Winter break: what not to pack
In a week or two, college campuses across the country will be winding down for winter break. Now is a great time to go through all your "stuff" and decide what stays and what will go home with you. You may have accumulated quite a few things over the last few months, including books and assignments, clothing (not always your own) and other assorted goodies. If you are traveling by plane, bus, or train, you’ll probably be limited to taking only a couple of bags. Even if you are fortunate enough to have your own vehicle for traveling, there still may be limited space. So, how do you decide what is trash and what is treasure? Here are a few guidelines to help you reduce the clutter.
To decide what stays and what goes, think about whether or not you have referred back to the assignment since completing it. If you haven’t looked at it at all or totally forgot you even wrote it, it’s probably okay to send it to the shredder. Books are a different matter. If you discover that the college bookstore won’t buy back your texts, try selling your textbooks online. If you can’t find a buyer before you need to leave, consider donating them to Better World Books or some local literacy group. Only keep those that pertain to your major and may be of use in the future.
Raid Your Closet
Be sure to give back any clothing items that you borrowed from your roommate or other friends. This is also a good time to use the four-month rule; if you haven’t worn it since arriving on campus, it may be time to unload it. You may be surprised at how many t-shirts have found their way into your wardrobe over the semester, but honestly, how many do you need? Donate those items you don't need to a local thrift store.
Before you head home, you may have to pass a room inspection; now’s the time to start working on cleaning the bathroom, kitchen area, walls and floor. Cleaning supplies should be the last item to pack on your list, so make sure you have what you need to get the job done. In the meantime, you can begin the process of using up your toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, razors), as you won’t need to take a huge supply home with you. When it comes to items in your kitchen area, only keep what is essential, such as small appliances and dinnerware. Any remaining paper products and food can be donated to a local food pantry or given to friends who have their own places. If you purchased your refrigerator after arriving on campus, put up a flier on campus or place an ad on Craigslist if you want to sell it before the semester ends.
The temptation can be strong to hang on to mementos and other items from your time on campus. If you find you do not have the space to take everything you love, consider creating a digital scrapbook that you can host on Facebook or another website. This way, you’ll still be able to look at items with sentimental value from time to time without having to find somewhere to store them. Avoid outrageous luggage fees and the hassle of packing unnecessary items by reducing the clutter now; you may even want to consider hosting a campus yard sale (along with other students) to earn some extra cash while lightening your load. In the end, your wallet and your back will thank you!
Unload your old textbooks and get money for them by selling your textbooks online.