So, it’s that time of year again. School is beginning again and you have a million things to worry about from courses to social life, to finances. You’re having stress dreams about future exams already and dying for a night out with your friends, who it feels like you haven’t seen in ages. Whether you’re heading off to uni for the first time, or the last, you’re faced with one task that that you know you shouldn’t put off any longer, but it really won’t be that big of a deal, right? Packing. It’s tedious and boring, but 100%, unavoidably necessary.

As a citizen of the United States, my transatlantic flight took a rather large bite out of my savings account, made several hundred dollars worse by the excess baggage charges. It was painful… and I thought I had packed light. Having gone through the undergrad experience of moving in and out of my university accommodation twice a year, I knew just how much a person can accumulate in that short space of time. Being a planner, I figured I would bring a few massive suitcases back when I visited home in the spring and have that much less to bring back in the fall.

Hahahahahaha! A word to the wise: you ALWAYS have at least twice as much stuff as you think. Seriously. It multiplies. It breeds. And it gets fatter, I swear. Those cases you were certain couldn’t weigh more than ten kilos are probably sitting somewhere around 25, and you haven’t even packed the books yet. It is remarkable too, just how much of your wardrobe seems essential as you’re heading off to uni. You’ve never worn that top before, but you just know you’ll regret not having it for that one night out where it could have changed your fate, so in it goes. And then, just like at home, it gets pushed to the back of your wardrobe and forgotten but at the end of the year, when you know you hardly spent any money on yourself at all and there really shouldn’t be any more stuff than you started out with, there it is again. Waiting to be packed away taking up space and weight. But you can’t give it away. You just can’t.

So what do you do? Well, here’s my advice: if you don’t wear it, don’t pack it, whether that means giving it away or leaving it at home, don’t bring it. If you wouldn’t hang it on your wall within a week of being at uni, you don’t need that picture frame. Downsizing is your friend. And if you ever think, that you’ll just bring some stuff home over the holidays to make the final move easier, you are already in the red zone for oversize baggage and the airlines will kick you (hard) while you’re down. It’s a hard life to live without a truly full wardrobe, but if you leave just a little extra room in your cases, maybe you can put that money you saved by not being over the baggage weight limit to use on flushing out your newly-minimised wardrobe.