Moving From Home to Dorm – Part 1 : Decluttering

Moving away from home is hard. You might have lived there for many years and now you get to move into your own ‘house’ – even if it is just single room. But what to take? And more importantly, what to leave?

Apart from the easy answer of ‘whatever is on the list your uni gave you’ there are a lot of things you might be wondering if you could live without. Should I take my guitar? What about these books? Maybe my old photo album? What about this top I really like? Should I take those over there, just in case?

This post is about letting go of what you don’t need to minimise the amount of junk and clutter in your new dorm room.

When you get to your new room, the only place where the space is truly yours within those four walls. Unless you’re very lucky, those four walls will unfortunately probably be a little bit too close together. Unlike at home, you can’t really chuck all of your possessions all over the corridor or flat without it getting in someone’s way, so now is your chance to get rid of everything you literally don’t need almost everyday or week.

Minimalism is about reducing the clutter in your life. It’s about just having exactly what you need, nothing more. When you get rid of things you don’t need, you’ll be left with:

  • a lot of space – in your closet, under the bed, on your shelves, any where there used to be junk that you never used.
  • a clear mind – your desk will be clear, leaving you with a clear and organised mind, which increases productivity. There aren’t a lot of really productive people with piles and piles of papers and knick-knacks all over their desks.
  • only the things you love – you’ll only have the things you absolutely cannot get rid of, which means you probably use it or cherish it a lot.

Here’s a great post about minimalism:

Zen Habits – The Ultimate Guide To Conquering Your Clutter

How to Declutter for University | 5 Steps

So, moving on to how this directly applies to us students. You may want to follow these steps close to the time you are about to move, or you can choose to implement them a little bit before to make actual moving day easier.

1. Identify an area you want to concentrate on first. Try to pick an easy place to start, such as your desk or shelf, before you move on to places like under your bed and wardrobe. Block out time to do this, give yourself a lot of leeway, decluttering can take some time but it’s worth it.

2.Grab a big box or bag and label it ‘Uni’. Grab another and label it ‘Keep’. And grab another and label it ‘Throw/Donate’. Pick up one item at a time and think carefully about which box to put it in. The ‘Uni’ box is all of the stuff you absolutely want to take with you to uni, such as an item of clothing, or your desk lamp. The ‘Keep’ box is stuff that you won’t take with you, but you want to keep, such as an old photo album. The third box, ‘Throw/Donate’ is for things you literally don’t want, need or to keep. This stuff can be old clothes, books, old gifts, papers etc. etc.

3. Ask yourself. Is this item something I use regularly? If it’s not something I use regularly, is it something I love? Am I saving this just in case?

4. Be honest. If you’ve ever tried lying to yourself, you might know that it never works. Answer the questions honestly, and then act upon them. Don’t decide that you shouldn’t keep it and then you do, really really try hard to follow through with your decision.

5. Just get rid of it. If you’re unsure it’s probably because you don’t want to get rid of it, even though you know you should. In this case, you can put the item in a box, label it for a date, such as six months in the future, and if you haven’t made a claim on the anything in it, chuck the whole box.

Another approach for the ‘not sure’ items is to consider that maybe you should just get rid of if. The best thing about moving to uni is that you get to leave a lot of unwanted baggage behind. So do it now, leave it behind, university is the beginning of a new life, don’t let old things weigh you down.

It’s onwards and upwards from here.

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