Today was my last day of Spring semester! Can you believe it? I sure can’t. Now that official classes are over, that means that I need to start thinking about final exams and… packing. Someone once told me you should try to pack before finals, and while I think this is a great idea in theory, I prefer to wait until DURING finals to pack. Packing during finals gives me something to do as a study break, and it also keeps me calm because I’m pretty sure if I was almost completely packed before my finals started I would feel like I had no time left to study, and I would mentally move past the semester. So, I thought I would share some tips I’ve discovered over the last two years about packing to move out. Moving out is much different than moving in because you’re mentally drained, physically exhausted, and ready for summer. Moving in is when you’re excited and well rested, but by the time May rolls around you’re ready to just through all your belongings either in your trunk or the trash.
1. Take inventory. It is highly important to know exactly how much stuff you have, and it’s equally as important to know all the things that you have. Over the course of the academic year, you’re going to acquire SO much stuff, whether it’s free stuff from collegiate events, new items from shopping trips, stuff your parents brought your, gifts, etc. The first step to having a successful packing experience is knowing what you have so you can make a list of everything that needs to be packed.
2. Separate into three categories. Once you know everything you have, you should separate everything into three categories so you can see what needs to be packed with what. So, the first category is what you’ll need over the summer. This will likely include clothing, contacts or glasses, hair products, etc. The second category is stuff you won’t be using again until the fall. When considering this, consider what you have at home. Last summer I thought I would need a bunch of stuff and decided to take it with me, but halfway through summer I realized I didn’t need it because I had one at home that I used. There are numerous things I use everyday at school, but only because I’m not at home. The third category is stuff you won’t use again. This may include an old agenda, a fan, clothing, etc. Consider selling this stuff to a friend or throwing it away (namely old agendas and such).
3. Go through textbooks, papers, binders, and all schoolwork. There may be textbooks that you will never open again or had such a bad experience with that you never want to see it once the semester ends (that would geology for me). Think about selling these books back either to your campus bookstore or amazon.com or Chegg. This will cut down what you have to pack! Also, go through all school work and if pick out anything you want to keep (like a huge project or a paper you got a great grade on). Whatever you don’t want to keep throw in the recycling! Also, if your binders are in rough shape, think about throwing them away while you’re still at school so you don’t have to worry about packing them. Make sure that you’re keeping all important study material, though. DO NOT do this step until you’ve already taken the final.
4. Look into a storage unit. I live just far enough from campus that using a storage unit near campus is ideal. I hate having to take my mini fridge, storage mechanisms, microwave, and stuff that I won’t use until fall all the way home. My friend and I split a storage unit every summer because we both like to store stuff, and it makes it easier to keep your room de-cluttered while you’re at home. A lot of storage places near college campuses will offer a student discount, so look into that possibility!
5. Use Space Bags. Using Space Bags saves SO much room when trying to pack clothing, bedding, and towels. My clothing usually takes up the most room because I, well, have a bit of a clothing addiction. Space bags, however, make everything much more manageable when packing.
6. Use plastic tubs or medium boxes to pack decorations. I typically use plastic tubs when packing my room because they are a little easier. They hold up better, they’re durable, and it’s easier to see what is packed in it so you know where to put it when you get home. Medium boxes are a great alternative if you prefer them, but I usually go with tubs.
7. Use furniture as a packing method. Did you buy under-bed storage in August? How about a book case? Well, wrap your mugs in newspaper, or books you’re going to need in the fall, and pack them in the furniture you’re already taking home. This will cut down the amount of boxes or tubs you’ll need, and get everything home safely.
8. Collect all items that are scrapbook worthy in a common place. Since I typically try to make a scrapbook of my school year, I pack all the items I want to include in my scrapbook in the same place so I don’t have to rummage through a ton of things to find them when it comes time to make my scrapbook.
9. Unplug fridge and microwave. You’re going to want to clean you mini-fridge out (and let it defrost), and you’ll want to wipe out your microwave before you move home. Unless you’re moving into an apartment, there is a slim chance either of these items will be used over the summer, so make sure they are clean while you store them. There’s nothing like opening your fridge in August and finding something rotted… That’d be gross on multiple levels.
10. Plan for Travel. This is probably one of the biggest tips I can offer you… be aware of travel conditions. Driving a long way? Have a tiny car? Are you using a truck? Are you flying? These are all questions to consider. Travel experience can change the best way to pack and what should be taken home. I have roughly a three hour car ride, but I must keep in mind how much I can actually fit into my car, how much space I have, any weird nooks, etc. Make sure you’re aware of how much space you actually have in your car (consider any people who will be taking up room), and also make sure you know how much weight your car can hold. Take into account wrapping all breakable items and where they should be put in your car!
How do you pack to move home?
Happy finals week to those still preparing for exams, and happy packing!