Simple tips for packing up for the summer

Whether you’re moving apartments or clearing out your dorm, packing up your entire life into boxes can be a daunting task. Where do you start? How much do you leave in storage? Where can you find storage?

Two people holding large boxes that are obscuring their faces. Photo: Karolina Grabowska

As an out-of-province student, bringing home all my stuff was out of the question, and so these were all questions I had as the end of the year started to approach.

Packing is a big task, especially if your trip home limits the amount of bags you can carry. But before you start throwing things away, renting an extra car, or buying more checked bags at the airport, try using some of these tips I learned to help lower your baggage count, and make the move-in process for the next year that much easier.


Pack up the winter

When I packed for school in the first year, my car was completely full, which is why I was so nervous when both my best friend and I were getting picked up and driven home together. How could we possibly fit all our stuff in one car if I could barely fit mine in? Then I remembered that I packed for the entire year—all four seasons spread out in boxes and suitcases.

When you go home, unless you’re going somewhere in the southern hemisphere where it’s cold in July, there's no need to bring back boots, hats, mittens, jackets, or whatever it is you need for the winter. This includes clothing you wouldn't dare put on when the temperature reaches 25°C.

Of course, this all depends on if you find storage (I’ll get to that, don’t worry!), but only packing the stuff you need for the summer months can help knock down your item count. Think of it like going on an extended summer vacation at your house—only bring what you’ll need. I’m sure you won’t miss your winter jackets too much.


It’s all about storage

This is one of the most important parts of packing, no matter if you’re an in-province, out-of-province, or even international student. Knowing how and where to store the stuff you don’t want to bring with you can help avoid unwanted packed cars or chaotic airport experiences—not to mention relieving the stress of having to repack everything once September arrives. Here are a few things I learned about how to store my stuff:

  • Purchase bins: Though this all depends on how much stuff you have, and where you’ll be storing it, I suggest purchasing storage bins from places like Walmart or IKEA. For a relatively cheap price, you can buy ones that have sturdy lids and enough room to fit all your stuff.
  • Use strong tape: One of my biggest fears was having the lids to my bins pop open, allowing all the little critters that love the cold, dark, and damp atmosphere of a storage room to make their new home. My storage bins were packed fuller than they should have been, so of course I had to find a solution. I wasn’t about to buy a whole new bin for what would’ve been a few extra items, so I bought a roll of duct tape that I wrapped around all my bins to ensure the lid stayed on. It worked like a charm!


Now, where do you put all your stuff once it's all packed up? You have a few options:

  • If you’re moving back into residence for the next year, Dal offers summer storage. An email regarding storage information usually gets sent to your Dal email sometime in late March or early April. Last year, we were limited to storing four items, all having to be labelled with your name and student ID. Check the residence website for more information on Dal storage.
  • You can rent a storage locker at a nearby storage facility. Since this option can get a bit pricey, I’d consider finding some friends in a similar situation to split the monthly fee. Also, remember you'll need to find a way to transport your items to and from the facility. If everything checks out, then this can be a great way to keep your stuff safely stored over the summer.
  • Ask a friend! If you’re not planning on returning to residence, or you just have too much stuff for Dal storage, ask if you can keep some stuff at a friend's place. Just be mindful of how much space they have and how much stuff you need to be stored.
  • If you’re taking over a lease in May but are leaving the city/province before then, ask the current tenants if there’s a room you can keep your stuff in before May 1. Just make sure it’s dry and can ideally be locked.


There are also things you need to do to close up your apartment if you're coming back to the same place at the end of the summer (lucky you!). Check out these tips.