While you are away at college your dorm room will be your official home for the school calendar year. It is where you will live, study, and even do a great deal of your socializing.
The problem is that dorm rooms are extremely small. It can feel like a virtual cubicle of space once your belongings and those of your roommate get in there. This means that you are going to have to do some very good organizing to make the best use of the space that you do have.
This can be no easy feat to accomplish when you arrive at college with all the basics of life that you need to sustain you for a year as well as your computer, school books and supplies, food etc. So where do you hide all that stuff?
Fortunately there are a few simple tips to help organize your belongings to make your dorm room feel much larger then it actually is. Just follow these ideas to help increase the use of your small space.
Take Stock of How Much Room You Have to Work With
Your room is definitely going to have a bed, a dresser, and likely a desk in it so you can start there. Make use of any space in, under, or around these furniture pieces.
The cardboard boxes or Rubbermaid containers that you use to cart your stuff to college in can also be used to store your items while you are there.
If you size these containers appropriately then they can often be stored under your bed and pulled out like drawers on a captain's bed when needed. You can use these handy homemade storage drawers for your folded clothing, winter coats, excess school supplies, or your bed linens.
If you have extra blankets with you for colder weather keep them folded at the foot of your bed when they are not in use. The main goal is to make your room look larger than it is. One way to do this is to try to keep your dorm room as uncluttered as possible.
Most Dorm Rooms Have a Desk in Them
Create much needed storage space where ever you have an extra nook to do it. It can be surprising how many areas can be utilized to compact your items and keep them from becoming clutter. Take advantage of any space that can be utilized.
Many dorms come with the basic furniture needed for a college student already in them. This is generally a bed, desk, dresser, and if you are lucky then your room may also come with a bookshelf and table.
Check out any nooks and crannies that you may be able to use for valuable storage space. If you are lucky you will get a desk with plenty of drawers. Even a small desk can have up to seven good drawers in it, three running up each side as well as a long drawer at the center of the desk. Those drawers can mean a lot of extra storage space for your school supplies.
If your desk is a table style without drawers there may be quite a bit of usable space under the desk This can be utilized to your benefit. After all, your legs only require so much room under there. Judge the space that you do have and use it to your advantage.
Cardboard boxes or plastic storage bins can easily be used to create handy shelves or drawers and can also be used to pack your belongings in when it is time to return home at the end of the year.
Take Advantage of Space Saving Products
Organize Your Closet to Give a Small Room More Space
Purchase "over the door" clothing racks for each of the doors in your dorm room. These handy items come in a variety of styles and easily fasten over the top of most door frames to provide handy hooks to hang your clothes on.
Racks, hooks, and shelves that drape over the door can create a tremendous amount of storage space. There are many of this type of space saver available and they can quickly turn wasted space into practical usable storage. Search online or at your local department store to find the solutions to your storage needs.
You can get these organizers with large pockets to store your clothes, shoes, and accessories in. These space savers work wonders for conserving space in small areas. For your closet area consider using space saver hangers. These handy units hold a number of shirts, or slacks, and utilize the length of your closet space as well as it's width. These are generally a series of loop hangers that dangle down from your closet clothes rod. You place a hanger holding shorter clothing items within each loop and thereby utilize as much of your available closet space as possible.
Although these space saving gadgets are generally quite reasonably priced you can probably even design your own closet savers if your money is too tight to purchase them.
Do You Have a Small Kitchen Area or do You Share Facilities?
Keep your kitchen electronics to a minimum or bring appliances that can be used for more than one function. For example leave your coffee pot and electric kettle at home. Not having these extra appliances will save you space and the water for your hot beverages can still be heated within a small microwave in about a minute.
Invest in instant coffee, chicken broth, hot chocolate, tea, and other beverages which can be easily prepared with hot water. Cereal makes a handy nutritious and reasonably priced snack for people who are always on the go but the boxes can be bulky.
Invest in a package of chip clips for sealing bags after they are opened. Handy little chip clips can reduce your bulky grocery purchases substantially especially where cereals are concerned. Remove your cereal bags from the boxes immediately after purchase and use chip clips to seal the bags shut.
Then send the bulky cardboard cereal boxes out of your dorm room, and for recycling, rather than allowing them to clutter up your small dorm room space. Chip clip as many bulky box purchases as possible.
Limit the Number of Electronics You Take With You
Most of us are quite addicted to our electronics. Computer, smart phone, game system, iPod, we tend to gather quite a few. Going off to college you may have to prioritize to condense down the ones you will take with you.
Give up the game system first. Yeah, I know it's a big "Eeek!" but you can play games on your phone, tablet, or laptop. Your main priority at school will be your work so your game systems can be easily set aside for a few months.
A laptop, Mac mini, notebook, or tablet computer take up a lot less space than a standard desktop computer will so think small.
The only issue with these smaller electronics is that these items are also much easier for someone to steal. Their small size makes them an easy target for thieves so be sure to keep your dorm room locked whenever you are not in it.
Bathroom do You Have Your Own or do You Share?
Again it all comes down to the space that you have in your dorm as to how well you will be able to organize the room you have. Some rooms have a small bathroom within them while others share a main bathroom with other students.
If you have a small bathroom in your room you can generally store items such as cleaning and laundry supplies there.
If you bathroom is not already maximized for space saving then consider purchasing a lightweight over the toilet shelving unit or a shower caddy. These items can often be easily put together or dismantled as needed and are both excellent items to help increase your bathroom storage space.
Create an Illusion of Size in a Small Room
Where ever possible allow as much light into your dorm room as possible. Light makes a small space seem larger, so if you have a window in your room keep the blinds open.
Depending on it's size, you can usually use the window sill as an extra shelf. There are a lot of little ways to make a tiny living space appear larger. Most just involve creating a little extra space by utilizing the area that you do have to the max.
Examine all the open spaces and cubby holes in your dorm room that you can use to your advantage. Then be creative and make the most of the space that you have to work with.
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