The semester is over. Whether that means you’ll be going home for Christmas, going home for the summer, moving out permanently to fulfill your post-college plans, or will be staying on but want to take back control over your space, decluttering is a necessary step to take to restore order and sanity to your life. So what needs to go?
Paperwork and other class detritus. Once a class is over, the most important benefits you received from it will be what you retain internally: what you remember. Sure, if you wrote a stellar paper or did a project you’re particularly proud of, feel free to hang on to the evidence. It may someday come in handy. But the vast majority of what you wrote down on paper are best consigned to the recycle bin and not a corner of your closet.
Clothes that don’t fit or don’t fit your lifestyle. The Freshman Fifteen is real, and that doesn’t mean that extra weight has to or will stick around, but at the end of every semester, it’s a good idea to take stock of your wardrobe and figure out if you are still wearing the same things. Space in a dorm room or an apartment is at a premium, and so it works against your interest to keep things that are ripped, damaged, outdated, unflattering, unnecessary in the next step of your life, or no longer fit.
Sentimental junk. Ticket stubs, souvenirs for weekends away, dried flowers from old bouquets, posters, figurines, stuffed animals – all of these dust gatherers are hard for people to let go of, but generally add little to their lives. If you find it terribly hard to part with these types of things, take a photo of it and then let it go. It’s easier to keep track of photo files than boxes of miscellaneous items.
Office supplies you never used. People have their own unique methods for studying, organizing, and keeping on top of things, but you will probably find that if you don’t like using note cards, you won’t ever use note cards – so get rid of them. This applies to folders, writing utensils, paper stock, whatever. It’s likely that someone near you does use that type of thing, and perhaps they have something you’d like as well. Either way, if you don’t use it, get rid of it.
Anything that’s not yours. College rooms and apartments tend to be magnets for borrowed or left behind items. If you have books, clothes, DVDs, or computer equipment that does not belong to you, take the time now to get it back to its rightful owner. With any luck during this process, you’ll get back some of your own stuff too.
It’s helpful to learn the decluttering habit early before the moving process becomes both a week-long chore and an emotional storm trigger, and anyone who has to help you lug this stuff around will be eternally grateful for the time you spend now organizing your things and getting rid of what you no longer need. It will make getting ready for summer or fall that much easier as well. The spring semester’s over! Onward and upward!