Dorm rooms are notoriously small, and when they are occupied as they always are, with more than one student, the already cramped quarters become even more cramped. The trick to making a dorm room as comfortable and homey as possible is to learn to make the best of the limited available space. Most dorm rooms have little space for much more than the beds, a desk, and possibly a dresser. Whatever closet room there is needs to be shared by everyone in the room.
Here are some tips that can transform the already crowded atmosphere of the dorm room and make it into an inviting and clutter free home away from home.
*Invest in a variety of storage containers –
Purchase storage containers of varying sizes so that you can use them for everything from extra sheets and towels to toilet articles, laundry supplies and class notes, tests or other material that you aren’t using right away.
*Look for things that can serve multiple functions –
If you need to purchase furniture of any type, look for things that can be used in multiple ways. A brightly colored soft fabric cube or box can function as an end table or a bed side table and provide space for storage as well. A trunk or foot locker can be used as a coffee table as well as a place in which to store linen or other things.
*Limit what you bring to your room –
Space is always at a premium in college dorm rooms. The more stuff you pack, the more cluttered your room will be. Really think about the things you are packing and make sure that everything you do take with you is absolutely essential. It’s better to err on the side of caution.
If you forget something that you decide you later need, you can always bring it back with you at another time. Remember, it’s easier to add things than it is to remove them. Don’t go overboard with clothing. As long as laundry facilities are easily accessible, there is no need to pack more than you can reasonably use. Besides, you can always have your parents send you additional things you need, or you can pick them up on one of your visits back home.
*Label everything –
It’s a good idea to sew name labels or write your name in things with permanent markers. When you live in a dorm, everyone shares the common laundry areas. If you have you name on your clothing, linens and towels, it will be easier for people to return things to you when they find them. It’s also a good way to keep people from taking your stuff, whether accidentally or on purpose.
*Be budget conscious –
Don’t purchase ultra expensive things to take to college. You don’t need hotel quality sheets, designer clothing or the most expensive Mac Book that is on the market. Theft is always a problem in dorms. Everything you have will be used and abused. It makes no sense to indulge in expensive stuff that will have to be replaced in a few years anyway.
*Invest in locks –
Purchase locks to protect your belongings. If you intend to bring a bicycle to campus, make sure you’ve got a good lock that you can use to protect your bike. If you have a laptop, purchase a lock for it. To prevent others from using your computer, set it up so that it can only be accessed by entering a password.
*Go paperless whenever possible –
Paper is the easiest way to create a vast amount of clutter in no time. Save yourself a lot of space and potential expense by purchasing software for things such as writing manuals. By downloading them and purchasing them online, you may be able to spend a bit more to get updates whenever they are issued, and this way, the program will never become obsolete the way a book does.
The purpose of college is to further your education, to learn to live independently and to learn how to multi task and juggle multiple responsibilities. The things you have around you are only incidental. Don’t let yourself get bogged down by concern over material possessions.
As you adapt to life away from home, you will get a better feel for what you really need. You will also feel more comfortable about living without things to which you were formerly accustomed. If you have a room mate, the two of you can always talk ahead of time and make a plan so that you don’t duplicate what the other brings.