Monday, August 29, 2011

Tips for combating the panic of packing for college

The idea of moving away from home to attend college or a university is both scary and exciting. Can you taste the freedom, be it pizza at all hours of the night or cookies for breakfast? That's exciting. The scary part is knowing there's a whole lot of work involved with flying the coop before these dreams become a reality.

To help combat that packing panic, Brandon Farestad-Rittel —a college-savings expert for Kinoli Inc., who went through the process himself — offers the following recommendations for students on the move:

Do you really need the Darth Vader helmet? Before you start loading things into boxes, go through your stuff and weed out items that you don't want/need.

"There's no point in adding clutter to your new place. Remember: Before dumping and donating unwanted items, give friends and neighbors a chance to dig through for hand-me-downs. They'll appreciate the thought and it's one less thing for you to move," Farestad-Rittel said.

Be friendly but wise. "College houses are not always in the greatest condition," said Farestad-Rittel. "Since you don't want to be on the hook for other tenants' wild times, get together with the landlord before you move in and do a walk-through." Take a notebook and jot down any damages you see along the way. Snap a few photos and get the landlord to sign off on a list of problem areas."

No hot water? If you're living on campus, the dorms will be ready for you to move in. If you're renting housing, however, be sure to call the electric, water and cable companies before moving day to make sure you have services when you arrive.

Use your time wisely. One of the great things about college life is flexibility. You can move into your space midweek or on the weekend. During the week, moving trucks are typically cheaper to rent than on weekends. If you're traveling a long distance and decide to enlist a professional mover, Fares

tad-Rittel suggests doing some research to find a reputable company. For information on knowing the difference, Farestad-Rittel recommends the Main St. posting, 8 Things your movers don't want you to know

Condense your items as best as you can. Why carry an empty cooler when you can use it as a box? Be creative and pack small stuff inside larger items like with Russian nesting dolls.

Do you really need those packing Cheeto-thingies? Look around the house for newspaper you can use for packing. Items you might be taking with you such as dish towels and T-shirts can be used for packing materials.

Resist the urge to buy in advance. It's tempting to purchase items before you move in, and there are plenty of stores that expect you to do that, but hold off on the dorm bundle until after you move in.

"Once you know what you need, go shopping with roommates and save on some shared items," Farestad-Rittel said. Try using coupons for discounts on back-to-college lines from stores such as Target or coupons sites like Coupon Sherpa
Don't sweat the small stuff. Spend moving day dealing with the big items such as the couch and bed. Once you're settled in, you can pull out the knickknacks and movie posters.

Map it all out. "It really helps to plan where furniture will fit before you move," Farestad-Rittel said. College dorms usually have a floor plan available online. If you're renting, spend the day playing traffic cop as in using tape to indicate where large furnishings will fit into the room or flat. If you don't have the luxury of visiting, Farestad-Rittel recommends taking advantage of online tools such as those featured by freebies.about.com/od/homegardenfreebies/tp/free-online-room-design.htm

How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before it's afternoon.
December is here before it's June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?
~Dr. Seuss