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4 Tips for Maximizing Your Personal Space in College Dorms

Aug 23, 2013 • Kaila Braley • College Life
Lofting beds creates more space in college dorms.

Lofting beds creates more space in college dorms.

College dorms are notorious for being small. When you consider you’re sharing that space with another person, whether you know them or not, the lack of space can cause problems.

Now, there’s no need to draw a line down the middle of your room to make it an even split (a lot of rooms aren’t symmetrical, so that’s not even an option). You should, however, respect your roommate’s personal space while still making the most of your own area.

How is that best accomplished? Well, here are 5 tips that have worked really well for me:

1. Loft your bed.

Most of the beds in college dorms can be lofted or turned into bunk beds. Personally, I prefer to loft my bed so that I can use the space beneath to store my drawers, hamper, bins, and other storage. The girls who lived in the other room in my suite decided to bunk their beds and pushed their dressers to the other side of the room. They put their shelves and storage containers on top of their dressers.

2. Use every inch of space.

When you don’t have a lot of room, you have to work with what you’ve got! Use all the little weird places in your room for whatever will fit there. For example, if you have a big desk, try getting shelves that you can stack on top of the desk to organize your books and papers. That space between your desk and the wall can be used to store big poster boards or notebooks.

Try putting your trash can under the desk. That way, it’ll be out of the way and create more floor space. If you have a laundry basket, keep your hamper inside of it, so they take up half the room. And you can usually squeeze your laundry soap between the outside of the hamper and inside of the basket. You could also consider getting a hamper that turns into a laundry bag. That way, you don’t need a laundry basket at all!

3. Stock up on space-saving tools — but wait to buy them.

Stores like Target, Ikea, and Bed Bath & Beyond sell all sorts of gadgets and space-saving tools for college dorms, like a hanging shoe rack or jewelry holder. These are great, but wait to buy them until after you’ve figured out which ones will work for you and your room.

For example, if you have a big closet and want to use the bottom to store things you don’t use all the time, a hanging shoe rack will keep the space clear. But if your closet was like mine, and you barely had enough hanging room for your clothes, you might want to just use the bottom of the closet for your shoes and save your hanging space.

So definitely look into these products, but wait until you’ve seen your room to go out and buy them. You never know which ones will work best for you.

4. Only bring necessities on move-in day.

You won’t be sure how much will fit until you move in, so only bring a couple weeks’ worth of clothes, shoes, and other items until you know how your room will work. Once you fget a sense of how much space you have, you can bring more of your stuff with you the next time you come back from a weekend at home (or have your parents ship your things to you).

On top of all these things, keep in mind that the best thing you can do is to always be a courteous roommate. When you’re respectful of your space, they’ll be respectful of yours. Everyone likes to do things differently, but if you keep open communication and save space where you can, you’ll be good to go.

Photo Source: Kaila Braley

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Kaila Braley

Kaila Braley

Kaila will soon be starting her junior year at Framingham State University as an English major. In the fall she will also be starting a new role as News Editor of her school paper, The Gatepost. There isn't much in the world that makes her happier than a really good book, besides maybe chocolate or a puppy.

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