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Organizing a Dorm Room

There are two basic organizing rules to keep in mind when preparing to send your kid off to college:

  1. Take as little as possible:  they will accumulate more stuff. 
  2. Create more storage: dorm rooms are small, so space must be used efficiently.

Here are some ideas for helping your student set up an organized dorm room that is comfortable and can be maintained with minimal work:

  • Use bed risers to create more space under the bed for storage.
  • Use under-the-bed storage bins.  Wheels are nice, but lids are essential so items inside don’t get dusty. 
  • A large, wheeled suitcase can double as the laundry hamper, saving space and making trips to the laundry room easier. Let’s be honest, the dirty laundry will be ready to travel home for breaks since it will be inside the suitcase already!   Here we have 28” tall, 16” wide and 13” deep Samsonite suitcase which holds close to 3 standard loads of laundry. Front pocket for laundry detergent, a second pocket for quarters, dryer sheets etc.
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  • Put up a hook for keys so they don’t get lost.  Searching for keys while your roommate is sleeping is never fun for either of you.
  • Supply an accordian file or box for important papers.  Be sure to teach your child about which papers to be especially careful with. 
  • Use over-the-door holders for shoes, accessories, and other items. 
  • Don’t feel like you have to go crazy spending a lot of money on dorm supplies, but do consider closet organizers.  Lightweight drawer units and long, cloth hanging shelves can help you use the bottom half of a closet more effectively. 
  • Consider a small safe for valuables like cash and jewelry.  People have parties in dorm rooms, and sometimes don’t know who’s there.  Sometimes things get stolen.
  • A magnetic white board is helpful for writing notes and holding things with magnets. There are lots of fun magnetic accessories now that make these particularly helpful.  

Finally, remember:  while it is certainly a momentous occasion that your child is setting off to college, the dorm room s/he is heading to is fairly temporary.  In less than a year they’ll be moving again — perhaps back home for the summer, to another dorm, or to an apartment or house. Roommates can have fun finding ways to make their space cozy havens for themselves, but remind them that in 9 short months everything will get packed out again!  🙂

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