Ah, college. A time of self-discovery, personal growth, and hopefully some learning along the way.
Before all that, though, there’s always one big hurdle to cross—moving into your dorm!
Dorm life can be a ton of fun, but it’s got a lot in common with moving into your first new apartment, or moving at all, which means it can be a huge pain. The stress of making sure you have everything is compacted by the fact that dorms don’t typically offer a lot of space.
But all is not lost! When your move-in day approaches, there’s a few things you can do to try and make it as stress-free as possible for everyone. Here’s a few tips we’ve pulled together to help try and smooth out some of the...less appealing parts of moving into your dorm:
Make sure you have everything by day 1
The last-minute scramble for school supplies doesn’t stop at college. In fact, it probably involves more stuff than ever because now you need to furnish your part of the dorm! Make sure to factor in enough time to buy both the regular round of school supplies (backpacks, pencils, probably a new tablet or two, etc) and the sort of creature comforts you’re going to need while you’re there like hampers, pillows, closet storage bins, and so on. You’re probably going to have a pretty long list, especially if you’re starting your freshman year, but going in with your list checked off will save a lot of time in the long run.
Get ready to move in a hurry
A lot of colleges will have set time limits on when you can move your things in, so whatever it is you’re bringing, try to make sure it can be set up quickly. Try to avoid taking a lot of bulky furniture, instead looking for things like office chairs and desks that can be assembled when you get there and moved into the dorm itself more easily. Keep all your clothes, supplies, and furniture neatly compacted and ready to move in a hurry—you don’t want to get shut out of your dorm with two bags left in the car!
Don’t be afraid to move stuff around
A lot of students think that the furniture that’s already in your dorm has to stay there, but in most cases it’s actually easier (and better in the long run) to move it around. Talk to your roommates to see what works best with what everyone brought with them, and feel free to relocate until everyone can stay organized. You need to make room for that fridge stand somehow, right?
Look up and down for organization
Due to the limited space of a dorm, you might have to think outside the box a little bit to make everything fit. Get some standing wire shelving for the walls without shelves (or hang wall shelves if your school allows it), store things under the bed or under the dresser as needed, and don’t be afraid to get a little more creative than you might have at home.
Don’t be afraid to send stuff back home
A big mistake a lot of people make when packing for their dorm is to overestimate how much they’ll need for their first few months there. Focus on seasonally-appropriate clothing and don’t get too bogged down on packing winter clothes just yet to save room. Bigger amenities like your video game collection and your favorite bike might be better off in your parents’ garage for the time being, as they’re going to be too much of a pain to store in such a limited space. It might be a little heartbreaking at first, but you’ll notice how much space you saved yourself and you’ll be glad you did it.
Whether due to a tiny closet, an overstuffed closet, or maybe no closet at all, a lot of people in apartments or smaller homes have been trying to find creative ways to organize their clothes.
And while bedroom dressers are a good solution, not everyone’s bedroom has enough space to keep adding dressers—so what’s a fashionable young person to do?
Have you tried looking on your walls?
Wall space is a great idea in a lot of situations where extra storage space is needed in smaller rooms, but people tend to overlook its potential for getting your vast collections of belts and sweaters organized. Here’s a few ways we’ve found to make wall storage work for your clothing collection, no matter what your taste in fashion:
Let’s start with one of the most common pieces of anyone’s wardrobe: shirts! Whether you’ve found yourself with a ton of graphic tees from all the concerts you’ve been to or you’re just amassing a collection of nice button-downs for use in the office, you’ve probably wound up with a lot of shirts you need to put somewhere. Luckily walls can be a great place for that. If you have any wall shelves or wire wall shelves already, these can be easily repurposed as shirt racks by putting some hangers on their brackets, or sliding in a thin bar (or wall rail) through the brackets. Any shirts that can be folded and put away can go right on top, while the bar holds onto dress shirts or anything that needs a hanger. For rooms lacking wall shelves, the craftier among you could try installing a few industrial-style pipes or railings to provide hanger space.
