Accommodation Holidays Student-made

A Guide to Moving Out (AKA How to Survive Arguably the Worst Part of Student Living)

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Moving out of your university halls is intimidating. You might have little to no support, especially if your family is thousands of miles away, and it may be your first time attempting a feat so big. At the end of my first year, I tried taking too many things back with me, which gave me some trouble at the airport. There are many things I wish I had done differently, and some things I’m proud of myself for figuring out. I’ve compiled my wisdom to prepare you now for this challenge, whether you’re in your first year or have just graduated. Chances are you’ll have to move a lot in your life, and these tips can apply to more than just your university hall.

#1: What will you actually need over the summer?

I already touched on this, but to drive the point home about how ridiculously clueless I was about packing to move out, I’d like you to know that I kept my puffer jacket with me. My winter puffer jacket. To take back with me. To a desert country where temperatures are above 40 degrees. Yeah, not much rational thinking done on my part. But, honestly, I wasn’t doing much thinking at all. I packed my things in 2 days, rushed and with no rhyme or organizational reason. I kept toilet paper inside my handbags which I stuffed into a large stove pot. To succinctly put it, think very deeply about whether you’ll use all of those shoe pairs or if you actually need to take that Cajun spice bottle back home. If you won’t, box it up.

#2: Preparing for packing

Not only do you need to emotionally prepare (goodbyes, endings and leavings are hard!), but you should also take time to make sure:

  • [ ] My dishes, supplies, and other furniture are all clean
  • [ ] My clothes and bedding are all washed
  • [ ] Fragile or delicate items are protected
  • [ ] I have a place to keep my things
  • [ ] I have an arranged pick up or drop off time/location (or a flexible pick up and drop off time/location that is okay to be changed)
  • [ ] I have thrown away or donated anything I will no longer be using (old clothes, broken items, rubbish, etc)
  • [ ] You have a few days to pack peacefully.

#3: Where do I keep my things?

This depends on your situation! I keep my things at a very kind relatives garage, but if you don’t have family in Manchester, consider taking it home with you to keep in your closet or under your bed. If your family don’t live in the UK, that’s probably difficult. You may need to arrange a storage facility to keep your boxes over the summer. Luckily there are multiple options which are recognized and have reasonable prices per week or month.

#4: Where on Earth do I get boxes?

I don’t want to pay for boxes. I think that’s a ridiculous expense and I’m against it. So, I try to source free boxes. Here is a list of where and where not to get free boxes:

  • From my experience, supermarkets are NOT that eager to give boxes away, and they’ve always said NO when I’ve asked.
  • Scout stores in the Arndale Centre that just had shipments. They are usually generous with their boxes. Every time I’ve asked they said YES, or to COME BACK when they’ve had another shipment (so maybe start looking ASAP). I’ve gotten great boxes from The Works and Wilko. Sometimes, boxes will be very banged up and torn up. Nothing some parcel tape from Poundland can’t handle!
  • Your accommodation reception! I’ve asked the reception in 1 AM desperation and they’ve said YES! It obviously depends on where you live but no harm in asking. It may also depend on who you ask. Evening security guards may be more inclined to give boxes out than receptionists, from my experience.
  • The Student Union. Whenever I’ve asked, they’ve only had small boxes that wouldn’t fit much, but its better than nothing, or ideal if you only need a small box.
  • Honestly, just ask employees in stores. The worst they can say is “No, how dare you ask and interrupt me in my shift?!” (They’re much nicer than that).
  • If you use a storage company, they may give out boxes. Though, they will likely not be free.
  • Additional tip for duvets, sheets, pillows, blankets and comforter sets: invest in a mattress bag, or if you’re determined to keep them in boxes, cover them in protective wrapping to keep them from catching box germs.

#5: How do I actually pack?

Here are some general tips:

  • If you have big pots and pans, try storing things inside them to save space outside the box.
  • Don’t just throw all you notebooks, textbooks and other books into one box. Distribute heavy and light items through boxes so that you don’t have one box that’s five times heavier than all the others and one that’s as light as a pillow (because it only has pillows in it).
  • Protect posters, flyers, and paper decor inside notebooks or folders.
  • Rolling clothes makes them more compact to store.
  • Watch TikTok and YouTube videos about packing hacks and tricks.

#6: If you think you’ve used enough tape, no you haven’t

Things fall apart. Tape a few different places. Make sure you don’t miss any slightly open corners. This one was self explanatory. I recommend stocking up on at least 2 rolls of parcel tape to be prepared.

That’s a brief guide on how to achieve my most dreaded part of university (yes, more than exams). I hope this helps you today or even years from now. Remember, packing is a never-ending responsibility, so best learn some good habits now!

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