I hate packing. It’s such a seemingly simple task that causes such an unnecessary amount of stress. At the end of every summer, I find myself in the same position before I head back to school. My suitcase sits on the floor all summer completely empty until the day before I need to go. That day is when panic starts to set in. Why didn’t I pack this weeks ago?? What do I need to take other than clothes??? How did I fit all this stuff in one suitcase when I left in May? How mad is Mom going to be that I’ve had all summer to pack and now, the day before I need to leave, I’ve packed nothing?
What doesn’t help is that my younger sister is a much better college-packer. She has had her stuff neatly packed away in milk crates, ready to be moved into a new dorm room for months. MONTHS. It would be a big deal for me if I packed like three days in advance, but her stuff has been sitting in a nice neat pile since like July. Her clothes were not only neatly consolidated into milk crates before she left for school yesterday, but they were also organized by type of clothing to make move-in easier. Meanwhile, my clothes are not really consolidated and are kind of unorganized (read: they are scattered all around my room).
Despite the fact that this packing… or lack thereof… is a tad stressful, I feel better knowing that this is nothing compared to the nightmare that was last year’s packing experience. Packing four months of clothes and shoes to study abroad in one suitcase is not an easy task. It’s even harder when that suitcase has to weigh under 50 pounds if you don’t want to pay the 200 Euro overweight luggage fee. It’s even harder you decide not to start packing until the night before…
Anyway, for anyone else who has vastly underestimated the amount of packing and getting ready that needs to be done before they head back to college, I do have some tips to make this process a little more efficient. Here are a few alternatives you can use to the traditional “cram everything into one bag” way of packing.
Method 1: The Milkcrate method (aka the Alex method): My sister was pretty clever in the way she packed her clothes this year: she found milk crates in our garage, and used them to both pack and sort her clothes (ie sweaters went in a milk crate, jeans went in a milk crate, etc). When she moved in on Friday, putting her clothes into the drawers in her dorm room was very easy because her clothes were already organized. Another bonus of the milk crates is that whatever doesn’t fit in the drawers can be kept in the milk crates and can go in her closet or under her bed.
Method 2: Hangers: For any clothes that you have hanging in your closets at home, don’t take them off the hangers!!! Instead, put them all in a pile, gather the tops of all the hangers, and rubber band them together. Then, poke a hole in the bottom of a trash bag, drape the trash bag over the clothes, and put the hanger tops through the hole that you poked. Now, moving in will be very easy because your clothes are already hung up and ready to go in your closet at school! (Note: Freshmen should limit the amount of clothes that they pack using this method – there doesn’t tend to be a lot of closet space in freshman dorms.)
Method 3: Plastic bins: Plastic bins are okay to put clothes in, but they are GREAT to pack everything else you will need in your dorm room or apartment. For example, you can buy a bin for kitchen supplies, one for desk supplies, one for your bedspread and pillows, and one for your shower curtain and any bathroom supplies. Not only does this method make unpacking relatively easy, but at the end of the year when you need to re-pack everything to take home again, you can just throw everything back into your labeled bins.
Method 4: The brown bag method: This is pretty similar to the milkcrate method, but if you don’t feel like buying milk crates, you can just pack your clothes in brown paper bags. The advantage of this method is that it’s cheap and that since you can have separate bags for each type of clothing, your clothes will be more organized than they would be if you just packed them in a suitcase. However, the disadvantage of this is that the bags could very easily fall over in the car or the handles could break, which could add a lot of frustration to the move in process.
Alright, I should get back to packing. Thanks for reading and good luck to any fellow packers out there. :)