How-To Pack Up and Downsize for a College Move

A few years ago, you came to college with only what you could fit in the back end of Dad's truck.  Semester after semester, stuff began to pile up.  And now as you get ready to move out, you find yourself needing to downsize.  There are a lots of reasons why you might be needing to trim down your belongings.  Perhaps you landed a summer internship in a far off city and just can't take that much with you.  Maybe you're studying abroad.  Or maybe... like me, you're moving into a smaller apartment.

I could just about kick myself for ending up with so much stuff.  I start off with the minimal amount.  But then each time I go home for a visit, I end up bringing more stuff back to school.  I'm currently in the process of moving out of the house I've been renting a room in, and into a four-bedroom apartment.  Why?  Well, that's another blog post.  The fact of the matter is... is that I'm sitting here amid a mess.  My next bedroom is going to be bit smaller, and the entire living space will be in closer quarters. So here are some Do's and Don'ts about what to do when you're moving to smaller dwelling.

Don't procrastinate.  I've been planning this move for some time, but I procrastinated so much that I'm now probably pulling an all-nighter just to get everything packed up and ready to go.

Do be organized.  Trust me, I get the urge to just throw stuff into boxes without rhyme or reason.  But for the sake of your sanity, put method before madness.  Keep kitchen stuff with kitchen stuff.  Office supplies, notebooks, paper together.  Keep the remotes with the tv.

Don't be overly sentimental.  You're going to come across lots of things that make you pause and ponder bygone years and long ago memories.  Be selective with what you keep.  You don't want to move into your new place and be overwhelmed by sentimental souvenirs. 

Do remind yourself that this is a fresh start.  The less you start out with, the more new memories and "new you" you'll be able to incorporate into the new space.

Don't pack away things you'll need right away.  Keep a separate box or bag for items you know you'll need easy access to--toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, bath items, several changes of clothes, your glasses, etc.  

Do have a storage plan.  If you know you're going to have a box or two (or five!) of things that you really don't want to get rid of, figure out where they're going to go.  If Mom'n'Pops don't have room in the garage or attic, you might need to look into whether your apartment building offers additional storage (in the basement, perhaps) or even renting a storage shed.  

Don't take breaks while packing.  I told myself I was just going to hop on the computer to check Facebook and my email.  I ended up spending 30 minutes on Pinterest, 20 minutes checking out my must-read blogs, 15 minutes too many stalking Facebook, and now... I'm blogging.  A five minute break easily turns into an hour.  Just keep plucking away at it.

Do get rid of stuff.  Sell it.  Donate it.  Give it away.  Whatever you must do to lighten your load.

Don't watch a movie.  It sounds good in theory.  "Oh, I'll just have a movie playing in the background as I pack..."  Doesn't work.  I had the best of intentions.  But I ended up watching the entire 2nd season of 'Spartacus' before even lifting a finger to work.  Dang those good looking gladiators...

Do drink coffee.  It helps me focus at the task at hand.  For some of you, it might offer a nice caffeine rush to get you busy.

Don't give up!  Haha.  This is mostly a pep talk for myself.  I gotta get back to work.  I think the worst is behind me. ;)



Leah said...

Great advice..definitely timely, and so true! Hope moving goes well! :)

Dee said...

your blog is awesome!

Anonymous said...

i may not be downsizing cuz i'm off to college (ah the good ol' college days....okay, that was like 8 years ago, but it feels like an *enternity*) but i am moving flats so this is perfect since i have *cough* procrastinated like crazy. oops.

love the blog (and all the inspirational photos)

Megan said...

I just moved out of the sorority house I lived in for the past five semesters and had to fit everything in my car to drive it cross-country to my new job. Here are a few more tips in addition to your (wonderful) ones, dealing mostly with clothes:
- If you haven't worn it in a year, give it away. SERIOUSLY.
- Offer clothes to your roommate before giving them away. I offered all my sorority-letter clothes and some college-themed pieces to my pledge daughter before I left.
- Pack in smaller boxes. The big ones get WAY too heavy, especially if you're moving by yourself. It's more to carry, but each load will be easier!

Liesl said...

This post is so fantastic on so many levels and oh so helpful too! I'm in the process of starting to pack up my LA apt. and downsize to one back in NYC! I won't be leaving until May, but I know time will fly by, and I have accumulated so many things over the past 9 years, but was looking at it as a way to downsize and really only hold onto things I really want so that I can start fresh, building a new me as you stated, and have less stress going into it all. Your post is perfect, and I'm so glad I stumbled upon it! Thank you! Lovely blog too!

Liesl :)