March is finally upon us, and that means the worst of winter is almost done. While it may not feel like it now, that also means the end of the school year is fast approaching. For many students, this means that on top of writing essays, studying for exams, attending the requisite year-end parties and trying to find a summer job, you also need to move. Many student leases end on April 30, and if you’re like most students, that means you’ll leave all of your packing until April 29. Many of us have been there—the night before you have to be out of your student house, cramming all of your stuff into garbage bags at 3 a.m., sobbing silently to yourself and swearing you’re going to be more organized next time.
Except, of course, you never are, and the next year comes around and you find yourself repeating the cycle, panicking as you try to get everything you own sorted into some semblance of order so you can move out on time.
Wouldn’t it be nice if it was different this year? If moving day arrived with an air of calm and organization, with all of your belongings neatly sorted into labelled boxes? If you didn’t end up moving seven bags full of garbage and clothes you no longer wear, simply because you never got around to sorting through what you wanted to keep, and what you wanted to get rid of?
The key to making this fantasy a reality is to break it down into small steps, and then break those steps down even further. The main thing you need to do is purge, and the easiest way to do that is to tackle one part of your room at a time. By tackling one small area at a time, you can break up the work over a few days, or even a few weeks (if you start now).
Let’s say you want to start with your closet. You’ll want to have four clearly defined piles set up: one for things you want to keep, one for things you want to donate, one for things you want to sell and one for things that need to be thrown away (this pile can really just be a garbage bag). If you really want to take the organization a step further, you can sort your ‘keep pile’ into two sub-piles: one for things you’ll still need to use before moving day, and one for things that can be packed now (things like out of season clothes, textbooks from last semester, etc). Take everything out of your closet, and start sorting. Be ruthless; the more you decide to get rid of, the less you have to move.
Once you’ve sorted the full contents of your closet, put everything you’re donating into a box or bag and take it out of your room. Do the same with everything you want to sell, and then the same with your garbage pile. Then all you have left is your keep pile. Assuming you sub-divided your keep pile, you can now put all of your stuff that you won’t need before moving day into moving boxes, which you should then label and put aside. The remaining items can be neatly returned to your closet. You can then repeat the same process (either on the same day, if you’re feeling ambitious, or in small chunks over the next few weeks) with the rest of your room—your desk, under your bed, etc, as well as the bathroom, where you presumably have quite a lot of stuff as well.
Once you’ve tackled your whole room, you can take your donation bags to your nearest charity shop, post an ad on kijiji for the contents of your sell pile, and put your garbage aside until the next curb side collection. Done and done.
If you have lots of stuff spread out in the rest of the house (kitchen tools, plates and utensils, etc), now is also the time to start rounding up stuff you won’t use before you move. You don’t want to wait until moving day to find out that half of your plates are sitting under your roommate’s bed covered in mould, so start tracking down your stuff now.
By getting organized now and purging the stuff you no longer need, you’ll significantly reduce your stress levels when moving day arrives, even if you do leave the rest of the packing until the night before!