Packing Tips and Tricks

I may or may not have just realized that my move-in date is only a little over a week away. It was as if the 2 weeks I had left were somehow eternal and I’d always have time to pack…eventually. Not really, apparently! 

So with a whole full day off (what’s that? free time?), I stoically opened the garage door this morning and began to sort through (read: stumble upon, trip on, want to cry over all of) the things I had from last year and the things I’ve collected over the summer. In the spirit of packing, I thought it would be appropriate to compile a little list of the tips and tricks I used to keep myself sane on this day.

  1. Get organized! Before you even start to think about the actual packing, organize yourself with a few lists and a game plan. Make a shopping list of things you still need, make a check list for each category of items you’re moving (for me, this was my bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen/living room stuff), and make a list of materials you’ll need for the packing endeavor itself. Once you’ve taken those inventories and made that initiative, make a game plan for packing. I personally went through the chaos of our garage with different colored post it notes (each category had a color) and then separated everything out by color. This made packing boxes much more efficient and helped me evaluate what I already had! Long story short: make packing (and life in general) easier for yourself and just get organized!
  2. Shop! Obviously, packing requires some special materials. I will always remember the moment I realized that I had forgotten to purchase packing tape when I started assembling boxes for move out. Remember that list you made for this shopping trip? Make sure it’s got all of the essentials: boxes (I use the medium ones from Home Depot, they’re cheap and sturdy!), packing tape, sharpies (for box labeling, and get those colored post-its while you’re at it), and newspaper/tissue. With everything you need to have already purchased, the day o’ packing goes a lot smoother! 
  3. Set aside time, then take your time! This is what, honestly, kept pushing back packing for me this summer. I cannot tell you the last time I had a day to dedicate to this! I took a look at my planner a day or so ago, saw that today was open, and set aside the whole day to packing. And then, I made sure I took my time with sorting, deliberating, necessary laundry, etc. Make sure you don’t rush yourself! Really. Let yourself be meticulous about wrapping things in newspaper, and taping “friends” together (remotes and TV’s in different boxes? Hello, nightmare), and, well, breathing. Do not allow yourself to get overwhelmed, because I think packing has a sadistic way of making us extra vulnerable. Some other things to keep in mind: when packing clothes, designate one box to things that you hang and keep them on their hangers. That way, when you are unpacking, you can just place them in a closet! And speaking of closets, you should really invest in one of those nifty additional closet rods. It will save your wardrobe’s life in one of those claustrophobic dorm closets! Also, I highly recommend getting an extra-large space bag for bulky bedding (think the duvet quilts and pillow inserts), just for traveling’s sake. I find it helpful to think of yourself unpacking while you’re packing, too. If you plan on keeping sweaters, t-shirts, and tanks folded in one drawer, then pack them together! Heck, pack everything for your dresser drawers in the same large box! See where I’m going here? Move in brings along more laid-back, super fun friends than you think (that sneaky git invites the knit-picky apartment condition report, the meticulously slow check in procedure, an extremely small place to work with, and very often other people who are trying to function, too), so try to plan ahead and make the process as easy as possible. With something like this, more work beforehand will definitely mean less (or at least less stressful) work afterwards. 
  4. Don’t “seal the deal” (with tape) until everything is good to go! If you’re an eager beaver like I am, then you’ll do something silly like taping shut your box of clothes two weeks before moving in (oh, freshman year jitters). Trust me, hold out until the night before packing the car. Odds are that you’ll end up repacking/reorganizing a few times, so until you’re positive about a box’s completion, don’t seal the deal. 
  5. Always remember that Target will still exist on move-in day (and even move-in week). I am in perpetual fear of forgetting something. My phone, my keys, my planner, and then it all reaches new heights when I start packing. What if I forget my PJ’s? Heaven forbid I leave my cook books behind! What will happen if that wall decor gets forgotten? First of all, calm down. This is why you’re setting time aside and taking your time, remember? If something happens to slip your mind and miss the layover to the packing list, don’t worry. There’s another connecting flight that item can take to get to your new place and it’s called Target. 
  6. Have a game plan for unpacking! It might feel like ages ago, but do you remember when you made a game plan for packing? Well, you should probably make a game plan for unpacking, too. It can be just as daunting, especially with its gang of friends. The best tip I can offer is to get your bed (this is if we’re talking dorm room!) taken care of first. Loft it, make it up, throw the bulky pillows on there. That way, you’ll have another place to put things, you can stash stuff under there, and if you make no other progress whatsoever, you’ll at least have a bed to sleep in that night. Honestly, though, the same rules apply. Take your time. Break it down. Stay open to the fact that you’ll most likely move things around eventually. Keep Target in the back of your mind. Everything will be alright.
  7. Exercise your common sense! This tip needs a story for explanation. Last year during move-in, my Dad and I managed to waste at least 10 command hooks. After getting extremely frustrated with each other, reading the directions out loud multiple times, and a few well chosen words, we asked one of my suitemates for help. It wasn’t until her fresh eyes pointed out our obvious error (we had actually been removing the strips after adhering them, thinking it was part of the process…whoops!) that we were able to step back, laugh, regroup, and move forward. Moving in, packing, the whole shebang, it’s stressful. Keep yourself in check: if you need a break, then take a break. If something isn’t coming together, ask for help or go back to it later. Just use your common sense!  

Happy packing, everyone! And good luck with the new school year!  Look forward to a new cookie recipe sometime next week 🙂


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