Time flies when you’re having fun, especially when you’re at college. You’ve accomplished so much and met so many amazing people, and now you must pack up and say your goodbyes. To make the packing process effortless, follow our eight tips for moving out of your college dorm room.

1. Start Packing Up Before Finals

Don’t wait until the day before you move out to pack—you’ll only maximize your stress. After all, you want to be on time for your flight or ride. Instead, start packing during study breaks before finals week—begin to empty closets and drawers, take down decorations, and, if necessary, defrost your mini fridge. Once you finish your last final, you can relax knowing most of the work is already done. All you’ll need to do is transport your belongings to your car, and you’re all set.

2. Send Stuff Home Beforehand

You’ve likely accumulated a lot of stuff during your time at school. If your parents’ house is within driving distance of campus, take small loads of your belongings home, if possible. You can also arrange to have your parents pick up belongings before move-out day so that you’ll have less to unload from your own car when you move out.

3. Go Through Old Schoolwork and Think About Your Textbooks

After your finals are over, think about what you’ll do with your old assignments and books. When it comes to papers, unless you’re proud of them or you think you’ll need to reference them later—don’t keep them. Likewise, only keep textbooks if you bought them and know you’ll read them again—otherwise, you can try selling them to other students. If you rented your textbooks, give them back to the campus bookstore. This way, they won’t weigh your bags down.

4. Pack Essentials Last

Of course, you’ll need some clothes and toiletries to get you through the days leading up to move-out day. Otherwise, you may find yourself frantically tearing open your packed boxes and bags in search of toothpaste. On the day you move out, you can finally pack these essentials up. Your bedding should be the last thing you pack; it’ll be easier for you to stuff these soft items in between boxes in the car.

5. Properly Pack Boxes

While it makes sense to keep your essentials in bags, pack the things you won’t touch until next fall into boxes. Make sure you use sturdy boxes; you can usually find them at grocery stores or buy them through a moving company. Don’t forget to seal them with quality tape.

6. Clean Up

Typically, residence halls require you to do any necessary cleaning to avoid fines. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Dust furnishings.
  • Scrub down your bathroom—if you’re responsible for one.
  • Mop and sweep tile flooring—don’t forget about hidden dust bunnies.
  • Vacuum carpets.
  • Empty your trash.

7. Check Your Room for Damage

Like cleaning, Residence Life will likely hold you accountable for any damage they find in your temporary living space. To avoid any charges, be thorough and document any damage you see—even if it seems minor.

8. Search for Storage

If you live across states, or even counties, consider putting your belongings in storage until fall. Everything you need for the next semester will stay safe in one place until you return to campus. Compare storage places online ahead of time for more information. The sooner you can book a storage unit, the sooner you can pack up your dorm room. As a bonus, many facilities offer discounts to college students.

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Zack Applehans