I used to distinguish a single junk drawer as the keeper of the miscellaneous debris littering my room. I would shove the things I didn’t have the heart to throw away (old notecards, dried-out pens, forgotten nail polish) deep into the bowels of this drawer with the understanding I would never have to think of them again. Then, somewhere around my fifth consecutive week of non-stop papers and tests, every drawer I owned became a junk drawer.
This realization makes the task of packing for the summer seem daunting. What happened to my perfectly organized closet? And where did all of these mugs come from? It’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate living 10 months of your life in a space, and what a headache it becomes trying to move it all.
But with a bit of organization, some time-saving hacks and a positive attitude, packing can be a breeze. Or so I imagine they would say on a motivational poster. We can lose the positive attitude part because this is a realistic article. Just try your best. There’s no need to be positive about it.
The key is to start early. Take home a little bit at a time. If you know you’re going home between now and your move out date, then take a load of winter clothes with you. When it comes to bulky items or furniture, it can be beneficial to move them a week or two before you officially move out.
Next, move on to getting rid of the non-essentials. This is the junk drawer cleaning phase. Some are bold enough to blindly toss everything straight into the trash. All the power to you, you’re living that minimalist life.
I, on the other hand, am part of the camp that has been brainwashed by corporate America to have a severe attachment to stuff. I go through, drawer by drawer, spreading everything on the floor and separating it into piles of stuff I want to keep, stuff I want to give away, and stuff I need to trash.
This phase can be overwhelming if left to the last minute. But it becomes much less of a chore if you do a little bit every week leading up to summer vacation. Give yourself small and realistic goals to accomplish. Then by the time finals roll around the hard part will be out of the way and everything will be ready to pack.
Don’t be afraid to throw out what can be replaced. I never want to see my shower shoes again. But try to keep what can be salvaged. I have too many T-shirts that I can donate.
Everyone has their own packing style. I like to label and organize my boxes because I am a control freak. Some people are more, go with the flow, toss everything in a trash bag, no need to fold, types.
I once watched my sister move out of her apartment by throwing everything she owned loosely into her car and calling it a day. It can be done. But unpacking that car was no easy feat. String lights tangle easily with hangers and frying pans. I recommend that method only to those whose mind and body have been ravaged by finals so completely; they can manage nothing better.
The bottom line is, we all want to get out of here as quickly and seamlessly as possible. So why not do all you can now to make your life better later? Then in three months, you can start packing all over again. What a fun cycle.