Moving away from home and setting up a college dorm room or an off-campus apartment for the first time can be slightly confusing, even if your parents swear that they know just how to help. If you’re getting ready to move into your dorm this fall, here are some great ideas for organizing your belongings. People are usually most productive in neat environments, so putting things in order from the start can help you start the semester on a good note.
Dorm rooms are usually very small, and if you have a roommate (or two!) the room will seem even smaller yet. The housing office at your college should be able to provide you with a list of furniture that will be in the room when you arrive. Some schools even offer possible floor plans to help students arrange things in a manner that maximizes space.
Your dorm room will definitely include a bed for each student (be warned that there may be bunk beds) as well as a desk and chair for each student. It may even have a nightstand or table for each of you, and you’ll also have your own closet. There may be a garbage can and a lamp, but those items are not always provided. It’s a safe assumption that more modern dorms will probably have nicer furniture than older dorms.
Instead of packing four suitcases that you will have nowhere to store, bring your personal belongings to college in a footlocker or trunk that can double as a coffee table. Standard old milk crates are another good idea for transporting your belongings because they can easily become stackable storage cubes.
You will not need as many clothes as you think you will, and dorm room closets aren’t very big anyway. You’ll also need to use your closet to store things besides clothes.
Hanging a few rows of shelves above your desk (if it’s allowed by the school, of course) is the best way to give yourself a lot of storage space for books and photo frames. This will free up room on the top of your desk so you have enough space for your computer.
If your school will allow it, you can create a lot of extra storage space under your bed by putting bed risers under your bed frame. This will give you the ability to slide storage bins under your bed. The thin plastic bins made for shoes and gift wrap will probably fit under a “regular” bed, but if your bed is higher than usual you’ll be able to slide more underneath.
The easiest way to organize your dorm room closet is with hanging closet organizers. They come in various sizes and can hold anything from shoes to sweaters, but some students even decide to keep non-perishable food items in them, too.
It may not seem like it because dorm rooms are usually so small, but the common area in between your bed and desk and your roommate’s is actually shared space. Keep things in order by promising to keep your belongings on your side of the room. You wouldn’t want your roommate’s belongings invading your personal space, so why do it to them?
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Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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