Moving Out of State for School? These 8 Packing Tips Will Make Your Life Easier!

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out of state school

For my undergrad I pretty much stayed put and moved only 30 minutes away from my home. So for me, moving wasn’t a big deal because I could easily pop back home if there was something I forgot. But now for graduate school I’m making a big leap across the US from the east coast to the west. The thought of moving has been giving me minor (read: major) stressed out moments. It’s cramping my remaining time at home, so I’ve decided to become proactive and I’ve read hundreds of tips on moving out of state. These tips make sense and break down moving into manageable segments. If any of you have additional tips, leave them in the comments below!

1. Consult the recommended packing list: This seems like a pretty obvious move but actually¬†read the list and don’t glance over it like the other pre-orientation stuff. This will give you an idea of what you need to bring and what you think will work for your living space. Don’t buy everything on the list just because it says so, though! Think about what you need.

2. Extensively research the weather: Again, another no-brainer, but I’ve heard many stories about people assuming they knew the climate of an area when they did not. Just because it’s California, it doesn’t mean it’s all hot. Or that the South never gets that cold. Do your research and see how the temperature changes over the course of the whole year.

3. Purchase big items later: There’s no rule saying that you have to get everything right away. And if you’ve never visited the exact dorm or place you’re moving to, you can’t really be sure of the dimensions or layout of the space until you see it. So hold off on purchasing that giant futon until you get to school. They have Target, Walmart, etc. everywhere, so finding something suitable shouldn’t be too hard.

4. Condense what you leave behind: I have those kinds of parents that want to re-do my room before I’ve even left the house. It’s a good idea to really organize what you do leave in the house, so that there is less of a chance that it goes missing later. And even if your parents aren’t obsessed with “cleaning”¬†throwing away your stuff, they’d still probably appreciate it if you didn’t leave a mess.

5. Pack in small boxes: A rookie mistake I made many times was piling stuff in a giant box. Sure, you have less boxes but that doesn’t help anyone when you can’t move it later. This tip is especially helpful if you have a lot of books. Those things get heavy quickly.

6. Ship later: I’m shipping my car to school instead of taking the 3,000 mile drive and that’s been my biggest source of panic. I was determined to have it arrive the same time I did but with the way most of these companies work, there’s a window they could deliver it rather than a set date (unless you want to pay even more, which I don’t because duh,¬†I’m a poor grad student). The more I got to thinking about it, I realized that it’s okay if I don’t have it with me from day one. Instead, I’m going to focus on getting the stuff I need right away there safely. It will be easier to deal with the car a week or so after I’ve gotten there. That way, it arrives when I’m ready for it. Even if you’re not shipping a car, this could work with for some of the nonessential items you can’t take on the plane with you.

7. Shop secondhand: In case you can’t take all your furniture from home with you, try shopping secondhand for replacements. You’d be surprised at what you can find at flea markets, Goodwill, Habitat ReStores, etc.

8. Wardrobe purge: I’ve never been able to successfully do this in my life because I never had a reason. Moving out of state is that motivation I needed. It’s really forced me to look at how much stuff I don’t wear and evaluate if it really needs to make the journey with me.

[Lead image via Poprotskiy Alexey/Shutterstock]

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