Whether we realize it or not, after four years (or more) of college, we have accumulated a lot of stuff – ranging from spare batteries, fairy lights, random pillows, grocery bags, books and college notes, it seems so little until… until you have to pack it all up and move out. If you are lucky enough to have your parents pick you up from your place to bring you wherever life will carry you next, you probably don’t need these tips. But if, like me, you had to move out on your own (to another country no less), then you should probably take a look at these pro-tips on how to be the most efficient and organized student packer ever.

  1. Pack light

As I said, after four years in the same place – or at least the same city – you have probably accumulated lots of everyday stuff you didn’t even think you needed to pack before you emptied your kitchen drawers. Your wardrobe also probably changed a lot, you don’t wear that sweater you had as a fresher anymore, let’s be honest. All the college notes, all the books you’ve read, the extra cups and the gin glasses, it all takes so much space when you have to pack them. Get rid of them! Declutter your wardrobe and get rid of the things you won’t use anymore. Keep only the essentials, the notes you know you’ll reuse someday from your language course or your business class, give away to charity the extra cutlery and plates – you’ll save space and you’ll be ready for a new chapter in your life.

2. Don’t buy – re-use

Every shop in town receives tons of new products every day in cardboard boxes. Try to go in early and ask them if they can spare you the extra boxes they’ll eventually throw away. Even better, find yourself a friend who works in retail and s/he can save some boxes for you. In case you had no luck at all and really need card boxes, IKEA got you. They’re easy to put together, you’re not even supposed to need tape and they can carry 30kg (and if you need duct-tape, get both Tesco’s and Dealz’s).

3. Don’t pack your boxes by theme

We usually think we need to put all the books together, all the kitchen stuff together, all the bed linen and towels together, etc. Wrong idea. This will only end up with you having to carry boxes that are 35kg and others that seem overpacked but only have 10kg inside. Try to pack efficiently so that all your boxes weigh the same – if they’re too heavy they’ll break. If you do mix your belongings in different boxes, they’ll end up lighter and be easier to carry. This is especially important if you use a company like Eurosender or sendmybags to send your stuff away – they’ll ask you to measure and weigh your luggage and boxes, and you’ll pay accordingly, so be extra careful.

4. Make a list and start in advance

Before you start packing, make sure you know everything you have to pack so that you don’t forget anything in a hidden corner, and don’t have surprises when you start putting together your boxes. It’ll save you a lot of stress knowing exactly what you have to pack away, and you can also start deciding what you’ll get rid of – kill two birds with one stone. Starting in advance is also key. You don’t want to have everything to pack two days before your move-out date. It’s okay to live in a messy apartment for a week, it just means you’re organized (in this particular case obviously)! By starting early, you’ll be less likely to forget last minute things and you can also do bits by bits and avoid spending 48h straight packing everything you own.

5. Have fun!

You’ve just finished college, congratulations! The last couple of years have been a rollercoaster of emotions, you’ve probably been through so much and changed a lot, and packing can be a time to sit down and just reflect on everything you’ve done and become. When you go through your notes, remember all the good times you had in classes, when packing your clothes, who’s gonna stop you from trying them on and have a throwback to the first party you wore that piece of clothing at? Get yourself a beer or a glass of wine, have fun with your flatmate(s) one last time, remember everything you’ve done together. These could be your last weeks of college, it’s time to enjoy and have fun one last time. Packing isn’t terrible once you know how to organize yourself around it and find the fun in it. Trust me, I’ve done it four times in four years, and it’s always been a special time to be grateful for everything that’s happened to me, all the good memories and the amazing people I shared them with. College may be done, but a new adventure awaits!