Does it Stay or Does It Go? Deciding what stays and what to take is tough. Luckily when it comes to pictures, you don't have to decide. Combat homesickness by bringing way too many photos. Load up favs on your photo stream so you can use your TV, tablet or laptop to stroll down memory lane. The cloud loves you, and you'll love your virtual family almost as much as your real one. Don't forget to bring the basic project supplies you'll need when you get there, and consider what you're allowed to use on the walls. If nails and tape are a no-no, maybe a 3M hook is OK. Love that collection of 'Big Bang Theory' Bobble heads? Bring 'em - just be warned you might only be able to display half the gang.
Get Packing: Your car can only carry so much. Think about shipping less valuable, lighter things to school and purchasing larger items when you get local. Make sure to have enough packing materials. Imagine unpacking your boxes on the first day only to discover one of your previously mentioned Bobble heads just didn’t get enough bubble wrap around its giant head. Nobody wants that. Seriously, you can never have too much bubble wrap.
Reuse and Reduce: Tap local resources like grocery stores to find boxes for moving and, when you’re done, pay it forward to a friend. Sites like Craigslist and Nextdoor can be great places to find, buy and give away used furniture locally. Plus, you'll be surprised at how addicting the neighborhood gossip can be ... yes, be the clandestine nosy neighbor and learn so much about your new 'hood.
Budget: It's never too early to get literate about your finances. The earlier you start taking stock of how you can save, even on the tightest budgets, the better it will be for your future. It's never been easier to create a budget for living on your own by simply using an app, like Mint. Think about those spring break trips you won’t have to miss because you had a latte everyday instead. Excuse me while I order my coffee.
Be a Minimalist: You'll be in a small space so get furniture and appliances that have dual utility. Less stuff that does more is definitely the way to go in a cramped space. Instead of a couch, get a fold-out your friends can come crash on when they're in town. Elevate your bed so you can use wasted space underneath for storage. Get a desk that can fold out with additional seating for eating and entertaining.
Hack Your Space: Use resources like Pinterest to maximize your space and find small-space trends. Home Design 3D will let you make 3D renders and even drop in textiles and furniture. It's fun to get nerdy about design and it's even easier to figure out what exactly will fit in your space without the headache of trial and error.
Simplicity = Bliss. Tidy up. Read 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up' before moving in and before you move out. This is a space saver, especially if you're going to school out of state and have the great debate of whether to ship, haul, or store at the end of the year. Be gone with you, hoarder! Unload. Just because you made it through Chem 101, doesn't mean you need to keep that book as a memento.
Image from Bed, Bath & Beyond
Tammy La is a happy-go-lucky food, lifestyle writer, and host with a spicy Sriracha kick. Biggest "project" is baby Otis. Loves anything DIY and actually finds putting IKEA furniture together both therapeutic and rewarding. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @tammylalaland.