We’re huge fans of simplifying your belongings before any big move. Not just because going through your stuff before you start packing for college will prevent packing regret (it’s a thing), but you’ll also travel light to your new life as a TAMU student!
Step One: Sort It Out
It helps to start by sorting everything into categories. Separate clothing from keepsakes, books from electronics, and beauty supplies from paperwork. This way you’ll be able to see that you actually have two t-shirts from the fundraising BBQ instead of just one. Or three eyeshadow palettes that are similar enough to keep just one.
Step Two: Keep the Goods
Go through everything and decide what you really want to keep. For clothes, if it fits and is in good shape, keep it. If not, put it it the discard pile (more about that later). For beauty products, get rid of anything that is expired or you don’t like anymore (*ahem* blue glitter eyeliner from Halloween 2014). For electronics, discard any toys or devices that don’t work. Keep only what fits, what works, what you really love, and what you truly need. You’ll be surprised at how little that really is.
Step Three: Donate the Useable Stuff
After getting rid of the trash, you’ll notice a theme. There’s a lot of really good stuff in this discard pile! Someone could use it! Like the Kindle that still works. Or the cell phone with a cracked screen.
The answer? Donate it. Goodwill will take electronics and put them to good use. Or let your younger siblings and friends go shopping in the pile. They’ll have a rough time saying goodbye, and having your t-shirts or artwork might make it easier on them.
Step Four: Throw Away the Trash
Once you have the donates separated, decide what is in such bad shape it needs to be thrown away. If it is broken and unfixable, get rid of it. If you’re only keeping it because of that time you wore it and that thing happened, record the memory in a journal and get rid of the t-shirt riddled with holes or the pillow covered in drool marks.
This goes for old drawings, art projects, and school papers. If you have a digital form, trash it. If you want to record it, scan it in and have your parents store it on a hard drive. My rule is that if it’s not framable or a once-in-a-lifetime highlight (think ACT/SAT records here), you can scan it in and throw away the original. Unless your mom is a scrapbooking queen. Then just hand it over to her.
Step Five: Review the Keepers
Wait a day or two, and then go back through the keep pile. Make sure you still want to keep each item. If any donates or throw aways snuck their way into the keep pile, weed them back out. Then decide what needs to be stored for memories, and what needs to be packed for college. You’ll be home for holidays, so try to only take what you need for the first semester. Then clean it, fold it, store it, pack it. Whatever you need to do to boil your life down into what can fit on a the plane or in a car!
If you need more inspiration, read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The author is a bit kooky, but her method really works well.