How bittersweet this time of year is – summer is approaching, meaning no more classes or exams or deadlines, but you have to say goodbye to your friends, professors, clubs and parties. Although this can be a fun time to get distracted and get ready for the warm weather and summer fun again, it’s also a time to make sure you’re prepared to be on time for your flight or ride when moving out of your dorm or apartment.
Between finals, nice weather and saying goodbye to friends, it can be difficult to get everything packed in an organized and timely manner. However, it helps to do a little bit over time, so the whole task never seems too overwhelming. What do you need to do before you leave? Where should you begin? Check out this list!
- Figure out where your stuff is going ASAP.
If you live near school, it’s probably all going with you back home. Get some boxes or bags to start packing things away early – nothing is worse than a parent who’s just spent x thousands of dollars to send you to college to better yourself to arrive and find you are still a helpless child who can’t even pack up his or her tiny dorm room. The shame! If you’re from somewhere far from campus, call around to different storage places in and around campus to get the best rates. Got friends who live off campus with a sweet basement? See if you can stash your stuff there for summer, crazy basement party throwing permitting (you don’t want your TV stolen during some frat rager if you’re leaving your things in their basement). There are many options – look out for flyers on campus. The sooner you choose a spot to keep your stuff, the sooner you can get the approved boxes to start packing things up.
- Start packing your clothes early.
Honestly, how many outfits are you really going to wear while spending your last two weeks camped out at the school library cramming for finals? If you’re anything like the typical college student, you’ll be parked in a remote corner of the library in the same sweatsuit for the majority of the rest of the semester. So pack away your winter gear first, that you definitely won’t touch in two weeks. Then move on to everything else. Things of note to keep out: make sure to keep some sweatshirts or a fleece for cooler nights, some rain gear or waterproof shoes in case April showers rain on your parade, a few going out clothes in case you get the opportunity to be social before the semester ends, and some clothes for class. A couple weeks goes by quickly, and when you’d rather be celebrating the end of finals instead of packing up your whole room, you’ll be glad you started putting things into boxes/bags/storage early.
- Set aside items to donate.
Starting to pack early will give you plenty of time to go through the things you don’t need any longer. Last semester’s fashion or gym sneaks may have seen better days, and it may be time to throw some things out or, better yet, donate them. Many campuses arrange for “donation drop offs” where you can bring the stuff you don’t want to be donated, or a “take it or leave it” section, where you can grab all the stuff the seniors are leaving behind, and leave behind your old stuff for someone else to cherish. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so if you don’t want it or need it and it’s in good condition, donate it!
- Eat your food. Use your meal points.
Make the most of what you’ve got – start eating the snacks sitting around your room and swap that late night pizza order for a trip to the dining hall. You’ll use up your meal plan and save a couple bucks during stressful finals time. Make sure to throw out any food, drinks, trash, etc. that you don’t plan on bringing home with you. Ants and rats are no fun, especially if residence life fines you for bringing them around.
- As the semester comes to a close, start selling back your books and sorting through your school work.
Books are heavy. Don’t bring them all home with you. Hit the campus bookstore and sell them back, make your returns to the book renter, or find a student to buy yours as soon as finals end so you aren’t stuck with tons of pounds to carry down flights of stairs on move-out day. They’ll only be worth less come next semester, so sort through the work you’ve done this year, and decide if it is worth saving and bringing back home. Do you really need your notes from your elective classes? Save any papers you’re especially proud of, or that may help you in the future (like the essay that may become the cornerstone for your thesis). Better yet, save the digital files to an external hard drive and save on space (just don’t lose it!).
- Survey your (mostly) empty room for damage.
If you cause damage to your dorm or your apartment, residence life or your landlord will hold you accountable, and you’ll have to pay up. Hopefully, you have renters insurance in case any big charges come up, but for smaller damages there are some quick fixes. If you’ve made marks or holes in the walls from posters, pictures, etc., cover them up using spatter. If the hole is smaller than ¼ inch, simply squeeze some toothpaste in the hole, then use a playing card to scrap off the excess.
- Save time to clean.
Yeah, it’s a little annoying, but saving time to clean up your space after you leave it will also save you the dollars the university or your landlord may charge you for not vacuuming or leaving trash behind.
- Hold on to a memento of this year.
If you’re anything like most students, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of junk since the fall. Campus freebies are hard to resist! Whether its a new t-shirt or a trinket that reminds you of a great time this year, hold on to a little something to remember year by!
Preparation is key to a quick, easy move. Best of luck with finals, and getting your things packed!
This article was previously published in April 2012 and has since been updated.