I recently became a professional at moving out. All college freshmen are. Moving your whole world into half of a 15x12 foot room gives you some insight, some that I’d like to share with you.
Take some time to plan. June is still too early in the summer to start actual packing, but the planning will make subsequent steps that much easier. Will you be driving or flying to school? How often will you come home? What will be provided to you at school? Ask yourself these questions to determine what kind of packing materials you’ll need, the cost of shipping or storing materials, the amount and type of clothes you’ll need to pack, and what basic necessities to bring. Flying requires special packing materials and extra cost to ship. If your school is in a region where the seasons change drastically but you’ll be going home on the weekends, you won’t need to bring your winter clothes to school right away. Some schools will provide you with shelving, towel racks, and trashcans, but some will not and you’ll need to bring your own.
Purge like crazy. Do not let any keepsake, item of clothing, or piece of furniture go without scrutiny. Do you really need the dried up corsage from your senior prom with you in college? Are you sure you’ll find the perfect occasion for that Spice Girls tank top? Do you need two framed autographs from minor league baseball players? Take some pointers from the vintage TLC show Clean Sweep and make a pile for keeping, donating, and throwing, plus one pile for things to keep, but not to bring to college. The keep pile is for basic necessities and a few keepsakes and memories that will keep you sane at school. You’ll want to be very selective. Anything that would make the cut for the keep pile but that you can’t see yourself having room for in your dorm room should be in the keep at home pile. The donation pile is for gently used items that will benefit someone else. Alternatively, though donation is always the best option, you could sell some of these items to make a little more money before going away. Try to make this pile and the trash pile bigger than the keep piles.
Now that you’ve purged, it’s time to get more stuff. Stock up on essentials like microwaveable plates and bowls, Twin XL bedding, and clothes for theme parties (I suggest starting with USA, Hawaiian, jersey, and pajama themes). Beware of packing lists on Pinterest, as they are consistently overdone. Do not buy anything that you don’t use in your life at home. For example, do not buy a sewing kit if you do not know how to sew. Do not buy an iron if you do not iron your clothes now. If you do need these things at some point, you will be able to find a friend who has them. Buying them for yourself will waste money and space. Do use Pinterest, though, for packing tips. Follow tips like packing clothes in compressible bags like duffel or trash bags, and wrapping breakable items in clothes instead of buying bubble wrap. Get creative because the inside of a minivan is never as big as it looks.
Use this timeline to keep yourself on track for moving out this summer and good luck compressing an entire life into half of a dorm room, seniors.