There is a plethora of move-in techniques. There is the U-Haul (the better to bring your entire home with you), the packed car “with another one dropping stuff off next week,” the “fit as much as you can in the car and we’ll order the rest online,” the “as much luggage/boxes/bags as we can carry.” This list is by no means exhaustive — depending on what you’re bringing, when you want to have it, how much of it you want, you may use one of these methods, modify it or invent another one. Most people get creative when it’s a matter of getting more stuff.
Some people, however, do things a little differently.
Generally, when people walk into my room, the first thing they comment about is how clean it is. And (provided week 7 frenzy hasn’t gotten to me like it has), that’s generally true. But not for the reasons they think. I came to Stanford with two suitcases and a duvet, and there’s only so much you can fit in two medium pieces of luggage. When packing, I worried at first about not being able to bring things I thought I’d need. But I forced myself to be honest: I loved that dress, but how many times had I actually worn it in the past year? Would that somehow change in the next few months? Probably not.
I left behind a lot of stuff. However, I soon grew to appreciate the perks of travelling and living light. I had unpacked everything fifteen minutes after entering the room and was free to roam when many had either decided to procrastinate on unpacking or were still playing Tetris with the boxes under their beds. Stuff piling up creates clutter — if there is no or little stuff, there is no or little clutter without much cleaning needed. Less stuff means it’s easier to find what you are looking for, to pack, to get dressed, to adapt. I learned that I can do well with far less than I was used to having, to the point where I often wonder what I even would do now with all the extra stuff I had before.
I’m certainly not saying we should abandon all of our possessions and lead simple lives devoid of material abundance. But as summer nears and most of us begin packing, I think we should take some time to sift through all the stuff we’ve accumulated and decide what we should keep, donate, trade or sell. You’d be surprised by how much living lighter can help you live better.
Contact Axelle Marcantetti at axellem ‘at’ stanford.edu.