Everything on this shelf (except the animal figurines) could be digitized and stored on a tiny hard drive. If you’re moving out soon, it’s a no-brainer. Image courtesy of Flickr user OctopusHat

You probably don’t have to move out of your dorm room or apartment until the summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some of the grunt work out of the way now. I’ve already written about preparing a “go box” in April for stuff you know you don’t need in the final weeks of school, but this is also a great opportunity to streamline your possesions.

I’m not saying you have to go all Kelly Sutton on your room and get rid of everything under the sun, but I guarantee you that you’ll find plenty of stuff after a quick inventory that you would never miss. Start with the obvious: your closet. You’re bound to have a pile of t-shirts from campus events and old high school functions that you never wear, so throw them in a bag and take them to Goodwill. If you’re lucky, your school will even park some big donation bins in and around the dorms. 

Most of us own a lot of media; books, movies, music, etc. With a little work, all of these can be converted to a digital format, saving you tons of space (and valuable time) when you have to pack up your room in the midst of finals.

Let’s move on to your entertainment center. I’ve taken to using Handbrake to rip my DVD collection, allowing me to use Facebook from time to time to sell the discs. It takes a little bit of time, but if you get in the habit of ripping on your computer when you aren’t using it, you’ll be done in no time. In the end, you’ll be able to fit all of your movies on a pocket-sized external hard drive, rather than a big box of DVD cases. 

The same goes for books. I know some people love the feel of a good hardback, but you can’t argue that they’re an incredibly inefficient use of space. If you’re really dedicated, you can digitize the books yourself (sorry, the ION Book Saver hasn’t been released yet), but this might not be realistic with finals in full swing. For books you won’t miss (cough, cough, textbooks), the Amazon Marketplace is a great way to unload them. It might not be a bad idea to use the Amazon credit you get from the book sales to purchase your favorite pleasure-reading books in digital format. You can read them on pretty much any computer, tablet, or smartphone, and it frees you up to sell or donate the space-hogging paper versions.