No matter how much space you do or don’t have already, shoes are never the best to organize. If you don’t have space for any more shoe racks in your closet, try putting some nails or lower-profile screws into your walls and hang storage bins or decorative baskets from them to hang onto the shoes you wear most often.
Sweaters and jackets
Heavier stuff like cold-weather clothes tend to take up the most space. A good way to keep them out of your hair until you need them is to repurpose some old wall-mounted bookshelves to keep folded sweaters and jackets until the weather cools down enough to need them again.
Bags and purses
Finding a place to keep a purse you’re not currently using is one the worst parts of owning a purse, but wall storage can help out. Find an empty wall shelf and line your purses across it (stuffed with tissue paper to help them keep their shape as needed), and once they’re all in place, make sure to use bookends to keep them in place.
Scarves, belts, ties, and other accessories
So we’re doing good on getting your bigger clothes taken care of, but what about the small stuff that’s easy to lose (and already hard to organize, even if you did have the closet space)? If you have room for a few more shelves, towel racks are the best way to get these smaller items hung. Drape them over the sides of the towel rack to keep them out of the way and easier to get to.
Have you used the wall space in your bedroom or dressing room to keep your clothes organized? Drop a comment and let us know what you did!
Love it or hate it, we all have company sometimes.
Relatives come to visit, kids come home from college with baskets of laundry in tow, holiday parties last a little too long and someone needs a couch to sleep on, it happens to everyone.
While it’s always a good idea to keep some extra accommodations around for company like towels, blankets, and the like, it can be hard to find a place to keep them, particularly if they need to be separate from the rest of your linens for whatever reason.
If you find yourself frequently trying to find space for your guest accommodations (particularly if you don’t have the luxury of a guest room to keep them in), here’s a couple of tips we’ve pulled together to keep everything nice and tidy:
Figure out where your guests are going to stay.
A good first step to planning storage of your extra blankets is to figure out where your guests are most likely to stay. Is everyone staying on a pull-out couch bed in the living room? Do you have a guest room or an unused extra bedroom (after the kids have moved out, for example) that they can stay in? Identifying your visitors’ likely nesting place will help inform a lot of the storage decisions you make from there.
Make an inventory of your guest accommodations.
From there, you’ll want to take stock of what accommodations you have to provide. Do you have a full bed with its own set of sheets and pillows, or just a guest blanket and spare pillow? Will towels or bathing supplies be provided? Ask yourselves these questions as soon as you can to help eliminate any mystery.
Identify extra room in the guest area.
A good way to keep your guest accommodations close at hand is to see if there’s any extra room in the area they’re sleeping in. If you have a guest room available, try to set aside the bottom drawer or two of a bedroom dresser to hang onto everything. Wall shelves are a good touch in situations like this as well since they’re up and out of the way, and if worse comes to worse there’s always the bathroom or hallway closet.
Find out-of-the-way areas.
Of course, if you’re too busy trying to store blankets for the people that live in your house, this might be a bit more daunting a task, so identifying any extra space you may have is critical here. Room under the bed? Space in the basement? Unused shelf in the kids’ closets? Just leaving them draped across the couch before it becomes a pull-out? You might have to use a little imagination to find just the right hiding place for these blankets.
Keep your blankets clean in storage.
Of course, if a blanket is being stashed in the closet, it’s bound to get a little...funky if it’s not used properly. Take it out for seasonal washings even if it hasn’t been used, try to keep an air freshener and a moisture trap in the closet to prevent mildew or moldy odors, and when you know you’re going to need them, try to give them a wash (or at least a quick Febreze-ing) before they’re unveiled.
Wash after use.
Finally, whatever blankets and pillowcases you might have lent out to your guests, don’t think anyone will be offended by you washing them right afterwards. They might wind up staying in storage longer than you think, and a good washing will prevent unwanted smells and/or reduce wear and tear in the long run.
Some of our readers may have a hard time imagining it, but yes, there are some people out there who for whatever reason simply decide not to have a nightstand in their bedroom.
If you’re one of those people—great! We’re not here to judge, and we’re sure you have your reasons.
