Have you seen a dorm closet? Can you say teeny? Can you say tiny? These questions make it the perfect time to get your clothes organized and packed. It’s simply not going to work for you to grab everything and head off to that apartment or dorm room. Then you’ll be muttering about why you brought so much stuff.
Since there just won’t be a lot of room, you’ll want to start by clearing your home closet of clutter. Here are some great tips for getting started:
Start by Clearing the Clothes Closet Clutter
Ask yourself these four hard W questions!
Why am I keeping this?
Where would I wear it?
When would I need this? – Someday?- Out it goes.
Who would ask me for it? Glad you asked! Give it to them. Out it goes.
Now Let Go of Excuses
If you were keeping things because you made an excuse for them, it is time to let them go too. You aren’t going to wear anything that you had to talk yourself into taking.
The Excuse “But it was expensive!”
Yes, but you’ve not been wearing it. So sell it or give it to someone who can. How about a consignment shop, E-bay or Craigslist?
The Excuse- “I might be able to wear it again- when I lose weight”
Sure, the theory that keeping it might make you work harder at losing weight is interesting one but also one that is totally not going to happen. Sell the clothes. Buy stuff that fits and makes you attractive. If you can’t bring yourself to sell them, then box them by size and store them in the attic with the holiday decorations. You’ll see them over the holidays, months from now, and have a chance to get real with yourself then if you haven’t lost the weight.
The Excuse – “But, I’d feel guilty.”
A gift once received is yours to do with, as you like. Does it make your aunt feel better to know the sweater she knitted you has been in the closet for five years? No it does not.
Steps to an Organized Closet
Getting your home closet organized will make it far easier to pack for college. Here’s how:
1- Declutter everything that is not part of your wardrobe. Out. Out. Out. If you don’t wear it, it doesn’t belong in your clothes closet. Out with the Christmas gift wrap, out with the stacks of photos, out with the gifts you hope to give later. They don’t belong with your clothes.
2- Purge- follow the questions above and get honest about what to keep.
3- Divide by season. Sort cold weather clothing from warm weather clothing.
4- Divide each season by occasion:
- Casual clothes
- Going-out clothes
- Really dressy clothes
5- Within each category, divide by type:
- short sleeve shirts
- long sleeve shirts
- sweaters- fold
7- Try to hang everything you can hang. Take advantage of your closet organizers so you can hang or shelve purses, belts, ties and even jewelry. The idea is to get everything off the floor so you have plenty of room to move about. In a dorm, you’ll probably need the floor of your closet for your laundry basket and for shoes.
Packing Clothes Tips
Finally, as you work in your closet, keep a notepad near-by. Jot down ideas or thoughts. When you put a skirt away and think “I don’t have a shirt to match this,’ then write that down. Or ‘I don’t have but two dressy summer dresses, I need one,’ then write that down. Part of being cluttered is having too much stuff that we don’t need. So, before shopping for seasonal clothing, decide what it is you really can use. Then have fun shopping because you will feel good about your purchases.
Think if you can get away with just taking your warm weather clothing plus a jacket and sweater or two. If you will be coming home for a fall break or the holidays, you might be able to get your winter clothing at that time. It just depends on how far from home you will be, when you will get back home and how cold it gets early in the fall.
Shop from your own closet. Now that everything is divided in categories, it will be easy for you to take a portion of each category. This way you can pack some exercise clothes, but not all of them. Take a formal gown or two but not ten. Take a few dressy items for special occasions but leave some behind. You can swap out next semester or next year and wear the rest.
Sorting in to those categories will help you remember to pack a little of each thing that you will need.
Unless you are flying, take your clothing on hangers. Grab a few bed sheets. Spread one out on the bed. Pile garments, still on hangers, on the sheet until you have a large bundle. Tie the ends of the sheets together to hold the clothing in the sheet. Stack the bundles on the top of the things you load in the car. They will keep them clean and together during your travels to school and during the unloading and unpacking.
a professional organizer and member of the National
Association of Professional Organizers. She
has hauled things up nine flights of stairs and organized
dorm rooms at Ball State University, University of
Kansas and Florida State University. Her company,
Organize Right Now provides solutions for home, office
and life through consultation and hands-on organizing.
Visit her website, which includes a free complete
dorm packing list, at
College Survival Tips