I lived in two different homes during my four years of high school. Because of an unusual family predicament, I would live mostly by myself during the week and go “home” to live with my parents on the weekend. Mondays through Fridays, I’d go to school and, apart from ferrying myself to and from where I needed to be, I had a pretty normal school week. Friday evenings, I scrambled to gather all my books, papers, and whatever else I needed for the weekend. Sunday evening was a repeat of Friday evening, with me always clamoring to make sure I didn’t forget anything.
It’s not easy living in two different places. Packing, a seemingly simple task, can be incredibly nerve-racking, especially for those who need to move around every couple of days. Due to the constant shuffling around, transitioning from place to place, and constant panic over ensuring I’d brought everything I needed, I often felt a lack of stability in my life. Over the past four years, I’ve experimented with different methods to try and make packing easier. These are, of course, methods that work for me. Everyone is different, and everyone has an approach that works best for her, but I’d like to share a few of mine in the hopes that they can inspire or encourage some of you.
The three main points I’d outline are: 1) Don’t spread everything out. 2) Reduce the amount of necessary stuff you bring back and forth. 3) Schedule time for packing. Below are some specific tips that I’ve found helpful in reducing stress and packing more efficiently.
- Separate what you bring with you from what stays at each house. Try to have a designated space for books and other supplies. I like to keep a corner of my desk clear for all my notebooks and binders. When I need to pack, I know I have everything I need in that corner.
- When you unpack, don’t spread everything out. Spreading everything out makes it easier for you to forget or misplace something. If you’re ever in a hurry, you’ll also have less trouble locating what you need.
- Have a set of necessary supplies at each house. I try to keep a set of my favorite pens, highlighters, and notebook paper at each of my homes so I don’t need to lug them around every few days. It can also be nice to have a handful of supplies at each location, so you always feel prepared.
- Semi-divide your wardrobe. Have a couple of basic clothing items that look nice with any outfit (think neutral colors, jeans, V-necks, solid sweaters) at each home.
- Keep one bag of makeup and toiletries to bring back and forth. Only take out products that are absolutely necessary, and keep the number of these products to a minimum.
- Make travel days buffer days. Plan to finish your assignments the day before you are leaving. Rushing to finish an assignment and pack later can be very stressful. Even if you aren’t able to finish your assignments as planned, you’ll still likely have less to do and a much less hectic day.
- Pack right after you finish an assignment. Finished with a problem set and don’t need your textbook anymore? Put it in your backpack and reduce the amount of stuff you need to pack later.
- Schedule packing time. Incorporate a set amount of packing time into your schedule. If you give yourself time to pack and plan around it, you’ll be less stressed and rushed.
- Use a weekly or monthly planner for special events. That way, you are able to see what will happen in advance and pack accordingly, which relieves unnecessary stress.