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Moving Out: Packing tips from a seasoned student

Moving out of campus housing for the year is not my favorite. I somehow have to find a way to balance final exams and projects with packing–but I always end up finding that way.

Now that I’m currently in the process of moving out of McDaniel for the third time, I feel that I’ve accumulated some packing tips that are worth sharing.

Start Packing Early. At the very least start gathering some stuff together in the couple of weeks before the semester ends. If you have exams later in the week, you don’t want to wait until after they’ve ended before you start packing. Otherwise, you’ll quickly lose whatever energy you have left after all the all-nighters you’ve just pulled and your parents won’t be too happy when they show up and they have to help you put stuff into boxes, bags, and suitcases–when they really wanted those things to be packed so they could load them into the car.

If you can, send stuff home over spring break. Those books and notes you used last semester but haven’t been referencing this semester? Send ‘em home. (Or sell them back, if you’re not a book hoarder like me.) Because Maryland weather is so unpredictable, it can be hard to figure out which clothes to send back home, but you’ll definitely be able to pare down some winter items to the ones you like the best–in case it does end up snowing in April and you need the warmth. If possible, Easter Weekend is also a nice time to send excess stuff home, if you choose to go home for the holiday.

Leave behind stuff you don’t want. McDaniel has a free stuff shelf by the post office, where throughout the year, students, faculty, and staff can place unwanted items such as books, magazines, and clothing for others to take. You never know what you’ll find at the free stuff shelf–I myself have picked up some cool books in the past. But if you have items you no longer want or use, there’s no point in shlepping them home when the free stuff shelf is at your service.

Pack books in small boxes. I already mentioned that I’m a book hoarder. This is an indisputable truth and one I’m not ashamed of. When it comes to packing books, they’re best packed in smaller boxes. Books tend to be heavy, so you don’t want to cram all that heaviness into a large box–unless you want the person responsible for carrying the box down four flights of stairs and across the parking lot to the car to have a sore back.

But where do I find boxes? you might ask. I got rid of all my boxes when I moved in! Fear not. Boxes are not in short supply around campus. You just have to know how to find them. Seek out and ask around for boxes by checking your dorm’s trash room to see if anyone has left a box that you could use for packing or by asking your friends on Facebook if they have any extra boxes. I try to start collecting the boxes I need a few weeks before the semester ends, though I’m usually still trying to find boxes by finals week.

Reusable grocery bags are great, especially for packing heavier or oddly shaped items. While using them can mean more trips back and forth to the car, they are small and not rigid in shape, which will make it easier for them to fit in your car.

Hopefully, some of these tips can be useful to you when you move out. I’d say that a lot of them are useful for moving in too! Whatever you do, when it comes to packing, don’t put things off and try to make the packing process as stress-free as possible.

1 comment to Moving Out: Packing tips from a seasoned student

  • Christian Reese

    Collect as many boxes as you can. When you’re a student you don’t have that many items, but it’s still better to have as many boxes as possible. Otherwise you may run out of boxes in the middle of your packing process and you’d have to go find more. That will only consume more of your precious time and sometime time is not on your side.

    You’re absolutely right about the books. They should be packed in small boxes because of the reason you mentioned. There is also another reason. The box you’re put your books in might not be strong enough and might tare somewhere along the way. I’ve been through this experience and trust me, you don’t want that.

    I recently moved house in London and hired a man with a van. I had packed all my stuff and the mover just helped me with the loading and transportation. I’m mentioning this because he gave me a very packing good tip. He told me to always use plenty of bubble wrap and packing paper as padding when packing. This goes especially when you pack dishes. Oh and you should always pack dishes sideways instead of on top of each other.

    Anyway, that’s all I can add.

    Take care.

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