I moved out of my off-campus apartment this past weekend and into my new place just six blocks away, and it was the most stressful thing I've done in college thus far.
It didn't help that I was moving in 100 degree weather (thanks, Texas), right before my lease expired, along with the other hundred students in my building. The elevator was filled with sweaty, tired college students, all of them as miserable as I was.
It dawned on me while I was waiting in a long line to turn in my move-out paperwork that transitioning between housing is one of the hardest parts of college that nobody ever mentions.
So, based on my experiences, here are some things to keep in mind as you navigate the college housing experience:
1. Plan ahead and pack in small steps.
When you have to pack up a year's (or more) worth of stuff, you'll realize you aren't as minimalist as you thought.
I assumed that I had been pretty good about not collecting too many things over the semester. Packing should have been simple. Instead, I ended up with boxes and boxes full of things that seemed so small spread out around my room. These small things really add up and they take serious time to pack.
If you have a date to move out, start packing at least a week early. Even if you have to move your stuff to a storage unit, it can save you so much stress if you pack one box every day of non-essentials and slowly clean the place as you go.
2. When you move in, don't disregard the room condition form.
You'll probably have a room condition form or some other document to sign upon move in that asks you to note any existing damages to your apartment. Usually I'm so excited about moving in that I don't want to be burdened by paperwork. But take the time to fill this out thoroughly and accurately.
Moving out I noticed so many small defects that I was worried I would be charged for, even though they existed upon move-in. I couldn't remember if I had listed them on the sheet, though (my guess is no).
3. Have your building do a pre-move out inspection.
If you live in a student housing building, you may be able to get a leasing agent or employee to walk through your apartment before your keys are actually due. They can assess what might constitute a fine and give you time to fix those things.
Even if you live in a private apartment complex where move-outs are happening all the time, you may still be able to request something like this. It's worth it to look as oftentimes these small fixes can take a lot from your security deposit.
4. Truth: Hiring people can be easier.
I'm a pretty cheap person and I also try to avoid being lazy. BUT, trying to move everything using me and my friends' labor was really exhausting, and I honestly felt terrible for the people I enlisted to help. It was a lot more work than any of us expected.
Moving companies are cheaper than you might expect and if you pick one with good reviews, they can do a reliable job getting your stuff in and out of apartments. Even renting a U-Haul for $30 is better than making seven trips with a small compact car. (Ahem, trust me on this.)
Are you moving soon? What's your plan?
How do you prepare for move-out day? Do you have any packing strategies? Let me know in the comments.