Illustration by Sofia Bews.

Illustration by Sofia Bews.

This is not a hypothetical skill you might need to learn, even though I wish it were. The day will almost certainly come for you, Rooks. Even if you live at home now, when this happens will come sooner than you think. You’ll need to move. Now. Immediately, with little to no warning. You might have to move into or out of your dorm room in a ridiculous, hours-long window of time. You might break up with someone you live with, and break up so badly that you have to get your stuff out by tonight. You might even come home one night to an eviction notice stuck on the front door and learn that you’re being displaced by a landlord who wants to turn your rickety old apartment into condos. At the end of the month. Which is in 13 days. It’s time to learn to move out, and to move out fast.

Most important: Get help. Try your absolute hardest to get someone to help you. Two sets of hands are better than one, and much more efficient than yours all alone, exhaustedly trying to move heavy dresser drawers at 1 AM. The problem: Almost no one, not even your best friend, wants to help other people move, but hello! This has to get done, and guess what? Everyone moves. Everyone moves a LOT in their late teens and early 20s especially, and they are all going to be in your shoes and need help moving eventually, too. Do whatever it takes to get help, including bribing friends with food, a little money if you have it, or promised help for their future moves. If money isn’t a problem, hire someone to help you. Doesn’t have to be a professional! Offer one or two strong (important), high-energy (very important), and cheery (most important!) friends $$ and/or a meal, and set a time limit (e.g., “We will be done in three hours”) and watch how quickly you get moved. The more people you can get, the easier this will go, and it might (maybe) even be fun.

Repeat after me: Garbage bags are your friends. Packing everything in organized, meticulously labeled boxes is great if you have that kind of time, but we don’t. You can actually pack a hanging closet full of clothes in a few minutes. Get high-quality, 30-gallon trash bags, and start grabbing clothes still on the hangers in your closet. Don’t take the clothes off the hangers! That will just add more time later when you have to rehang them! Throw your shoes and bags in the garbage sacks, too, and poof! You’re good to go. Actually, toss anything soft or squishy, like bedding, sofa cushions, and coats, into garbage bags, too. We are not worrying about looking cute, here! We are simply moving as speedily as we possibly can.

Get rid of stuff. How long have you had that random jar of cinnamon you never use? Throw it out! What’s yours in the fridge? Toss anything you can’t remember when you bought it away. Is that cracked mug really that special? How long has the lid on this Rubbermaid container been missing? Why do you own so many dried up Sharpies? What’s even in this desk drawer? Guys, THROW IT OUTTTTT. Don’t pack nonsense like empty shampoo bottles, socks with holes, jars with one pickle left in brine, or mostly used-up cleaning supplies. Make use of your trash bags to pitch old, worn, or unusable belongings, and donate stuff you’re no longer using! Do this rapidly, in each room, and make sweeping decisions. If the chair has been been broken for a year, you are never going to fix it. Don’t pack it—tell it goodbye!

Use your drawers. You know how your dresser drawers are full of clothes? Wrap anything fragile or breakable (dishes! collections! framed art!) in your clothes, and you can skip irritating, time-wasting steps like carefully wrapping each drinking glass that belongs to you in newspaper. Bubble wrap and newspaper wrapping? We only WISH we had that kind of time, but no. You’re moving your clothes, your dresser drawers, and your breakable crap in one fell swoop. You’re a genius.

Stop thinking. Just go. This is just moving. You are literally just picking up items and bringing them somewhere else to put down. You are a tireless ant, working ceaselessly, never stopping to survey the room in dismay to count the number of garbage bags and boxes. Just look at the item directly in front of you, pick it up, and bring it to a new, waiting-for-you place. This is exercise. This is a meditation. You are focusing on the present, and you are changing your life, and in the very near future, you’ll be curled up, sound asleep in your new place. You can do it! Let’s get this move over with so it can all just be a memory! ♦