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Move Out Madness: Packing Tips and Tricks for Spring Semester

One of the most stressful parts of the end of the spring semester –– aside from the countless exams, papers, projects, and goodbyes (is anyone else freaking out?) –– is the crazy commotion of moving out of apartments and dorm rooms. I sat down recently to discover that I have two eight-page papers, one six-page paper, two final exams, a final oral presentation, and moving out of my apartment into a different one all within the last week of school. Cue the mental breakdown!

While I’m so fortunate to be getting a great education and to be moving into a new place, it’s difficult to juggle all of it at once, especially in the middle of a pandemic. I remember scrambling to get my freshman dorm room packed up in the middle of my finals a few years ago knowing that everything had to be packed perfectly before I journeyed back home to Texas. 

There are a lot of logistics involved in packing up and moving out: what should stay and what should go, which items can be stored in summer storage, what items you absolutely need with you when you travel… the list goes on and on, and when it’s combined with the pressure of final exams, it can get overwhelming fast. 

In preparation for the next few weeks, I’ve compiled a list of packing tips and tricks to help make things more manageable.

Begin the packing process ahead of time

This rule is applicable to everyone, but it’s especially essential for those moving from one apartment to another. Apartments tend to accumulate even more stuff than dorm rooms, and with the added addition of personal furniture, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of belongings. Start packing non-essentials a few weeks before your move, and store them away in a closet ready to go. I did this with all of my winter clothes now that the warmer weather is here. They’re all packed up in boxes and ready to go, which will help decrease the number of things I have to pack when moving day rolls around.

Reduce, reuse, and recycle!

I’ve been saving boxes from any and every online order for the past few months. Moving is a huge contributor to single-use waste because of the amount of tape, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and cardboard boxes used. When you can, use substitutions for some of these single-use items: wrap fragile items in clothing instead of bubble wrap, reuse boxes (bonus points if you place items in large storage bins that you’ll keep for years), and recycle as many packing tools as you can. Mother Nature will thank you.

Make use of a storage service for the summer

This is a must for those who attend school far away from home and don’t want to spend money checking bags at the airport. Boston University offers a student storage system through UPS for those who live in on-campus housing, although it has received its fair share of criticism in recent years. That being said, it’s incredibly convenient because of its multiple locations on campus come move-out time. For those who don’t want to utilize this service, there are a lot of great options in Boston. One of my favorite storage companies is Cubiq, because they provide you with bins for storage and are incredibly organized.

Bring out the label maker and sharpies

There’s nothing worse than not knowing what is where when moving –– you don’t want to wake up for the first time in your new place and not know where your toothbrush is. It’s important to label each and every box so that you can grab things easily. It also helps with the actual moving process, because you can label boxes based on rooms and then unpack straight away. Pro tip: pack an “essentials” suitcase or box, and label it so that you have everything you need for your first night.

Be COVID-conscious

This rule is by far the most important because the last thing you want is to be a spreader for COVID-19. If you’re working with a moving company, be sure to check what the company’s policies are for dealing with the pandemic, and make sure you’re comfortable with the plan in place. For those moving with the help of friends or family, utilize BU’s testing service to make sure everyone is COVID-negative before the process begins. Wear a mask, sanitize often, and try to have a small group of people to help you move. 

And there you have it! While the end of the semester can be very stressful, it can also be super fun. Summer break is just around the corner, so take these tips to heart and pack away the stress of the semester while you’re at it!

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Amille is a senior at Boston University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English. Her passions include travel, cooking, and creative writing; when she isn't testing new recipes and working on her first novel, she's spending time with pets and making memories with family.
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