Friday, August 10, 2012

6 Tips for Apartment Packing

I am moving out of my first apartment today to move back home for a couple weeks, then come back to a different apartment when school starts again. In the process I've discovered some things that work really well, so here are my tips:

1. Stay organized by keeping lists. I have a cleaning task list, packing-by-room list and, perhaps most important, a what-in-which-box list. Since I'm only packing for a college apartment, I have a lot of random small things that just end up in a larger box: cleaning supplies, laundry soap, lightbulbs, etc. I also advise labeling your boxes with a marker on every side. It's always a pain to open a box only to find it isn't the box you wanted. Which brings me to...

2. Consider bins, instead of boxes, for packing. I probably spend more time struggling with box flaps than I do actually packing (which makes my degrees pursuit seem way too mature). My roommate went the bin route and it looked so nice to just snap a lid on and be done with it. As for labeling, just throw down some masking tape and write on that; you can simply peel it off if you need to pack something else in it later. Grocery or take-out bags are also good for packing pantry items.

3. Keep boxes that come with your purchases. The box for my blender had so much leftover space inside, so in that I packed not only my blender, but also measuring cups and spoons, an ice cream scoop and my large chef knife. All these odds-and-ends kitchen items are now in one place and not taking up space in a separate box. The same happened with my assorted baking pan box, in which I packed three extra pans that didn't come with the set. Packing win!

4. Be smart about finishing perishable food. Perhaps one of the hardest parts about moving out is trying to not waste all the food in your fridge. First, evaluate: save what can be saved (soy sauce is good at room temperature), throw out what is old or unlikely to be used (I'm looking at you, honey mustard). Second: work ahead. I definitely don't want to cook while I'm packing and cleaning, so I cooked meat, hard boiled eggs and waffles in excess at the beginning of the week so meals were quick, easy and ingredient-saving. Third: focus on getting rid of your current food without adding more. That means no take-out and being okay living without milk for a couple days.

5. Pack, clean, rest, repeat. If you're anything like me, packing and cleaning all at once is super stressful. About a week leading up to moving out, I've tackled a couple projects each day. For example, I rarely use the living room and have a few kitchen items I knew I wouldn't need before I moved out, so I cleaned up the living room first and packed up that blender first thing. Doing it in stages like this has kept stress levels down and satisfied my need for organization.

6. Be realistic about trash. Junk is junk. I like to go through my notes at the end of the semester and throw out whatever isn't worth keeping. I also use this practice for clothes: if I haven't worn it (or refashioned it into something else, as I like to say I'll "one day" do) in six months (with an exception for season-specific items, like scarves), it needs to be tossed or donated. Being honest with yourself about what you really need will reduce the amount of stuff you need to pack and give you a fresh start for your new place.

These tips may seem pretty obvious and standard, but they've really helped me stay organized throughout this move. Have any other packing suggestions? Let me know in the comments below!


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