Earlier this week, I received a call from a local reporter who was in search of tips for organizing college dorm rooms. Since this topic is a timely one that is likely top of mind for many of you, I’m going to address the topic of “organized dorm room living” in the next several blog posts.
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Planning and preparation are the keys to success in so many aspects of our lives, and preparing for your new life as as dorm dweller is no exception! Begin the planning process by gathering as much information as possible about your new “home away from home”.
RESEARCH YOUR NEW DIGS
Luckily, we live in an age where new students can find out everything they need to know about their dorm space well in advance of move-in day. Most colleges and universities provide detailed information regarding student housing on their websites (see my alma mater for example). In addition, you can usually visit an actual dorm room during a campus tour to get a first-hand glimpse of a typical dorm room.
CC Image Courtesy of University of Tennesee on Flickr
Here’s a list of key questions to ask during this information-gathering phase:
- What is the size of the overall space/common areas/private areas?
- What furniture does the college provide?
- To what extent can the furniture be reconfigured?
- What storage space do I have for clothing (dresser and/or closet)?
- Will I be sharing a closet?
- What is the size of the bed (to ensure you bring the correct size of bed linens)?
- Will I be allowed to secure items to the wall?
- Am I allowed to utilize the backs of doors for storing items?
DETERMINE WHAT TO PACK
Knowing what furniture comes standard with the dorm room is the first step in helping you determine what you need to bring along. The next item on your “to do” list should be to communicate with your future roommate(s) in order to iron out agreements concerning what items you are willing to share in your common area in an effort to avoid duplication and save space (do you really need multiple microwaves and televisions?)
When you start to create your packing list, be realistic about what items will “make the cut”, since you need to operate in significantly less square footage than you have at home. There are several great dorm room essentials checklists such as the ones provided by DormSmart and RealSimple. Once you review the extent of “essentials” on these checklists, you’ll soon realize that your drum set is not coming along with you.
Image Courtesy of 89 Studio / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
When it comes time to pack your clothes, avoid the temptation to pack your entire wardrobe. Instead, take only your in-season clothes and plan on swapping them out for your winter wardrobe during the holiday break.
ORGANIZE WHILE YOU PACK
When you arrive on campus that very first day, there will be so much to do and discover. The last thing you will want to devote time to will be unpacking and organizing your belongings. Do yourself a huge favor by allowing plenty of time on the front end to pack your belongings in an organized manner.
CC Image Courtesy of Sheila C. on Flickr
Group like items in storage containers (e.g., office supplies, personal care, electronics, linens) and clearly label your containers. With the floor plan and/or room photos in hand, give some thought as to where you will store each group of items within your dorm room during the weeks prior to move-in day. By following these simple steps, your unpack process will be a breeze!
Next up, read about some “Must Have” dorm room organizing products for maximizing space and corralling your essentials.