The key to getting and keeping your college dorm room organized, is to ensure that you have everything you need, and nothing that you don't...
With my daughter going off to college in a few weeks, dorm rooms have been on my mind, along with the shock of how fast these last few months with her have passed. I sent my oldest daughter off to college 3 years ago and so we have been through it all before. With exception to enduring a day full of emotions and tears, these tips will ensure that all goes as smoothly as possible on move-in day.
DO: 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 a dorm refrigerator, microwave, TV, coffee pot, etc. This is also a good time to discuss decorating, and come up with a style or theme together so that your choice of decor style and color doesn’t clash with your roommate’s.
DO: SPACE PLAN
If possible, measure the spaces in your dorm room a head of time and take photos of closets and bathroom spaces to ensure that larger items like futons, dorm refrigerators, and other items will fit into the spaces available. Use your creativity to rearrange the existing furniture to create more space. If you are short on space try stacking the beds or moving a dresser to your closet.
DON’T: PURCHASES ITEMS WITHOUT MAKING SURE YOU NEED THEM
Be sure to use a college supply checklist to ensure that you don’t forget anything. Knowing what to bring will not only prevent essential items from getting left behind, but will help you to avoid bringing items that you don’t need, that ultimately end up cluttering up your small space. Check with the school to see exactly what they provide, that way you don’t buy a trash can just to find out that there is already one provided. Take advantage of local stores on move-in day. When my older daughter moved in to her dorm room, we held off on buying several questionable items until move in day because we knew we could stop at the store down the street. By the time we had her situated, we were able to buy only what she actually needed and found that we needed less than expected.
DO: 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 those 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.
DON’T: BRING OUT OF SEASON CLOTHING IF YOU DON’T HAVE TO
If you live within reasonable driving distance from your college, leave your winter clothing at home until colder weather arrives. Swap your summer and fall clothes for your winter clothing as the weather changes. You will free up much needed space in your dorm room closet if you only store the clothing and accessories you actually wear.
DO: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERY INCH OF DORM ROOM 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. Consider bringing a small night stand with open shelves so that it can double as a small book case. Stackable storage cubes also work well. Over the door pocket organizers are great for extra closet and bathroom storage. Utilize wall space by adding removable damage free hooks on doors to hang things like purses, coats, robes, towels or your backpack.
Taking these steps will ensure that you have everything you need in your college dorm room and nothing stealing space that you won't use.
Laura is the Owner of Clean & Clutter Free, professional organizing services.