Clutter to Classic: The T-Shirt Quilt
The final month countdown to school consists of many things: deciding what to pack, going through your belongings to size them down, and quite a few other routines. If this is your first time leaving for college, especially, you might feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to prepare.
Something I have found extremely valuable while away at college is a very simple item—but one that provides me with a lot of memories while I’m away. It’s a T-shirt quilt. I was going through some old clothes I wanted to get rid of before returning to school, and suddenly the idea popped into my head. I researched online to find companies that you could send your old T-shirts to, that would then make them into a quilt. It was a great way to preserve the shirts that were taking up space in my dressers because I never wore them anymore, but that I still wanted to hold onto for sentimental reasons.
After some very meticulous research, I came across The Quilt Loft. They charged you by the T-shirt, so you could control how expensive it would be to send everything off. They charged a deposit onto my credit card first and then took the rest of the money from the sale after they had already shipped the finished quilt to me. Compared to many other companies, The Quilt Loft was the least expensive and they did an amazing job! Check out the first photo of the professionally done quilt I received from them.
I eventually ended up finding more T-shirts and, instead of spending more money to have them made into another quilt, I made my own! I already had a black throw I wasn’t using at home, so I cut and sewed the shirts onto them. Then I bought another black throw and quilt batting from the local craft store and sewed it all together. The second photo is of my own homemade quilt!
Having these two quilts at school is a great way to remind me of home when I’m away. They’re also quite useful for taking naps when I’ve had a long day! Sometimes if you don’t want to use the quilt on your bedspread, you can even hang it on your wall as decoration.
Obviously, when you compare both of the quilts, the professionally made product is nicer, but I would say my handmade quilt is a close second, especially in terms of comfort. I really love both of my T-shirt quilts, and now I have loads of memories that have been converted into practical, everyday items.
Some things to consider when looking at quilting companies:
-How do they charge you? Is all of the payment upfront or is it in increments?
-How big do you want your quilt to be? If the company charges by the T-shirt, be sure to be reasonable with your own price range when deciding which shirts to send.
-What extras would you want? Sashing is when there is a type of “border” around each shirt, instead of having the shirts sewn right next to one another. This usually costs more.
As you can see from the first photo, my professional quilt has sashing and is 3×4 shirts in width and length. The total for my quilt was $159, compared to $300+ for the same thing from other companies. It was an investment in something I will definitely value for years to come.
Click the link below to experience The Quilt Loft for yourself!
Moving Home: What To Do With Your Stuff
At the beginning of the year you feel organized and ready for what’s to come. You have your closet and shelves arranged just the way you want, and your drawers organized perfectly. There is nothing hiding under your bed or shoved on top of you desk. You promise yourself (and your roommate) that it will stay this way all year.
Fast forward to May. Finals are over, classes are done and you are now faced with the daunting challenge of not only cleaning your room, but packing it. Somehow the “clean” space you once set up has morphed into a sinking hole of stuff. You have shoes here, there, behind that, under there. Your books are stacked, your papers thrown; nothing is where it once was. How did that happen? Where did the time go, or more importantly, where did all this stuff come from?
Regardless of where it came from, you have to get it together—literally, and move out before the semester is over. This year it took me three days to pack my room. One day to wrap my head around the amount of physical stuff I had to pack, and two to actually move and organize it.
I don’t want the same thing to happen to you, so let’s lay some ground rules. How are you going to go through your stuff and be sane enough to make the journey home? Don’t worry, no stress. There is an easy way to visualize and prepare for the task that lies ahead. Take notes, grab some water, and maybe change into some workout clothes! (I’m not ashamed to admit that I broke a sweat just starting to think about compacting my room into rubber maids—whew, what a workout!)
First, you need to mentally prepare. Put on some music and wrap your mind around what you’re about to do. This is a big job. It won’t take five minutes, and it doesn’t need to take all day. Start small and work in areas! If you want to tackle the closet first, great! If not, try the drawers! Whatever puts you most at ease is fine.
