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Moving during grad school can be annoying. I have had to move every single year that I have been in grad school. Most of the time it was not my choice but due to some outside factor. This year is the exact same thing. Yesterday was my final day at one of the coolest places that I have lived. To say that I will miss living there is an understatement. Moving is not fun at all and can be quite stressful, especially for those in graduate school that might not be able to take time off work to move out.
Moving during grad school can be exciting, though, and often we tend to look at the negative sides and not the positive aspects of it. I want to go over the many different ways to prepare for the move out day during grad school to mae sure that things go smoothly and efficiently.
This blog is for those people/students that are required to move out while doing experiments or continuously work through the process. I am under the experiment category as well as the “my qualifying exam is next week” category. If you are unfamiliar with what a qualifying exam is, it is basically an oral presentation and written exam to qualify to be a PhD candidate. It is also referred to as a candidacy exam. So moving out is not the best thing to do right now. Oh well, that’s life and I am trying to enjoy it the whole way through. But, if you find yourself in a situation like mine, here are a few tips that can help with the move out.
Tips on moving during grad school
1) Plan ahead.
Start cleaning up and boxing up things way in advance so you are not scrambling at the last minute. This will reduce stress and probably save you hours of valuable experimentation time. I promise you, start early. Make a list of things that need to be set aside and also a list of things you probably don’t need anymore. Look around your room and decide what will come and what is going in the trash.
2) When looking at your stuff, purge the things you don’t use.
This will help with overall stress and anxiety, plus getting rid of stuff is really good for your mental health. If you haven’t used it in the last year, get rid of it. By get rid of it, either sell or donate the items. Someone probably needs it more than you. I like going to the Good Will down the street. If you are going to do this, I’d suggest doing it very early into the moving season. Many people drop stuff off there and they do hit a limit eventually. You don’t want to pack everything up, drive there, and find out they won’t take your stuff. Sometimes, larger items such as beds and furniture can stay in the current residence. Ask your landlord if this is ok which will make the move way easier since you don’t have to lug around any heavy items.
3) Ask for help.
My roommates helped a ton and so did my friends. Do not do the move alone! Moving alone is awful and can be dangerous at some times. This is why, when moving in grad school, always ask for a little assistance. Your neighbors might help, the friends you have will definitely help, and se if your parents or relatives can join. Make a whole party. Moving really isn’t fun without the help of someone else. Always make sure to feed them and maybe pay them some money, though. Moving is difficult and their help is quite valuable. Pizza is always a good option!! Oh, and make sure there is plenty of water. You will be working hard and you’ll need it.
4) Buy a ton of cleaning products.
You will need to clean, and clean a lot. Make sure to get paper towels and good cleaning sprays. Do not mix them!!!!! I got bleach for the bathroom and then fabuloso for the kitchen and bedroom. You need to clean everything pretty well because you want that security deposit back $$$. It is also nice to just deep clean the place anyway. Some places haven’t been thoroughly cleaned in years and it is time.
Make sure to vacuum all of the nooks and crannies and make sure the whole place sparkles. You do not want your landlord to hold on to that security deposit because there was trash in a corner of the house. If you have roommates, make sure they are cleaning as well. Put on some music, get on clothes that you won’t mind cleaning in, and get to town. Honestly, this is one of the biggest pains in the neck when it comes to moving in grad school, but it is essential.
5) Take time to relax too.
Moving is super stressful and quite exhausting, mentally and physically. Make sure to take breaks and take them often. You need the energy and mental focus to be able to finish the job before the landlord comes and kicks you out. Always take breaks. In fact, make sure that you schedule breaks into your cleaning and moving schedule. This comes with the “plan ahead” part. You will be surprised how much effort it takes to move during grad school. You’ll be exhausted by the end of the day and that’s why relaxing is so important. Make sure to schedule some time, like 10 minutes every hour, to just sit and have some water.
6) While working, play some good music.
I tend to put on fast paced music which really gets me moving. Moving stuff is almost like going to the gym. You’ll be lifting stuff, running around, grunting, swearing, and sweating like a pig. Yep, practically a gym workout. Makes sure to play music that everyone in the place loves. This will make sure that everyone is efficiently working and aren’t thrown off by some music they don’t like. Bust out your stereo and crank up the volume. Just try and do this during the day, lol. you don’t want your neighbors calling the cops.
7) Pack everything into boxes and label them.
This is so important because you will lose items in the process of moving. Get organized and use boxes to stay organized. When you unpack, you’ll know exactly what is where and that will cause less stress later. This is huge! The most frustrating thing that you can have happen is trying to find something important at your next place, but not being able to because it’s hidden away in an unknown box. Make suure to label the boxes and keep them pretty categorized. Put pots and pans in one box and maybe desk stuff in another. This will make unpacking a piece of cake and you won’t lose any items in the process.
8) If you are going to get a storage unit or U-Haul, book them early.
My roommate made this mistake and waited until 3 days before moveout to see if there were storage units available or U-hauls. NOPE. All gone. Luckily our landlord is letting him keep his stuff at the current house until he moves to the next house. Some landlords are just awesome.
Since you live in a college town, U-hauls will be seen as essential. People are constantly moving from place to place in college. This si why booking one early basically secures your chance of having an easy transition to your new place. Storage units can fill up quickly too. Book them at least a month ahead of move-out. You may have to search since people have already booked them, but you’ll find something. If you are looking a week prior to move-out, good luck.
9) Make sure to cancel the utilities.
You don’t want to have to keep paying even after you are gone. Trust me, it’s not fun getting extra bills. So make sure that you cancel prior to leaving. This is as easy as a phone call or just going online and cancelling. I am pretty sure you can set the date to when they turn off utilities. Sometimes, your landlord may say to keep them on. In this case, follow their instructions but make it clear that you don’t pay for anything after your move-out date. Don’t get conned into paying for something that you’re not using.
10) Make sure to save up money prior to moving.
It can get expensive for sure. Save money from your last few paychecks specifically for moving out. It is a must. If you know that you are going to move out, then start saving now. Security deposits, pet fees, and your first month’s rent can really break the bank. You do not want to be living in a place and not being able to eat because you spent all of your money on the rent and fees. Start saving as soon as you can and set aside this money as “moving money”. You’ll also need some for the pizza you are buying everyone for helping you move lol.
Have Fun! I can’t stress this enough. Have fun with moving. You will associate moving with a good time later down when you have to do it again and it will make things way easier for you. Honestly, have fun with everything you do in life. Being stressed out all of the time is terrible and you don’t need that in your life.
Moving while in grad school doesn’t have to be terrible. With the right amount of planning ahead, it can actually be quite fun. Sometimes, outside factors make it hard to stay in one place so you have to move. If this is the case, follow my step by step approach and your move out will be easy and successful.
Anyway, I hope that your move-out is easy and stress free. Mine was easy because I did exactly what I wrote about. If it worked for me, it will work for you. See ya next time.