Your dorm room may be the most confining living space you will ever occupy. Oftentimes, they're smaller than an average bedroom, and you have to figure out how to share yours with another person. There are, however, quite a few ways to make a lot out of a little. It will be worth taking the time (and maybe even a little money) to set up your room so as to make it comfortable while maximizing space.
To Bunk or Not to Bunk?
Deciding whether or not you're going to bunk your beds is going to have a big impact on how much space you have in your room. Obviously, bunking them is going to give you a great deal more space, but you may decide the inconvenience of climbing onto the top bunk isn't worth the space saved. If you have a larger room, un-bunked beds might not hamper you all that much. Smaller rooms, on the other hand, might make them impractical or even impossible.
There are a lot of simple, inexpensive items you can purchase to help organize your room. Here are a few ideas:
- Hooks – There are many different kinds of hooks, some that stick to surfaces and others that hang off the back of a door. Use these to take advantage of the space behind doors or on walls. They can be used for hanging towels, jackets, etc.
- Shelving – You can find tall shelves with many platforms that can easily fit into a corner. These won't take up much floor space but can give you a place to store books, CDs, DVDs, clothes (like bulky sweaters that take up too much room in drawers), dishes, toiletries, etc. You may also be able to fit a few shelves or a small chest of drawers inside of a closet.
- Desk organizers – Organizing your desk can save you room, and the reduction in clutter that comes along with it can make studying much less stressful. You could use a cup for holding pens and pencils, a paper tray to keep papers organized, etc.
- Toiletry bucket – A toiletry bucket will help you keep all your toiletries together and can be placed out of the way on a shelf or in a closet.
- Crates – Crates are multidimensional organizational tools. They can be stacked up on their sides to make shelves, used as TV stand, or used for both at the same time.
- Under-bed storage/bed risers – Under-bed storage containers allow you to keep anything you need to under your bed. If you want to increase the space under your bed, purchase a set of bed risers, which go under each bedpost, lifting it a few inches off the ground.
TIP: Pack light; you can save a lot of space in your dorm room by only bringing the necessities with you to school.
In addition to being well organized, carefully consider the layout of your room. You might be able to free up a lot of space just by rearranging a few things. Sketching out a few layout possibilities on a piece of paper may help you visualize how best to arrange things. Also, it's a good idea to get some help when moving things around, so that you don't hurt yourself. Remember, if you aren't quite comfortable in your room, you can always rearrange things again in the future or purchase a few more tools for organization.
If you and your roommate work together, you shouldn't have too much trouble getting your room set up. The comfort you can get from a well-arranged and organized room will make you happy you took the time to do it.