As students are moving home in response to COVID-19, we thought it might be a good idea to share some packing tips with you. I am a notoriously good packer, so I’ll share some personal tips as well as some from online resources. Organizing helps me feel like I have some control over my life in these nutzo times. Hopefully these tips will help you feel a little more in control, too. Even after we make it through the current global pandemic, these tips will always be helpful for packing and moving.
First things first. I like to start packing a week before I leave my residence hall. Choose exactly which items you’ll use, which clothes you wear, and which hygiene products you’ll need for the week before you move out. Put those together in a place where they won’t get mixed with your other belongings. The rest of your things are then ready to be packed up! If you ever find something and think, “Oh, I definitely won’t ever be using this,” think about throwing it away. Decluttering makes moving way less stressful.
Once you’ve started:
- Unconventional things like wicker baskets and laundry hampers can be a super effective alternative to cardboard boxes. If you need to take it with you, why not use it as packing material?
- Wrap any valuables/breakables with your soft, comfy clothes. This includes glasses, plates, bowls… you name it. Socks and underwear are SUPER useful for stuffing into things like glasses so they’re less likely to break. This saves you from buying packing material, AND you have fewer clothes to pack!
- For larger items that you’d rather not have bump together, wrap them in your bath and cleaning towels. If you run out of those, use sheets and blankets!
- Things like baking sheets and cutting boards can seem bulky and hard to pack. They can actually help provide extra structure to your suitcase if you need to over-stuff it. Put socks, underwear, gloves, scarves, or anything small at the bottom of your suitcase until it’s a relatively flat surface. Then, lay your baking sheets/cutting boards on top, and pack your clothes and other belongings on top of that.
- If you still have clothes after all of this, roll them tightly. This especially applies to T-shirts and cloth bottoms; jeans usually pack better when folded. Rolling your clothes helps them take up less space and it stops them from wrinkling.
- Use a large box for your shoes, not a suitcase. Using a suitcase wastes lots of space and your shoes will be just fine if they’re packed in a box. Pack them like they’re in a shoe box so the bottoms of your shoes don’t scuff anything.
- Use rubber bands or hair ties to keep your cords untangled. These can take up a surprising amount of space, and it’s much easier to deal with them if they’re tightly wound.
- Think about how you’ll put everything in your car before you start stuffing things in. Large things should go in first!! Pillows, blankets, and even extra clothing items can be stuffed into small spaces, unlike boxes, so they should go in last.
- Put a change of clothes, your computer, phone charger, daily hygiene essentials, and some snacks in a backpack to keep in your front passenger seat. You probably won’t want to load and unload your car on the same day, plus you need things like snacks to be easily accessible while you drive. If you use this tip, you’ll be less stressed about unpacking your car right when you get to your destination.
- Put important documents like tax returns, passports, birth certificates, etc. together in a folder. I’d suggest putting this in the backpack mentioned above. If you’re flying somewhere and your luggage gets lost, you’ll have your most important documents with you.