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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.

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