Earlier this week, I received a call from a reporter who was in search of tips for organizing college dorm rooms. Since this topic is likely top of mind for many of you, I thought it might be beneficial to address the topic of organized dorm room living this week (which follows up nicely with the previous post on back to school organization tips.)
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Planning and preparation are the keys to success in so many aspects of our lives, and preparing for dorm room living is no exception! Begin the planning process by gathering as much information as possible about your new “home away from home”.
How to Prepare for Dorm Room Living
1. 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.
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.
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?
2. 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. Check your college’s institution-specific guidelines for what you can and can’t bring.
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 The Container Store and RealSimple.
Once you review the extent of “essentials” on these checklists, you’ll soon realize that the drum set is not coming along with you.
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.
Related: The Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe
3. 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 do is spend a lot of time 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.
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Group like items in storage containers (e.g., office supplies, personal care, electronics, linens) and clearly label your containers. During the weeks prior to move-in day, refer to the dorm room floor plan and room photos as you give some thought as to where you will store each group of items within your dorm room.
By following these simple steps, your unpacking process will be a breeze.
4. Explore Ways to Maximize Dorm Room Space
Dorm rooms aren’t known for being spacious. You’ll need to make the most of that humble little corner of campus that you’ll soon be calling home. Check out this round-up of Must-Have dorm room storage products that will help you to maximize space and efficiently store all of your dorm room essentials.
5. Explore ways to save money and time
Did you know that you can purchase your college textbooks via Amazon?
Investing in an Amazon Prime student membership saves you countless trips to the store (which can be difficult if you don’t have a car on campus) by delivering anything that you need right to you on campus. And college students only pay 50% of the normal cost of Prime!
Wishing you and/or your new student the best of luck as they head off on their new adventure! Got a great tip for adjusting to dorm life? Drop it in the comments below.