It’s back-to-school season, and whether you’re moving into your dorm for the first or fourth time, you know you have a lot of planning to do to make your new home functional and livable.
Part of this process involves planning for a smaller space than you’re used to while living at home. Here are eight tips to help you make the most out of the smaller space you have in your dorm room.
1. Find out how big the room is.
If you can find information about the dimensions of your dorm room, closet, and included furniture, it may help you visualize and measure out the exact amount of free space you have to fill. You don’t want to arrive with too many belongings that are too big for the space you have.
2. Minimize what you bring.
You can’t bring everything with you from your room at home to your college dorm. What you need to bring are the essentials and the bare minimum of odds and ends, such as pictures and other sentimental objects, you need to make your space reflect your personality. The decisions regarding what you don’t bring are just as important as what you do bring.
If you’re looking for a list of items to bring to college, check out: Five Dorm Room Products You Need to Have
3. Find more compact versions of what you want to bring.
Trade your desktop for a laptop or tablet. Buy a mini iPod stereo instead of bringing your full speaker system. Put your books, music, and movie collections on a mobile device, like a tablet, smartphone, or e-reader. Brainstorm ways to cut down on the space taken up by each item you bring.
4. Raise your bed, if possible, for storage space underneath.
One of the great things about dorm beds is that they are adjustable by height. This means that you can raise your bed up high enough to create significantly more storage space underneath. You might have to climb a little higher to get into bed, but you’ll be glad your room is less cluttered.
5. Use multipurpose furniture.
Whether they’re end tables that double as bookcases or extra shelving, or they’re ottomans and chairs that have storage in the seat, multi-purpose furniture creates a lot of additional space. This furniture doesn’t have to be bland either—if you look hard enough, you can find some pretty fun and creative pieces.
6. Invest in space-savers for your closet and space under the bed.
For example, you can use shoe racks for more than just shoes. They can store folded clothes, desk supplies, cleaning supplies, and other items you need but don’t necessarily want in the main area of your room. You can also find different sizes of plastic drawers that can easily fit in a closet to store more clothes and assorted objects.
7. Consider a shelving unit for your desk.
If your dorm desk doesn’t already come with shelving above it, consider investing in a hutch or other type of shelving unit to create more storage space going up without taking up more room length or width-wise. With this space you can store school books, desk supplies, photos, and various papers you have for classes.
8. Bring prints instead of posters.
In a dorm room, you only have so much wall space to decorate. Instead of covering the walls with three ft posters, go for prints instead, which are smaller versions of the posters you’d put up. They’re still a conversation-starter and reflection of your interests, but you can fit more of them on the walls.
With these tips, you’ll be able to furnish and decorate your room, regardless of its size, to make it feel like your home away from home. Get creative, and more importantly — get started!