Inside: Learn why you should declutter your room before leaving for college and how it can help facilitate the transition process.

A guest post by Rose Morrison

The transition to college life can be a stressful time for young adults.

You’re leaving the nest for the first time, living in a new location, and are surrounded by new people.

While there are some elements of the transition process that you can’t control, there are also a few things you can do to make the move to college simpler.

Giving your bedroom a thorough decluttering before relocating to college is one way to help with that stress and solidify the transition.

Here’s why you should declutter your room before leaving for college.

Reasons You Should Declutter Your Room Before Leaving for College

Here are five reasons that you should declutter your room before leaving for college.

1. Helps You Remember Everything You Need

folding clothes

You could write a moving checklist to help you remember everything for college, but it will be awfully long. Instead of overwhelming yourself with an extended laundry list before packing a single box, declutter your bedroom and see what you need the natural way. You will find many items that will come in handy at college:

  • Miscellaneous school supplies
  • Decorations
  • Photos
  • Books
  • Spare toiletries

Those additions are helpful and interesting, but your wardrobe will see the greatest benefits. No one realizes how many clothes they have until they take the time to empty their drawers and closets.

You might encounter forgotten shirts, pants, and other articles that will end up in your suitcase on moving day.

You will also notice clothes with holes, stains, and faded colors that no longer belong in your wardrobe. Instead of letting them continue to collect dust and take up space in your room, donate or throw them away. Be ruthless with getting rid of clothes you no longer love or wear.

Scouring your bedroom before leaving for college will ensure you remember everything you need. It will also unearth the things you didn’t remember that you still had.

As you are packing and preparing for college, keep in mind how much living space you will have after your move. If you’re living in a shared room, you don’t want to bring too much stuff because you may find you run out of space to comfortably store it.

You have to sort through your old belongings eventually, so you might as well do it during the moving process. Decluttering will benefit you and your family. If they need to repurpose the room or happen to relocate while you’re in school, being proactive in getting rid of what you don’t need before you leave will lessen the burden for them.

2. Gives Your Family a Chance to Reminisce

declutter your room before leaving for college

You should devote as much time as you need for decluttering your room, but don’t procrastinate or needlessly prolong the process. The longer you wait, the less motivated you will be to sort through your old stuff.

Consider involving your parents in the process. Keep in mind that your departure is a major change for them, too – especially if you’re the first child to leave the house. They devoted their lives to giving you this educational opportunity, so do them a favor and let them reminisce with you for part of an afternoon.

Decluttering gives you and your parents a chance to relive memories. Set aside sentimental items such as pictures or vacation momentos that would be fun to look at with them. Retell stories of special memories you shared together and allow yourself to get a big nostalgic.

It may be tempting to try and avoid this time of reflection. After all, it could be emotional. But you’re going to be feeling those feelings anyway so being able to process those thoughts and feelings together can be a great bonding experience.

3. Establishes Closure

wrong way sign

About 30% of college students drop out after their first year. Decluttering your room can help you establish closure and look ahead to the next chapter of your life if you’re worried about getting homesick when you’re away.

It forces you to face the memories of your childhood head-on and make practical decisions about what to bring and leave behind.

Leaving your bedroom dirty and disorganized will linger in the back of your mind once you leave for college. You will stress about forgotten items and feel regretful because you didn’t take the time to sort through your belongings.

The average American spends over two days a year looking for lost items. You don’t have to contribute to that statistic

The transition to college is challenging enough without those negative feelings weighing you down and impacting your studies. Simplifying your stuff and clearing out the unwanted items from your past can help clear your mind and have a fresh start in college.

While the decluttering process can get emotional at times, it can also give you a sense of relief and closure.

A clean room reinforces the fact that you will no longer be a full-time resident at your childhood home. It is the final step in taking ownership and being responsible for your things.

It’s also an effective reminder that your life is moving forward and you’ll be living in a new place, whether you feel fully prepared or not. Every college student has that sobering realization at some point, so you might as well process it on your own terms.

4. Makes Your Return More Satisfying

declutter your room before leaving for college

Decluttering will make your departure easier and your return more satisfying. A clean and organized bedroom will be waiting for you the first time you come back home from college.

It doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but this will help you relax and unwind – especially if you attend a school far from home and have had a long trip.

A clean room will also boost your mental health and help you disconnect from the stresses of college. Dorm rooms tend to get messy because of students’ busy schedules and fast-paced lifestyles.

If you go from cluttered room A to cluttered room B, you might not feel like you left college at all. On the other hand, going from a chaotic to clean space can be a huge stress reliever.

Imagine coming home to a made bed, organized drawers and a spotless floor. Doesn’t that sound better than returning to a mess? Declutter your room before you leave to make your first return more satisfying.

5. Simplifies Future Moving Days

declutter your room before leaving for college

Moving to and from college will get easier through practice, but decluttering your bedroom before the initial move will simplify things from the get-go and help with future moves. Clean up the mess and consolidate your belongings now so you can spend less time creating a checklist and looking for items next time you move.

However, this idea only works if you keep your room organized during the summer. Don’t allow it to get cluttered again. Make the first decluttering phase last as long as possible so you can reap the benefits throughout your college years. 

You might have to work harder this time around, but your future self will appreciate the effort and have an easier time moving to college in the coming years.

Declutter Now & Enjoy the Benefits

Cleaning your bedroom might be the furthest thing from your mind as you prepare to leave for college, but it can help ease the transition in many ways.

On the practical side, it will help you remember everything and simplify future moving days. Sentimentally, it gives your family time to reminisce, helps establish closure and makes your return more satisfying. Declutter your room now to enjoy the benefits of decluttering right away.

Rose Morrison is a freelance writer who covers home décor and organization tips. She is also the managing editor of Renovated. You can check out her Twitter to see more of her work.

Did you declutter your room before leaving for college? Share about it in the comments section!

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