A College Student’s Guide to Dorm Rooms

A dorm room is the trickest room you’ll ever have to decorate. It has to function as a bedroom, a lounge, an office, an eating area, and much more. The small space can fill up quickly, overwhelming its inhabitants. But it doesn’t have to be a challenge. These quick and easy fixes can help you declutter your dorm room and turn it into a room you’ll love to be in.

Downsize the big pieces. The first problem for many people is space in general. Its small, I know. But I don’t think the college is going to expand the dorms anytime soon. Instead, take the size of the dorm room into consideration when shopping for your room. You really don’t need an oversized futon. Yeah, it would be cool, but more often than not, you won’t be using it. Instead, buy a fold up chair. They come in a variety of sizes, styles, and colors. Pick one that fits your personality. Best of all, if you need the space, you can always fold it up and stick it in the closet. This rule goes for any other larger furniture that you consider bringing to college. If you can find a smaller or more practical version, buy it. It will be a lifesaver.

Keep your closet seasonal. When I moved into my college dorm as a freshman, I had two suitcases full of clothing, and two extra long bins full of extra shirts hidden underneath my bed. I was five hours away from home, and didn’t want to take a chance of not having something I wanted to wear. But by the end of the year, I had gotten rid of so much of the clothing from the beginning that everything could finally fit into my closet with space to spare. The key to this is to only have in your dorm what you need. If it’s the middle of December, you probably don’t need your swim suit, shorts, and flip flops. Take them home over break and only bring back what you absolutely need. Keep the clothing that you wear most often, and take home the pieces you tend to avoid. It will save you the space. Also, you could always sell them for some extra cash.

How many of those movies and books do you really plan on watching and reading? I noticed that a lot of college students have shelves full of their favorite books and DVD’s. Some students bring hundreds (literally) of DVD’s to their dorms. Before you start packing them all up, think about which ones you’re really going to watch. Take a few of your favorites, but leave the majority at home. If you feel that you absolutely can’t live without all of your favorite movies, try out Netflix. It’s not too expensive, it allows you to have access to all your favorites, and it saves space. As for your favorite books, keep in mind that there is a library on campus.

Invest in organizers. Your drawers will be a lot bigger if you decide to put a little bit of money and energy into keeping them organized. Buy a few dividers to keep your desk supplies seperated and easy to access. A few folders work wonders on keeping your desk free of old assignments. Another trick I discovered is only allow yourself to have one junk drawer. This can hold old receipts, rubber bands, or whatever you feel like throwing in there. But keeping the disorganization to a minimum allows you to quickly access the rest of your supply drawers without having to dig through the extra junk.

How important is decoration? Some people can’t live without their collection of Pokemon statues. But honestly, there isn’t space. Limit the amount of figurines and decorations that take up shelf or floor space. One or two plants or decorations should be plenty. However, take advantage of picture frames and posters. These take up a very little amount of space and really allow you to personalize your room. Keep decorative pillows and stuffed animals to a minimum. They’re literally just fluff.

Storage. Storage is a necessity. Invest in some drawer or shelving units for your rooms. You can get them in nearly any size or color. I personally like the colored drawer units, because they not only provide space and organization, but also some privacy. Bring along some extra storage totes to toss your cleaning supplies or food in so its easy to access everything at once. Another trick I discovered is having an ottoman. Ottomans are amazing. They provide extra seating, an extra surface to toss a textbook, and best of all, extra storage. They can hold all of your textbooks for the semester so you don’t have to trip over them everytime you walk in a room. These also come in a variety of colors and sizes.

Get rid of the garbage. This is the most important tip of them all. I can’t stress how important it is to throw away what you don’t need. Take the time to pick up your garbage off the floor and recycle the empty bottles scattered around the room. Garbage screams pigsty.

With these helpful hints, hopefully your dorm room can become a clutter-free, inviting room that you will enjoy being in.