It is that time of year to pack up apartments and dorms to move for the summer.  While the stress of finals may be over, the stress of how in the world you are going to pack up all of your stuff (how is it that you have so much stuff anyhow?!) and get it all home is just beginning.  Although I’m not moving this semester (yay for me!), I have moved so many times in my life that I am now a master packer.  Here are my three tips for packing up your dorm or apartment painlessly.

Organize:  This is the biggie and if you do it right, you’ll save yourself a world of stress if you take a moment to get organized.  The first step is to know when you are moving and where you are moving to.  The second step is to figure out what you are going to pack up and take with you.  Get rid of all the trash and broken things that can’t be used again.  Donate or sell anything that you don’t need or want.  If you have roommates, don’t forget to discuss who is taking what shared items (like a fridge or microwave).  How are you getting the rest of your stuff home?  Are you driving it home?  Will it all fit in your car or will you have to rent a truck?  Have you thought about shipping some things home (USPS has flat rate priority mail boxes that are reasonably priced)?  Now that all the extra stuff is taken care of, your space should only include the things you are packing.

Packing: Packing is like an extensive game of Tetris.  The key here is to make sure you find sturdy boxes that won’t fall apart easily.  I like to try for super markets or other stores for free boxes – the best time to get them is to go in the morning and ask the manager for them.  Get the boxes early because this time of the year is moving season and once the stores run out of boxes, you won’t be able to get any.  Often times, they’ll give the boxes to you for free.  Be sure to pack like items together and don’t forget to clearly label what is inside.  For things like dishes or cookware, make sure you use lots of newspaper or bubble wrap to ensure that it doesn’t break.

Fun: While packing certainly isn’t high on my list of fun things to do, you can make packing a lot more fun by doing some simple things like play music or invite a friend to help.  Music will help pass the time and help keep your energy up.  A friend offers company and a bit of help – but don’t forget to return the favor and offer to help when they begin to move.

Are you getting ready to pack up your place and move home?  Or are you staying put in your apartment?  How much stuff are you moving?  Any moving tips to offer?

[Photo Courtesy of Flickr User Steven DuBois and used with C.C. 2.0 License]