“We probs like need these, right? I mean, super cute! No?”
“Totes. We’ll find room.”
That is an actual conversation I heard between two college freshman at a store last night. I couldn’t help but giggle a little to myself because it wasn’t that long ago that I was in that exact same place, saying (nearly) the exact same thing. College is an exciting time because for many, it’s the first time they’re really feeling independent and getting to go out shopping without ever having anybody tell them “no, you don’t need that.” That’s all well and good as long as you have enough money and enough storage space. There’s more room that can be used as dorm storage space than you might think–if you work it right.
Stock Up on Plastic Bins
Plastic bins will be your best friend throughout your college journey. When you first get into your dorm or receive your floor plan, figure out how many plastic storage bins can fit under your bed and figure out where else in the room you can use them logically. The bins with the drawers can provide you with a lot of dorm storage space. If you can, line the insides of the drawers with sticky paper or spray paint all of the drawers to give you a little more privacy. The clear bins are usually the cheapest, but they don’t really hide much. These bins provide you with a lot of dorm storage AND when you’re ready to put your college gear into a storage unit, or take it home if you really want to, all you have to do is duct tape the drawers in place and they are ready to be moved!
Another good option for plastic storage storage are plastic egg crates. These are great for keeping books, sitting on, stacking to make shelves, and so much more. These generally tend to run pretty cheap and come in lots of great colors.
Don’t Leave Unnecessary Stuff in Your Dorm Room
I had a roommate that kept her GIANT suitcase in the bottom of her closet at all times so she could use it to go home with. Yes, it’s logical, but it took up half of her closet and she didn’t use it for storage when she wasn’t packing/unpacking it. Your closet (or wardrobe) is one of the very few pieces of dorm storage that your college will provide you with. She wasted half of hers with a suitcase! Me, I would’ve put that suitcase up, under the bed, out of the way until I needed it. Yes, that’s a pain to get to, but you only have to access it 3 times times throughout a semester. Actually, I would’ve ditched the suitcase all together and used collapsible duffle bags to travel with. Anything that you don’t need that is wasting valuable dorm storage space has to go.
Buy Storage Furniture
One piece that I loved in college (that is now my dog’s toy bin) was my storage ottoman. It housed all of my towels throughout college. Also, it was a place to sit and it had wheels so it was fun to slide up and down the halls in it (hence the broken wheels and why it is now a bin for dog toys). Finding pieces of functional, decent looking, cheap furniture can yield a lot of dorm storage space. Another buddy bought a great bookshelf with drawers in it to extend his desk space and give him more dorm storage. Another friend was a fan of hanging folders, baskets, and hooks on the walls to give more dorm storage space.
Each dorm room is different and every student’s ideal living set-up is different. You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of dorm storage space so you can keep the room that you live in, study in, and hang out in somewhat clean and organized. Many schools don’t provide a whole lot of storage room, so it’s up to you to make your room more functional. I really hope those college girls from last night found dorm storage supplies as well because they’ll need somewhere to organized all of those over-sized, brightly colored, novelty plastic cups.
Remember, at the end of the year, you don’t have to haul allllll of that stuff home. You can find a cheap storage unit online using USstoragesearch.com and keep that stuff out of your home.