Second, make piles. The great thing about college is that no one forces you to keep anything. Find something you know you’ll never need, or use again? That’s okay! But before you toss it, think about where it could go. Is it reusable? Could someone else benefit from the unused treasure that just emerged from under your bed? I would recommend making three piles as you organize: One for trash, one for goodwill or donations, and one for stuff to keep. This way, once you make it through everything you have a visual sense of what you’re taking with you, what you are getting rid of and what you need to find a new home for.
If you can, check with your campus for collection sites, or dorm drives. At some campuses student groups will hold collections for unwanted, gently used items that can be donated to local shelters, homes, and thrift centers. It saves you a trip, and goes to a good cause—win, win!
So you’ve made piles, you’ve organized your stuff into the must-haves and no-goes, so what comes next? Now you have to pack efficiently so if can all fit in the car. What has worked best for me over the last few years is rubber maids. You can buy them from Target or Wal-Mart for relatively cheap—or you can keep an eye on sales, you never know when they’ll pop up!
Storage bins are light weight, easy to pack, and fit A LOT of stuff in them. I broke it down into categories—one for clothes (most likely fall and winter since you won’t be using those anytime soon), one for desk and “school stuff” (stapler, hole punch, random paperclips, folders, and paper), and then one for bed stuff and towels. By compartmentalizing your room into categories you don’t get overwhelmed by volume. The simple categories are easy to comprehend and will make for easy unpacking and storage as well!
Don’t get stressed at the thought of packing your room. If you go slow, and take breaks—including some time to dance around to music, time will fly and before you know it your room will be empty and you’ll be ready and rolling out the door! But don’t forget—now that you’ve packed up your room, keep track of your system and take note of where you put everything. August will be here in the blink of an eye and it will be move in day once again!
I’m reading Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes
What to Bring (and What Not to Bring) to College
College is a new beginning. But before you can reach the new beginning, you’ve got to pack up your things and empty your closet. When packing for college I found myself asking what to bring and what not to bring to school. After a year of school, I’ve finally figured it out! So to save you from the stress of what to pack, I’m here to save the day.
First thing, you don’t need to pack all of your winter clothes/gear right away. If possible, leave your winter clothes at home with your parents and then fetch them when the weather gets cold. Winter clothes/coats take up A LOT of closet space that is hard to come by in a dorm room. If nothing else, when you go home for thanksgiving break retrieve all your boots, scarves, mittens, hats, and coats then.
Next, when it comes to childhood items such as your old blanket, favorite stuffed animal or other items of importance, bring them. This might surprise you, but there is comfort in the familiar. When you’re having a bad day, these are the type of items that might slightly cheer you up when your family and home is nowhere to be found. If you must, hide them in your closet and just bring them out when necessary.
Lastly, bring a positive attitude. It might sound cliché, but this will greatly improve your liking of college. If you release your inhibitions and try new things you will make a lot of new friends. When your dorm has welcome activities try to participate and have a good time. Everyone goes into college with some concerns, but not everyone embraces them. Think lightly and with a joyful point of view.
First thing not to bring is high school drama. In college, no one cares who you WERE in high school. It doesn’t matter if you were the prom king or band nerd, everyone has a fresh start and new impressions to make. Forget about your old boyfriend/girlfriend drama or the people you may not have gotten along with, it’s a new start for them too. In college you can become who you want to be and let go of the past.
Next, do not bring too many knick-knacks. It’s hard enough to keep a dorm room clean, but when you have little knick-knacks sitting everywhere, it’s 10X harder. Don’t bring things that are just going to get in your way. Ask yourself when packing, “Have I used this item in the last 6 months?” If the answer is no, you’re probably not going to need it at school. Try your best not to over pack and to only pack what you will use on a regular basis.
Lastly, do not bring everything for your new room. The best idea is to buy some basic essentials and then to buy things like room decor, once you’re at school. I was so excited about my new room that I went out and bought everything at once. I realized when packing that my car was going to be a little snug. There are many things I initially brought that I could’ve waited to get until I got here. Think about what you really need and don’t need and plan a shopping day once you reach your destination.
I hope my input will save you from some serious packing stress. Enjoy everything about this new transition in your life, without the worries. Happy packing J
I’m reading Experiencing the World’s Religions