You’ve taken your last final, attended your last sporting event, and met your pals in the quad for a last disappointing — but nostalgic — meal. Now you’re ready to box up all your dorm or apartment belongings and leave the campus in the rearview mirror. If you’re returning to your parents’ house or moving into a super small space, what should you do with your furniture and other bulky belongings?
Sell or Donate Your Dorm-Room Duds
Image via Flickr by Matt Nazario-Miller
The saggy couch you found abandoned next to a dumpster and the unframed posters you inherited from last year’s graduating seniors might have looked cool — or at least natural — in your college pad, but now you’re closing that chapter and moving on. If you’re returning to live with your folks, they won’t want your dorm-room duds cluttering up their home, and if you’re getting a space of your own, you’ll want to decorate and furnish it as your first “adult” space.
College dorm decor and furnishings don’t necessarily translate well to a non-student home.
That doesn’t mean you should fill up a trash can with everything you don’t want to keep. Instead, consider selling or donating your large items so they can find new homes elsewhere. You might spread the word on campus before you leave so that next year’s sophomores, juniors, and seniors can get first dibs.
Several charities accept furniture donations. Some will even pick up the items from your dorm room or apartment so you don’t have to arrange transportation. However, avoid donating stained, dirty, or torn furniture, because the charity won’t have any way to profit from it. Instead, hire a junk removal or furniture removal service to dispose of these items.
Rent a Self-Storage Unit
You might want to keep some of your bulkier items, but if you don’t have anywhere to put them, rent a self-storage unit. Clean and reputable storage facilities will keep your furniture safe and secure until you’re ready to move it into a bigger place. If you don’t have enough items to fill an entire unit of your own, you could rent a storage unit with friends from college and split the cost.
It’s easy to maximize space in a storage unit. Utilize vertical cubic feet as much as possible by piling smaller and lighter items on top of larger, heavier pieces of furniture. Create an aisle through the center of the unit so you can get to the back, and consider using ropes or bungee cords to keep things in place.
In some cases, you can make furniture more conducive to storage. Taking the feet off a couch or the legs off a table, for instance, will make the furniture more stackable. You can also stand a table up in the unit and store smaller items underneath it.
If all else fails, pretend you’re playing a life-size game of Tetris. Give yourself 10 points every time you manage to fit boxes, cartons, or furniture together like puzzle pieces in the storage space.
Pass Down the Leftovers
You might have a few pieces that fall into a middle ground. You’re not sure you want to keep them for a future home, but selling or donating them doesn’t feel right, either. Consider gifting or loaning those items to someone you know on campus — or off. In a loan situation, that person can use them for the next year or so, after which you’ll have the option to take them back.
You could also save your college furniture in a self-storage unit until a younger sibling or relative heads off to university. You’ll pass down the items you loved while you were in college, and your family member won’t have to spend as much money to get outfitted.
Upcycle Your Favorites
Some of your bulky college furniture might not fit in a future space as it is, but could you repurpose it into something you’ll use? For instance, maybe you used one of those ubiquitous plastic drawer sets as your nightstand at college, but you’re ready for something more stylish. When you move into your first post-college apartment, put the ugly drawers in your closet and use them to store socks, shoes, or belts.
Or perhaps you’re never going to wear the endless supply of t-shirts you’ve collected during your four-year stay at college. Instead of tossing them in the trash, turn them into a nifty DIY rug. If you can’t bear to part with your armchair, consider learning how to re-cover it yourself with fabric from the discount bin at a craft store.
Moving out of your college space and into your next home might prove frustrating, but you don’t have to keep everything you own — or part with the things you love. Donating, selling, and upcycling are all solutions for a smooth transition.