But maybe you’re a little on the fence. Maybe you’re sick of looking at that naked area next to your bed. Maybe you just need somewhere to set your bottle of water at night. Whatever the reason, if you’ve been wrestling with the idea of getting some nightstands for your bedroom, we’ve got four reasons that just might tip the scales for you:
Safe keeping for everyday items
One of the best and perhaps most obvious uses for a nightstand is to serve as a ‘landing zone’ for things you need every day. Glasses? Check. Watches? Check. Phone? Check. (Especially if your nightstand is near an outlet so you can keep your phone charged, or if you use a phone charging station to keep your phone and laptop appropriately juiced up.) Nightstands provide a great place to keep daily essentials you take everywhere so you won’t lose them when you get home, nor will you (hopefully) forget them in the morning!
Better unwinding at the end of the day
We know what you’re thinking: “how the heck is a small table going to make it easier for me to go to bed at the end of the day”? You got us there, but it isn’t so much the nightstand itself as it is what the nightstand can hold. Everyone has their pre-bedtime rituals, be it reading, meditating, playing Nintendo Switch, and so on, and having a nightstand close nearby can help you keep all these sleeping supplies organized and right where you need them. Just be careful about using your phone too close to bedtime—that bright light isn’t good for you when it gets dark out!
We all remember our parents and teachers telling us about making an Emergency Preparedness Kit, and while that might be a little drastic in the bedroom, there’s still something to be said for keeping around some last-ditch supplies in the event that the power goes out or the weather takes a turn in the middle of the night. If you have a drawer in your nightstand, toss some candles, batteries, a portable phone charger, and maybe a flashlight in there to help see you through until the lights come back on.
Many of us have woken up in the middle of the night sneezing and feeling terrible, right? When the idea of moving or even just getting out of bed seems too daunting to attempt, a good nightstand can hang onto things like tissues, medicine, cough drops, or even just something like hand lotion to keep you as comfortable as possible without having to even leave the bed.
A glass of water
Come on—everyone gets thirsty, right?
It happens more often than you might expect. You’ve moved into your new apartment or dream house, or maybe you’re off on an extended stay somewhere far away for school or work.
You walk into your new (or temporary) living quarters and look around, only to make a horrifying discovery: you don’t have a closet!
It’s okay! Now isn’t the time to panic. Instead, now is a great opportunity to look into some alternate clothing organization strategies and see just how you can get your bedroom organized without a closet. (Don’t be scared, we’re right here to help!)
Get some storage furniture
The first step is to review your surroundings and see what you have (other than a bed and nightstands) to work with. Take stock of any storage options you might have like shelves or clothing tacks, and then work from there—bedroom dressers are always a good call in places like this, so you might just have an excuse to pick up that vintage armoire you’d been eyeing.
Look under the bed
Speaking of beds, no bedroom is complete without one (it’s right there in the name!) and you can use this to your advantage. If your bed sits high enough to hold some plastic storage bins or other flat clothing storage boxes, use those to keep less-frequently worn things like dress clothes, seasonal outfits, and the like. (And if it doesn’t sit high enough, a lot of places sell bed risers for exactly this purpose.)
Get some shelves
By now you might not have a lot more floor space to devote to this plan, so the next step is to use wall shelving. Keep anything folded up there like shirts, pants, or even shoes (if there’s no room elsewhere for those), and in a pinch you can devote your shelf brackets to a space for hanging clothes like dresses and blazers. Speaking of…
Look for hanging space
You don’t have to be a diehard “do-it-yourself” type to make the most of this step—you just need a little imagination. A lot of wall shelves let you slide a bar in between the brackets or hang it off the bottom to simulate the closet racks you might have seen if, you know, you had a closet.
Use the door
Over the door storage is a perfect solution for situations like this. Hang something up over the back of your bedroom door for coats, hats, accessories, bags, or anything else that doesn’t fit on your other storage options.
Have you ever had to deal with a room that didn’t have a closet? Leave a comment below and tell us what you did!