How to Save Space (and Still Have Cool Stuff) in a College Dorm

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  • Decorating a new dorm room can be a daunting task for college freshmen and their parents. It’s hard to convince new students to leave their tattered stuffed toys and “Star Wars” figurines at home to help save space and reduce clutter when packing and unpacking. Not to mention that there are certain things that are essential to a young person’s first year away at college.

    The average dorm room is roughly 228 square feet; that’s not a lot of area to work with. How do you decide what to bring and what to leave at home? The following must-have items help solve this dilemma for college freshmen:

    1. Bathroom Caddy

    The close living quarters of most dorms are known for nurturing social interactions between newfound peers.  A major downside to this is the notorious communal bathroom. You’re probably used to keeping all your bath supplies in the shower at your parent’s house. Instead of weighing yourself down with a cumbersome load of shampoo, conditioner and organic-sponge loofahs every time you mosey to the shower, invest in a bathroom caddy. Stores offer the easy-to-carry caddies in fabric or plastic, and often in a range of colors. The handy design can stow away easily when you return to your room.

    2. Bed Risers

    Where is everything going to fit? Space is one of the biggest issues you face when you’re staying in a dorm room. There are plenty of clever ways to maximize the space you have without leaving your stuff behind. Bed risers are a quick solution, as they lift your bed above the floor, and provide a place for you to stash extra running shoes, unseasonable outfits and those applied chemistry and statistics book you haven’t sold yet.

    3. Over-The-Door Storage

    It probably hurts to hear this, but closet space is limited in a dorm room. Often, you’ll only have one closet that you have to share with your roommate. Over-the-door hangers, shoe holders or jewelry containers are indispensible to college freshmen. Shoe holders can also be multipurpose. Imagine rushing to get to class, but you can’t find your keys or your identification card. Store these and other necessary items in the clear-fronted storage container for easy visibility when you’re pressed for time. These containers can also be used to organize phone chargers and other power cables.

    4. Metal Shelves and Storage Cubes

    Just when you think you’re done and you found a place for everything, you come across a box or a bag that you forgot to unpack. This is when metal shelves and storage cubes can really come in handy. You can pack a variety of things in fabric container bins, and the lightweight metal shelving can double as a nightstand/place to hang holiday lights.

    5. Clothes Hamper

    This last one might seem obvious, but if you look on dorm room floors, you’ll still find an ocean of sweaters, scarves and T-shirts. This cluttered atmosphere can affect your mood and mess with your ability to concentrate. For maximum space, buy a hamper that you can fold and slip under your bed when you’re not using it.

    It might take some time to adjust to a smaller living space, especially with a roommate living in such close proximity. These types of streamlined furnishings can maximize space and are easy to move and re-arrange if you need a change. A clean, open dorm room can help reduce stress, and keep you and your roomie happy throughout your freshman year.

    Author Bio:
    Alison Blankenship works at TextbookRush in the marketing department. Alison’s college experience and 6 years of work experience help her when it comes to improving user engagement.

    Image credit: Completed Dorm Room by Rebrice, on Flickr

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