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6 Ways to Stay Sane When Moving to B-School

By now you’ve probably packed up, recruited the friends who will help you move (sign of a true friend!), and are staring down a moving day.

Now for the bad news: once you arrive, you’re going to be overwhelmed with things to do, and properly unpacking is going to slip down your to-do list. Below are some sanity-saving tips that I’ve gathered from other MBAs and my own experience moving to Evanston.

1. Get rid of that stuff

Your life is going to be pretty different in b-school, and you’re probably not going to need all those books, decorations, and garden gnomes. Be harsh. Toss it, donate it, sell it. Craigslist is a good resource; so is Brown Elephant or an organization like Zealous Good.

What about things that you need—like a bed and a kitchen table? If you’re not attached to the stuff you have now, consider getting rid of it locally and buying new stuff in your new home or using your roommate’s.

2. Get it out of your hair

Can’t bear to part with that box? Put it in storage and see if you really need it. If you don’t use it by spring, get rid of it before you graduate. Full disclosure: I own a storage company, so I’m a little biased here, but I firmly believe that it’s a good idea to “stage” things like this, whether they end up in your basement, your parents’ place, or at The Visible Closet. It’s a lot easier to convince yourself that you don’t need it if you don’t access it for 6 months.

3. Organize & take pictures of it

Digital pictures are cheap. As you disassemble your kitchen, entertainment center, and bedroom, take a picture of your stuff beforehand and as items go into boxes. Number your boxes and include the number in your shots, before you seal the boxes. Take close-ups of complicated set-ups (like behind your TV), and tape furniture hardware in baggies to the furniture (in an unobtrusive spot, of course—the underside of a table, for instance).

4. Get a bigger truck

Now granted, if you were really good at getting rid of stuff you’ll need a smaller vehicle—and I’m a big fan of shipping stuff where possible—but if you’re using a truck, you nearly always will need a bigger one than you had thought. I sure did.

5. Get there early

Make sure to schedule a full day when you won’t be unpacking (or buying insurance or running other errands) to walk around and explore your new city. You won’t have much time for this in your first few months in b-school, and you’ll miss it, especially if you’re in Chicago or Boston and your next break will be…when it’s snowing.

6. Going international? Ship it

If you are moving overseas, ship your stuff. It’s way easier than taking it with you. The hard part is having an address to ship to—check out storage facilities who will accept your boxes (another plug for The Visible Closet: we are happy to do this for you!) or have your roommate accept it, or just ship right before you leave.

Have fun exploring your new home! Remember: the class of 2011 is all jealous of you—you’re going to have a blast!

This piece was originally written for, an online lifestyle magazine that provides MBAs with national content covering popular topics such as Career, Family, Love & Dating, Social Life, and Style. Follow MBAsocial on Facebook or Twitter for the latest in business education news, social life and advice.

Photos courtesy of Karl Baron and Lenore Edman.