Sadly its gets to that time of year when you have to move out of your student accommodation. Do not despair but it can be quite a stressful time as you are mixing socialising and possibly exams with packing your bags.
Prepare your packing in advance, doing it in one day is very stressful and mistakes are easily made as useful things are binned and rubbish is packed into boxes.
To get quick storage boxes, you can travel to major stores such as Ikea or supermarkets. To get cheap cardboard boxes, ask at supermarkets or retail shops. Banana Boxes and Crisp Boxes can be very useful.
Try to take some care over your packing too - you only have to unpack it all somewhere else. Rushed and messy filling of boxes will result in problems and frustration at your new place. It's seriously worth trying to sort out odd papers, notes and books too. I speak from experience here - shoving a load of papers in a box to sort out later doesn't help. A year down the line and I still haven't sorted through them. Try and do it before you move out and be enthusiastic with filling those recycling bags with your waste.
Handing in Keys
The University should tell you what to do about this in a either a letter and/or email. My university gave us the option of handing in at reception or putting it in an envelope with our details on.
With private landlords you are best contacting them to find out what their preference is. Some may wish to come and take the keys off you on the day you move out (and also check up on the property as you leave). Others may be happy for you to leave them in your room/pushed back through the letter box.
Just remember to leave all the keys that you were given or you could face deductions from your deposit for new ones. It will probably be cheaper for you replace any lost keys than leave it up to your landlord - who will probably also charge you 'time' for having to go and get the new keys.
Royal Mail offers a redirection service for mail that is delivered to your address. This can be found here.
It is always worth leaving a forwarding address with your landlord too, or leave a note in the house (my first house had forwarding address for the previous three years tenants). If it's not possible/inconvenient to leave address with the landlord, is there nice neighbour who would be willing collect any mail for you and pass it on?
Instead of taking it all back home with you, many companies offer the opportunity to store your stuff in a box in their warehouse over the summer. There are many companies in this market and you are advised to ask other which companies are the most reputable.
Ensure you clean everything before putting it the box and that none of it perishable over the three months. This will prevent the build up of anything in your box over the summer.
Choosing the right removal company will make your move much easier and without hustle. Depending on the place you are moving to, you might want to use a local or national remover. Good websites to have a look at are Robinsons Removals and Shiply, where you list your removal request and get quotes from removal companies travelling on the same route. Their rates are normally very good but make sure you check the removal company's feedback carefully before making decisions.
Chances are you moved in to your house when it was reasonably clean - and you will be expected to leave it in a good state too (check your contract - it most likely will be mentioned in there). It doesn't take long to give everything a really good clean, polish and hoover - if you're sharing a house a couple of hours work each should have the place looking great - especially if you have kept on top of everything over the year.
Failing to leave the place clean and tidy will mean your landlord will have to do it - this could mean getting cleaners in at professional rates. But you've moved out, so it won't be you paying? Wrong. Your landlord has your deposits and cleaning up after you is one of the most common reasons why you won't get it all back. It's really easy to avoid having to pay this, so make sure you don't loose money because of this.
Also, many houses come with an inventory - check this before you leave or again you could be charged for missing or broken items. It's best to have reported anything broken or lost to your landlord throughout the year - especially anything beyond normal wear and tear. If you've had a bad experience with your landlord though the year too, it might also be worth getting a few photos of the state you left the house in and of any "problem" items, just in case they try to pull a fast one. The vast majority (and certainly all I've come across) are honest people, but like everywhere in life a very small minority trying to make a bit of extra cash by exploiting people.
I've always made sure that my private rooms and communal areas have been at least as clean as when I moved in. It's never taken much effort and always (in 6 places) have I got my full deposit back - so it's easy for you to do so too!