Moving is an ordeal for anyone, but it can be especially stressful if you’re in the midst of midterms. Your Toyota Corolla can only hold so many boxes, you know? Luckily, there are a variety of ways you can lessen the load, so to speak. Whether your lease is up and you’re splitting up with your roommates to move across town (not everything can last forever), or you have just transferred to a new school and are preparing to drive across state borders, these tips work and they work well.
- Liquor stores always have free boxes.
Liquor stores go through inventory every day as though today is the last day alcohol will ever be legal. Americans drink a lot, so these spots go through a lot of boxes, and they love it when you show up to take them because it lessens their workload. Simply search for a liquor store near you and head over. They’re usually small/medium sized boxes but they’re great for things like books, toiletries, clothes, and pictures. The best time to grab the boxes depends on the location, but it’s common enough that most places will give you their boxes for free. If you can’t find boxes at your neighborhood liquor store, grocery stores are another great place to look, just make sure you get there in the morning because they usually recycle their boxes in the afternoon.
- Wrap breakables in clothes and blankets.
There’s no need to buy bubble wrap or forage for newspaper when you have sweaters on hand. Not only will wrapping your glass and plates be economical, it will save you space when it comes time to actually pack up your clothes. The same goes for larger breakables. Winter coats make for great flat screen TV protectors. Sheets wrap nicely around larger picture frames and vases. Curtains make for serious cushion around sharp furniture edges. If you need further instruction, Apartment Therapy wrote a great article that details how to go about utilizing your undies as knick-knack wrap.
- Offer to help your friends move if they help you.
An extra pair of hands goes a long way. You can either spend the entire day moving your one bedroom apartment, or you can spend an hour loading and unloading with three other people. When it comes time for them to move, you chip in that hour of labor and you’re on your way. If your friends aren’t moving anytime soon, usually offering to buy beer or dinner is enough to motivate most college folks.
- If you installed hardware in your rental, take it with you.
Let me say this one louder for the folks who are sleeping. SHELVING IS NOT CHEAP. That curtain rod you screwed up in your living room? $15, easy. Those shelves in the kitchen your Mom gifted you? $75. It’s unreal how expensive the building blocks of rental life are, so save every screw, nail, and hook you can find. You’ll be glad you did when you’re busy nailing up your new oasis and your roommates take six months to get their room together because they didn’t have $400 to drop on all the essentials.
- Sell anything you got on the cheap.
Facebook Marketplace is a great place to advertise cheap furniture you don’t want to haul, clothes you don’t need anymore, or things that roommates leave behind when they move to other cities. (Sorry Nick, no one here wants your four boxes of button up shirts covered in flour from that art project you did freshman year, but some dude named Morton in Southside does!) It’s also way easier to use than Craigslist and can be managed through your personal Facebook account. Even better, when you get to your new place, try to buy as many pieces of used furniture as possible. When you move next, you’ll be able to sell the furniture at a price point that will be closer to the price you paid for it, saving you money in the long run. Plus, there are some amazing finds online these days.
- Photo document every inch of the apartment you’re leaving after you clean it.
Assume the worst of your rental company or landlord, even if they’ve been nice to you all year. This site has a great resource list if you want to learn more about your rights as a tenant. Take pictures of every room in detail after you’ve readied it for the next tenant. It’s more common for landlords to take advantage of college students when it comes to security deposits because they assume that students don’t document their effort during move-out, and that they don’t have the resources to fight it. If you can’t prove the place was clean, it might as well have been a wreak. If you want your full security deposit back, pretend a murder happened and document like a forensics team to get that $300 charge for “general cleaning” removed when it shows up later.
Sam Casteris is a recent college grad currently located in Phoenix, AZ. When she was a first-year college student, she transferred from Montana State University to Virginia Commonwealth University. She loves reading, writing, and helping online audiences solve problems and pursue opportunities, especially when they are struggling financially.