How college students can fit their lifestyle into a small space

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dorm-room
By Marie Frankson

Campus News

Many community colleges now offer on-campus housing and with the cramped quarters college students have to live in, it’s important to keep everything organized so you know where everything is, so you can get all of your assignments turned in on time, and so you can just move about the room with ease. This article will focus on the bedroom basics — closet/wardrobe, dresser, and desk — as these are furniture pieces that the majority of college dorm rooms possess.

When it comes to organizing your dorm room the wardrobe is a good place to start. A lot of people tend to forget what is even in their closets/wardrobes, so when trying to organize your room, it’s best to go through your closet/wardrobe and see what you have. When it comes to sorting your clothes, you have to think about several things: how long have you owned the garment? Is the color washed out? Are there visible stains? Does it fit properly? Do you feel good when you wear it? Sorting through the bulk of your clothes isn’t easy, so enlist a friend or two to help you; having a friend or two to give you advice will help you know what to keep, donate, or throw out.

When it comes to organizing your clothes, you got to know when to fold -’em and know when to hang ’em up. Hanging things up in your dorm wardrobe or your apartment closet may make it easier for you to find certain pieces, but some things aren’t meant to be hung up. Clothes that should not be hung up in a closet are knits (sweaters and cardigans) because they can become stretched out in the neck/shoulder area if hung up for a long time, basic tee-shirts (for the same reason as knits), jeans can become creased or misshapen if hung up for a long time. Sweatshirts and sweatpants can be hung up in a wardrobe/closet if that is your preference, but they could also be folded and placed in a drawer. Things that should most definitely be hung up include dress shirts/blouses, slacks/dress pants, and skirts. A good rule of thumb is: the nicer the fabric, and the tighter the knit, those items should be hung up.

The concept of whether to fold an item of clothing or whether to hang it up isn’t a hard one, but what may be difficult to some is how to fold an item. Just as there is more than one way to skin a cat, as the old saying goes, there is more than one way to fold your clothes. Most people fold their tee-shirts and stack them on top of one another, but college students aren’t most people, they are people with limited drawer space and a lot of clothes. Stacking your shirts is fine, but you can also file them (where you put them in the drawer horizontally instead of vertically) or army roll them (go to YouTube.com and type in “How to Army Roll a T-shirt” for a tutorial). You can army roll just about any garment, and not only will it save a ton of room in your drawer, it also prevents clothes from becoming creased and wrinkled while in the drawer.

Space-saving is a major issue while organizing your clothes while living on campus or in a cramped apartment. One way to remedy this is to purchase storage boxes. They come in a wide range of colors, prints, and sizes and can be purchased at a variety of stores like Joann Fabric, Michael’s Arts & Crafts, Victoria’s Secret Pink, Modcloth.com, Target, Wal-Mart, and more. They are inexpensive, can be stacked up on a shelf or stored under the bed, and can be used to store more than just clothing.

Organizing your clothing is one thing, but desk organization is a whole other can of worms. When you’re a college student, you have to have a clean space to study, so keeping your desk neat and organized is important.

One way to organize your desk is to start with a clean slate. You don’t really know how cluttered an area is until you clean it off or out. When cleaning your desk off to start organizing it, you want to be sure to keep larger objects (like laptops, desktop computers, or printers) on the desk so you can see how much room you truly have to work with. Once you cleared off your desk, go through the items that were cluttering up your space. Throw out items that are no longer needed like old scraps of paper, old magazines, etc. This is the stage where you have to prioritize your items. Decide what your most-used items are and put them in a drawer or other space that is within reach of your desk; if your does doesn’t have drawers, you can use small storage containers to place your items inside. Items that are not used frequently can be stored elsewhere but do not need to be placed where your most-used items are. Regardless of where you store the items, everything should have its own place so you know exactly where it is when you need it.

Another thing one should keep in mind when organizing the desk area is how to organize and store class notes. For college students, this is really important because you want to be able to find your notes so you can study for exams or put them in your bag to take to class. Personally, I use binders to organize my notes. I have two huge two inch thick binders for all of my history notes (one is strictly for my American history notes and the other for my world history notes), and I use smaller one inch thick binders for everything else, separated by subject. You don’t have to do it this way as there are a thousand ways to organize your class materials — some people color code their materials and use a certain color for each class or subject, other people get binders or notebooks all in the same color and just label the outside to say what subject it is for, and a variety of other methods. For storage, you can place your notebooks and binders in a desk drawer (if your desk has drawers) or purchase a storage container for them.

These are some tips to help everyone get organized and to try to stay organized throughout the current academic year in their tight living spaces. As with all organization methods, it’s important to keep in mind that you should do what’s best for you in your situation. I wish all of you a fun, and organized, academic year!

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