Become, remain clutter-free this semester

Emily Farlow

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Dorm life is defined by small spaces. Rooms are small, and must be shared with someone else. Freshmen aren’t used to sharing a space, and learning how not to spread out and take over an entire room is hard. Organization is an essential habit for the college student.
Not knowing what to look for can make organization difficult. Keeping a few things in mind while shopping and decorating will make the process much easier.
Containers are your best friend. It is a good idea to keep most things in boxes or drawers. Bins that lock together are great for storage. They can be stored under the bed, in a closet or in an unused corner. Bins can be used to store text books, toiletries, extra cleaning supplies etc. Other good tools are drawer storage carts. They typically have clear drawers and roll on wheels. These are good for clothes that won’t fit in the dresser, and stack well in a closet.
Find multiple purposes for one object. If there is room for a book case, put it by the bed to serve as a bed-side table. Use the book case for text books or leisure books, and put a lamp and an alarm clock on the top. A book case is a great place for storage bins that store school supplies. When looking for decorations or storage, try to think of more than one way to use an item.
Make the most of the space you have. In a small space, think of vertical rather than horizontal organization. Bunking beds is always a good idea. Or try lofting beds for storage underneath. Girls with many shoes would do well to buy a hanging shoe organizer. Some fit over doors and others hang in the closet. Push it to the back to make room for clothes as well. Over-the-door hooks are great for coats and jackets that are too bulky for the closet.
Use the desk. A desk can be used for more than studying. Buy small drawers and stack them on your desk. They will hold pencils, pens, highlighters etc. A lamp that doubles as a pencil and pen holder is a good multipurpose tool.
You don’t need everything. Ladies, especially, don’t need five pairs of heels. Are you really going to walk across campus in your painful pumps? During summer and spring, leave heavy winter coats and boots at home. During winter and fall, leave shorts and tank tops at home. Think practically about what will fit and what won’t. Your huge stereo system may be cool, but it won’t fit in your dorm room.
The bathroom is storage space, too. If you have your own bathroom, take advantage of the extra storage space! Buy a shelving unit to fit over or next to the toilet to make room for cleaning supplies and shower items. Shelves with suction cups will stick in the shower and hold shampoo, soap etc. If you have a community bathroom, buy a small carrier or basket to hold everything you need for your shower. Put it in one place, and simply carry the whole basket down the hall when you shower.
You can prepare for dorm living all you want, but the best way to learn the ins and outs of living in a small space is just to jump right in. Figure out what works and doesn’t work for the space you occupy, and modify organization techniques to fit your lifestyle.

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