Wow! I can’t believe that graduation is just around the corner! After 5 years in college, you would think I would be over the moon with happiness and I am, kind of. The only thing that is really worrying me is moving.
If you’re like me, you are attached to your stuff. You have a sweater from your aunt that’s hideous but you can’t seem to give it up. You keep all those clothes you never wear in the back of your closet “just in case.” You have a box of cards people have given you every birthday and holiday since you were 5.
Trust me, I get it.
The ability to hold onto things because of their sentimental value is priceless. But you have to move in a couple weeks and you don’t know how to take all of it with you.
I have moved almost 20 times in my 23 years of life, so I feel pretty confident in my packing abilities. Luckily, they have gotten better over the years so now I can help YOU become a Packing Master too!
Packing can be exciting even though it’s time and energy consuming. But before you can pack, the first thing you have to do is:
CLEAN YOUR SPACE
No one can sort or organize under a pile of unwashed clothes, old pizza boxes, and that smell you’ve been trying to find the last several weeks.
- Clean your clothes and fold them or hang them up neatly so that you can see everything and can easily give them away/sell them without having to wash everything later.
- Throw away trash and extra bits of paper lying around. Clutter is the last thing you need in your way as you sort through your belongings.
- Clear the floor and vacuum/sweep it. You don’t want anything you put on the floor to get dirty all over again and you need a nice space to move things around without tripping on anything and hurting yourself.
- This would be a great time to vacuum your upholstered furniture too. No one wants your old crumbs in their house.
ORGANIZE YOUR PACKING PLAN
Now, the fun part begins. Now that you’ve cleared and cleaned your space, it’s time to start going through your things.
- Divide your things into sections (i.e. kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, etc.) and start doing one at a time.
- Once you have established your major categories, divide those sections into sections (dishes vs. cooking utensils, books vs. knick-knacks, clothes in closet vs. clothes in drawers, etc.)
- Once you have your sections and subsections, go through each of your subsections. (Be sure to take breaks often and remember to eat and hydrate yourself as you can get caught up in the excitement or mundaneness of it all.)
KNOW WHAT TO KEEP AND WHAT TO LET GO
The key to knowing what to hang on to and what to let go depends on what you feel about it. This is where the LOVE, MAYBE, and GIVEAWAY/SELL piles come from.
- I start sorting by grabbing everything I want to keep first. (I call this my LOVE pile.) Then I sort through what is left of the MAYBE pile and the GIVEAWAY/SELL pile. Prioritize what you want to keep before you deal with everything you hold on to just because.
- You must do this for every subsection until your GIVEAWAY/SELL pile consists of everything you want to get rid of. And if you need to giveaway more, do it again: choose what you absolutely want to keep—hands down—first. The MAYBE pile can technically be given away too, but this includes stuff that you like but don’t like as much as your LOVE pile but not enough to want to toss into the GIVEAWAY/SELL pile.
- Your GIVEAWAY/SELL pile should then be sorted and dealt with before you pack. (It’s easier to pack everything up when this is out of the way and you still have room left in your car.)
- Give the GIVEAWAY pile to The Salvation Army or Goodwill, or to friends if they want stuff.
- And you can put your SELL stuff on Facebook groups like App State Classifieds or Craigslist or any other selling app/thing out there. Always remember to meet in a public place during the day to make exchanges! (Better safe than sorry.)
PACKING IT ALL UP IN BOXES
Phew! Now you can start packing!
- Boxes can be expensive but if you can find any in the recycling or behind restaurants or grocery markets (if they aren’t completely nasty) work perfectly well, too—so do plastic bins from Walmart but only invest in those if you have space. (FYI, sometimes smaller boxes are easier to fit in trunks and tight spaces better than huge containers.)
- Always put things that are shaped the same together. Like books (though you definitely want to put these is smaller boxes or else they get too heavy to lift).
- ALWAYS REMEMBER TO LABEL YOUR BOXES WITH A SHARPIE! Otherwise, you’ll have no idea where anything is.
- Invest in good packing tape. Then you won’t have to tape it down 5 million times for it to stay shut.
- Carefully, wrap breakables in bubble wrap, old newspapers or old clothes to keep them from breaking. Then pack extra paper in the leftover spaces to keep things from shifting around and breaking.
PACKING IT ALL INTO YOUR CAR/VAN/TRUCK/U-HAUL
Now for the tricky part.
- If you have furniture, put your favorite pieces in first, along with some boxes to fill up the spaces in between table legs.
- Squishy things like blankets, pillows, clothes, etc. can be stuffed into tight spaces around the boxes. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
- The heaviest box goes on the BOTTOM and not at the top, otherwise, it’ll crush everything below it.
- Remember, gravity is a thing. So is realistically expecting boxes to shift during transport. You don’t want to open the van doors and get knocked in the face with something weighing 50 pounds.
- ALWAYS LIFT HEAVY BOXES WITH YOUR LEGS, NOT YOUR BACK. Or you’ll pull something or throw it out and then, no more moving for a while. Yes, even when you’re in college. You are never too old to hurt your back. Trust me on this one.
- Always put the stuff you want to keep, furniture too, in the car/truck/van/U-HAUL first so that you know that at least those things fit. whatever doesn’t fit you may have to leave behind or ship so make sure those last things are stuff you can live without.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST
Be safe, have fun, focus on the excitement, and don’t forget to check and then double-check all shelves, cabinets, nooks and crannies, and outdoor spaces before you leave.
Also, clean the place too. No one wants to have to clean up after you when they’re trying to move in. Be courteous and have the space ready for the next people to enjoy.