their credit rating, even if they don’t intend to exercise their democratic right.
A TV license would be a good investment too. Even if they are just watching BBC programmes on their laptop, it is still necessary.
If in a private rented flat, student tenants should register for exemption from council tax the moment they move in.
If their departure leaves a one-person household at home, it is to be remembered that registering this with your local authority will provide a discount in council tax there too.
Seeing the offspring start uni is also a time when parents might start to think about repurposing kids’ rooms at home.
And while the luxury of a designer gym or a designated cinema room may give some comfort to those bereft of their children’s company, for empty-nesters thinking of taking the next step and downsizing, it might not be wise, financially.
Plus, come Christmas, the kids will be back, and you’ll need somewhere to put the four months’ worth of dirty laundry that will come with them.
- Kirsty McLuckie is property editor at The Scotsman