April marks the beginning of the end of the school year. As summer comes closer, so does the dread of the tedious move-out process. It’s hard enough to be a college student juggling the onslaught of classes, jobs, and clubs, and figuring out how to have a half-decent social life without the pressure of studying for your final exams—let alone packing up your entire life at college. Like all things, the key is to plan ahead so you’re not stressed out about moving during finals. Spectrum has come up with a step-by-step list on how to plan and prepare to make this process manageable and efficient.
1. Make a schedule
How many boxes will you need? How will you split up your time? Where do you even start? It can be overwhelming to initially begin tackling the move-out process, which is why you should always start with a to-do list.
You can begin by returning anything that doesn’t belong to you, such as your friends’ items that you may have borrowed. Second, sell any books that you don’t want to keep to the Columbia Bookstore or Book Culture (to completely avoid this task, you can also opt for renting books from the library or renting from Chegg over the semester). Next, split your time by packing away one category of your belongings at a time. You can split your belongings into school items (i.e., notebooks, stationery, textbooks, etc.), toiletries (including makeup), clothes, shoes and accessories, and then miscellaneous items such as cleaning supplies.
2. Divide your clothes into three piles
If you haven’t already packed away your winter clothes, then you should put those away first. By doing this, you don’t have to worry about half your wardrobe when May rolls around. Also, by packing your winter items first, they will be at the bottom of your boxes so you don’t have to deal with them when moving in during the fall.
To clear up space in your wardrobe of everything that has accumulated over the year, only pack the clothes that you plan to wear in the summer months. Not only will this save you time in the morning and help you decide on an outfit, but it will also declutter your room. These should also be the clothes that you want to take with you over the break.
It may be hard to come to terms with the idea of parting with your things, but it’s always healthy to cleanse your wardrobe. This means that you should probably get rid of all the clothes that you haven’t worn once the entire school year (as you probably won’t wear it the next school year either). If you don’t enjoy wearing certain pieces anymore and are unhappy with the way you feel in them, you should probably throw those out as well. If you really can’t bear to part with certain clothes, then you can take those home with you and keep them there—you probably won’t wear them next year, so they’re just taking up space. If you need more help in deciding what to throw out, here’s how to declutter your spaces like Marie Kondo.
There’s no worse feeling than moving into your room in the fall and unpacking all your boxes only to realize that you can’t put away your clothes because you have to wash them all. Although it seems like a hassle (and an extra cost for Barnard students) now, you will be thanking yourself later.
4. Buy boxes
To pack away your things, it’s best to purchase storage boxes. If you’re scrambling to find boxes, you can go to the FedEx or UPS on 116th and 115th Street respectively, and University Hardware & Housewares on Broadway. To be more economically friendly and cost-efficient, you can also purchase used cardboard boxes or reusable plastic ones.
If you are wondering where to store your items over the summer, check out Spectrum’s article on New York City summer storage options. Another possibility would be to seek out friends or family who are willing to store your items over the summer. That’s probably the cheapest option; however, you would have the responsibility to pack away your items, transfer it, and then move it all back in the fall.
5. Do one last sweep
Triple-check all of your drawers, closet, desk, bed, bathroom, pantry, and kitchen—anywhere that you may have kept any of your items. Even though you are probably exhausted from packing, you don’t want to leave for the summer only to realize you have lost something when you are unpacking and looking for it next semester.
If you’re looking to put your items to good use and turn a quick profit off of your hard work when packing, you can sell your unwanted items by posting them on the Buy/Sell/Trade at Barnard Facebook page. If not all of your items get sold, you can also donate to clothing companies for rewards. H&M collects old clothes and bedding no matter the brand, and you get 15 percent off your next purchase. At North Face, you can donate any shoes or clothes regardless of the brand to the in-store donation boxes and get a $10 coupon for the store. You can also donate any jeans to Madewell and get 20 percent off your next jeans purchase.
If you want to recycle your clothes and give back to the larger Columbia community, you can donate to EcoReps who have a Give and Go Green drive where they collect items such as mini fridges, lamps, textbooks, and kitchenware at the end of the spring semester that they then sell at the Green Sale during NSOP. Similarly, if you want to support the larger New York City community you can also donate to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
Remember, if during the week of finals you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out by the thought of packing up—follow this guide and take it one step at a time, you can do this!