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Moving to College Firsthand Experiences -- Finding the Right Packing System

Editor's Note: Relocation.com wanted to learn more about the experience of college, so we want to the source: students. Here are their experiences.

For most of the summer in 2005, I lived out of boxes. Not only did I have to prepare for my move to college, but my parents were also moving from our home in Brooklyn, New York to a suburb of Long Island. The one advantage of this move was that it placed me 10 minutes away from Hofstra University, where my new dorm would be.

Since I now lived so close to my new school, I got the naïve notion that the fundamentals of moving didn't apply to me. On moving day, instead of planning ahead to pack my car to its utmost capacity, I ended up making four trips back to my house to get more stuff that I'd either forgot to pack or didn't fit in the car.

It was annoying and time-consuming, considering the amount of stuff I wound up bringing could have been limited to one car trip. Being so close to home also didn't excuse me from the painful chore of packing, which I put off until the night before in a frenzied, chaotic fashion.

The biggest obstacle was my closet. I mimicked a tried-and-true method I'd gotten from my older brother: large black garbage bags. My mother stood mortified as I stuffed both summer and winter apparel into three Heftys, some still with the hangers on.

It wasn't until we started packing my car that she saw the beauty of this method: the bags were less expensive and took up less space than traditional storage bins, allowing us to pile more things on top of them. Plus, this made moving in a breeze; I just threw a bag over my shoulder and continued to push the moving bin containing all my other items. While my roommates tried desperately to fit their storage bins into our 10x10 cubbyhole; I simply unpacked and threw the bags away.

Other items such as my blankets, sheets and pillows followed the bag method; I took more care with fragile objects. My desk lamp, picture frames, and mirrors were all wrapped in newspaper and transported in Yaffa blocks I'd purchased from Linens N Things.

Considering that my living space was limited to a bed (top bunk), a desk and a wardrobe, things got a bit unconventional. I used the Yaffa blocks to store shoes, which I hid in the closet, and textbooks, which I stored under my desk. I needed to preserve my desk drawers for socks, undergarments and T-shirts, which had no place in the wardrobe (and made for some comical moments when my roommates scoured my drawers for a pen). 

The wardrobe contained the rest of my clothes and dirty laundry, and the foot of space on top of it was home to snacks and cleaning products. I then convinced my lower bunk roomie to share the space under the bed with me, which I later used to store bathroom utilities.

Any hint of personality was left to the desk shelf, which I adorned with picture frames, collages, and keepsakes to make my living situation feel a little more like home. Although I could have made this transition a lot easier on me through just a bit more thought and planning, last-minute fixes often do the job just as well!

Want to read more firsthand college experiences? Check out these articles:

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In the Press

A Moving Company's Moving Story
June, 2012

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