Dorm: Packing and Organizing

| August 21, 2011

I’m leaving to return to school for my sophomore year in two days. Two! I can’t contain my excitement. But, at the same time, I woke up this morning dreading the task at hand: Packing.

This morning, my body – sensing my stress – woke me up obnoxiously early. I plodded to the kitchen, got my coffee and my shredded Mini-Wheats and watched an hour of the Rachel Zoe Project. One thing my readers will certainly learn about me throughout this journey is that I am the Princess of Procrastination. I won’t call myself the Queen, because I have several friends much more fitting of the title. But I like to schedule in a little too much TV and coffee time in my busy days, to put it mildly.

So, after an hour of watching a re-run of Rachel gallivanting through the shows of New York Fashion Week, exclaiming, “I die!” and “That is so sick!” I knew what I had to do. It was time to venture down to bedroom, wash my face, put on some grubby clothes not worth bringing to school, and pack up my entire life once again.

My room amidst the packing chaos.

My room amidst the packing chaos.

Now, just because I’ve already done this whole packing and relocating thing before, doesn’t make it any easier. But, I have learned from several mistakes that I’d like to share with you in hopes that you will do as I say, not as I do (because, to be honest, I’m still struggling to follow my own advice).

Giveaways

Before any big move – my family’s had a couple – we always start making piles of giveaways a few weeks prior to the real packing begins. This year, I filled three, huge, ForceFlex garbage bags with clothes – one of which was designated solely for shoes (get it, solely? Shoe humor). Purging your closet of unnecessary or unwanted clothing, shoes or accessories, is a great way to give back and it will also make the college adjustment much easier. Remember: your closet is most likely about to shrink to half its size. I’m not saying to minimize to the bare necessities, but be smart about what you’re bringing.

They're all packed. Now I just have to lug them to the car...

They're all packed. Now I just have to lug them to the car...

Minimizing your closet at home will also maximize the amount of space in your closet at school. Last year, my closet was so packed that I could barely move the hangers apart. I ended up wearing a lot of the same outfits most of the time just because I pulled out what was easily accessible and I didn’t have to dig for.

Overpacking

You will not – I repeat, will not – need the Indian-themed dress you bought at Forever 21 two years ago and never wore. You might try to justify it by telling yourself you’ll wear it on Halloween or to a themed party. No. If you’ve had it for two years – or even one year – and never worn it, its time has passed. Let it go.

I’ll never forget unpacking in front of my new roommate on the first day. The look on her face was priceless as I began unpacking over 50 pairs of shoes. I kid you not. Hello, my name is Samantha, and I’m a shoe-aholic.

Now, in my defense, I wore a uniform to school almost my whole life. My shoes, headbands and jewelry were my form of self-expression.

But I quickly realized that I now had an entire wardrobe to self-express as much as I wanted on a daily basis. I probably wore about five of the 50 pairs I packed. Today, I’m packing less than half of what I brought a year ago, and I feel incredibly proud of myself.

Organizing

It doesn’t matter if you brought the nicest air purifier money can buy, that dorm room is going to be dust heaven. Invest in plastic boxes and make sure they have a nice, organized space to sit. And buy disinfecting wipes. Girls especially will thank me for this tip because with all that makeup we cake on our faces, you know half of it lands on the counter and the mirror.

Dorm Space Saver, ($59.99); Available at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Dorm Space Saver, ($59.99); Available at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

One great new item I bought this year is the Dorm Space Saver, ($59.99); bedbathandbeyond.com. It’s great for holding loose “stuff” or providing extra room for organizational boxes. One of my friends had it in her dorm last year and it opened up so much more space for her. I plan on using it for towels, sheets and a few cute picture frames. The great thing about it is that the only space it takes up is space you wouldn’t otherwise utilize – the area right at the head of your twin bed. It wraps right around the bed and sits stably above you, like a regular shelf above your headboard.

My organizing boxes from Scout by Bungalow.

My organizing boxes from Scout by Bungalow.

My favorite brand to organize with is Scout by Bungalow (bungalowco.com). They have cute patterns, boxes, bags and other accessories in all shapes and sizes and they’re very affordable. I used mine for toiletries and kitchenware.

Yoga Mat

One last piece of advice: If you don’t actually DO yoga, don’t bring a yoga mat with you.

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Category: College Confab

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Samantha Stratton

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