Organizing College Dorm Rooms; Ideas To Make The Most of Small Spaces
PLAN AHEAD FOR FURNITURE AND DECOR
If you know ahead of time who you are going to be rooming with, talk with your future roommate in advance to avoid duplication of larger items such as furniture, television, microwave etc. You could also discuss decorating, and come up with a style or theme together so that your décor doesn’t clash with what your roommate brings to the room.
Measure the spaces in your dorm room and take photos to ensure that everything you are bringing will fit into the spaces available. Try rearranging the existing furniture or stacking the beds to create more space.
ESTABLISH ZONES WITHIN YOUR COLLEGE DORM ROOM
If possible, create small areas for different activities such as studying, sleeping, entertainment and eating. Store everything that you need for each activity in their assigned zones. For example, for studying, create a place to store pens, pencils, highlighters, a comfy pillow, portable light, glasses, etc. so that you will have everything you need at your fingertips when it is time to study.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERY INCH OF STORAGE SPACE
Bed risers and under the bed storage bins are a great way to utilize the space underneath your bed for extra storage space. Add storage cubicles to the bottom of your closet if you are short on shelf storage. Over the door pocket organizers, are great for extra closet and bathroom storage.
STORE IN-SEASON CLOTHING ONLY
Bring only your summer and fall clothes to school until cooler weather arrives. Take your summer clothes home with you and bring back your winter clothing as the weather changes. You will free up much needed space in your closet if you only store the clothing suited for the current season.
MAKE USE OF HANDY ORGANAZING PRODUCTS
Stackable storage cubes are perfect for college dorm rooms because they not only to give you extra storage space, but can also double as night stands or end tables. 3M command hooks are handy for hanging purses, coats, robes etc., and they can be placed anywhere without causing damage to the wall. Inexpensive plastic portable drawer systems can be placed in your closet for extra drawer space.
USE A CHECKLIST TO ENSURE THAT YOU DON'T FORGET ANYTHING
Visit the following website to print off a checklist of recommended necessities to bring along with you to your college dorm room: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-in/making-a-decision/off-to-college-checklist. Knowing what to bring will not only ensure that nothing essential is left behind, but will help you to avoid bringing items that you don’t need, that ultimately end up cluttering up your small space. This list is exhaustive, so you won't need to bring everything on the list, think about what you really need and only bring what you will use. You may also be able to share some of these items with your roommate which will save on space.
Take Time To Plan - Weekly planning sessions will have a big impact on helping you stay in control and at peace as the week progresses. Decide what day works best for you …possibly Saturday mornings, Sunday evenings or Monday mornings. This will help you and your family stay organized and avoid the chaos of forgetting appointments, activities or other details at the last minute. Use this planning session to go over the upcoming week’s schedule and add errands, deadlines, appointments, phone calls etc. to your calendar. This is also a good time to plan the week’s menu for meals and to update the weekly chore chart.
10 Minutes Each Night - Have each family member take 10 minutes before bedtime to get ready for the next day. Pick out outfits, pack everything that needs to go to school and set it by the door. Also, gather together after school supplies for activities. Doing this will make the mornings run smoother and will prevent items from being forgotten. This is also a great time to have family members tidy up their rooms and play areas and put things away.
Conquer Clutter - Everything in your home should have a permanent home, if this is not the case in your family, take the time to assign homes to everything you own and make sure other family members know where things go. It is also important to take time each year to de-clutter and purge items that you are no longer using. Kids tend to accumulate and grow out of things rapidly, so by moving unwanted items out of the house on a regular basis, you balance what is coming in with what’s going out.
Practice the Two Minute Rule – Teach your family to practice the two minute rule; If it takes less than two minutes to put something away, do it now rather than later. This will prevent clutter from accumulating and will ensure that items can be found when they are needed. It’s always easier to do a task now rather than wait until you have an enormous and overwhelming pile of mess to tackle. You will also appreciate not having constant clutter sitting around your home.
Make a List –Do you have too much stuff floating around in your head telling you what needs to get done? Creating a daily to-do list allows you to dump all that stuff onto paper and get it out of your head. A to-do list helps you to let go and relax and ensures that you won’t forget anything. Additionally, it is gratifying to be able to cross items off your list as you complete them. Be sure to have just one to-do list and not several. Having a grocery list is also extremely helpful. Teach family members to immediately add items to the grocery list when they run out of something. As you plan your weekly menus, add the meal ingredients to the list.
Establish Routines – Routines can help keep families in order. Everyone functions better once a system is in place, but routines are especially important for children. Forming habits, such as doing homework at the same time every day, and having set bath and bedtimes, can help both you and your child feel more in control. Routines give a sense of security and predictability that make our lives feel less chaotic. Establish a school routine with your child as soon as possible and stick with it.
Learn To Say No – This may be the most important step in promoting peace and organization within your family. Today, many families overbook their days, not wanting to miss out on activities and opportunities. We also struggle with saying “no” to requests for commitments because we feel pressured. It’s always easier to tell someone “yes” than it is to say “no” but it is important to stand firm for your family’s sake. Be selective about your volunteer time, choosing only those causes that are most important to you and limit the number of activities your children participate in. Make having meals together a priority and schedule unstructured time along with your activities. Balancing activities and commitments with time spent at home is essential to ensuring peace and harmony within your family.
Written By Laura Coufal
Clean & Clutter Free
Professional Organizing Services
Laura is the Owner of Clean & Clutter Free, professional organizing services.