Dorm Room Tips: 8 Tips for Getting More Out of Less Space
It’s tough to think of your dorm room as anything but a confining space where you can only be a fractional version of yourself. However, it also has a tremenous upside. For the first time in your life, you have a “place” that feels like it is truly your own.
It’s also a location where you can meet new friends, deepen existing relationships, and not march to a schedule that someone else (likely your parents) has set for you. In the following article, you’re going to learn some ways to maximize your dorm room space and functionality. Let’s begin!
1. Take Only What You Need
Most schools aren’t giving you much to work with. You’ll be lucky to get 800 square feet to share between the two of you (or four), depending on if you live in a “Commons” apartment.
That’s not much. And it becomes even smaller when you have a hard time determining what needs to come with you to college and what needs to go. It might even take some time before you know what the answer is.
That’s okay. Observe how you spend most of your time. Does it require a lot of extra “stuff,” or can you simply get by with a phone, a laptop, and a few clothes and shoes? Do your best to minimize from the get-go, then add in what you really need as it occurs to you.
2. Consider Dibsees On a Storage Unit
Inevitably, you’re going to need some things close to your room, but it won’t always gel with your living arrangement. Chances are pretty good that your roommate will have the same problem.
If both of you are noticing that there’s just not enough room for the things that you want to keep close, consider going in on a small storage unit. That extra little bit of space can come in handy for when you really need something that doesn’t factor into your everyday lives but that you would prefer not to keep at your parents’ house.
This could be a box of books or movies. It could be your notebooks, collections, spare computer parts for those of you who like building your own computer setups. However it can help you, use it. Most storage units can be rented out for $60-$75 a month. Split two ways, you wouldn’t have to come up with much money, and your things could stay put during the summer instead of needing to be moved around all the time.
3. Digitize Anything You Can
Much of your need for space will go away if you go digital on everything that you can. Think books, movies, music, video games.
At one time, physical media were the only options, but phones, cloud storage, expandable hard drives, and cheaper costs have made it so easy to carry around whole libraries of movies, music, and books in your pocket.
Go through all your possessions and ask two questions before you move into your dorm room. One, do I really need to bring this with me? And two, how can I convert it into an electronic form?
4. Think About Leveling Up
Some people are not satisfied with the dorm room status quo. TikTok is alive with creative dorm room hacks in which creative students are finding ways to get more out of the little space they’re given.
One student even increased his square footage by almost half. How did he do it? Well, he and his roommate built a structure to elevate their beds over the floor.
As a result, they were able to hoist both beds off the ground while making extra space for storage, refrigerator, shelving and even seating. Thanks to the internet, and their own willingness to share, you don’t have to be an engineering major to pull it off.
You can also study the tiny homes phenomenon to see all the options you have available for expanding useful space in an especially small area. Look it up, and take notes!
5. Share Resources
Are there any common things that you and your roommate (or a fellow classmate) will both need? Perhaps you share textbooks with classmates and take turns holding them in your room. A simple step like this frees up desk space without taking much effort.
Need to study separately at the same time? Just snap some photos of the relevant pages or homework assignments and send them to your partner.
There are many creative ways to share resources. This is just one, but hopefully it will nudge your imagination into thinking up more. The more you can share, the less you have to keep with you at all times.
6. Limit How You Use Your Dorm Room
Making the most of your dorm room space goes beyond “stuff.” It also leans on functionality. What do you use your dorm room for, in other words?
If both of you are studying at the same time, it can start feeling crowded. Consider relocating to another part of the campus or to a coffee shop or library.
Using your dorm room primarily for winding down and sleep will require you to keep far fewer objects and items on-hand. So, don’t just think of ways to minimize your things. Think of ways to minimize uses as well!
7. Study In Libraries and Coffee Shops When Possible
This ties into the last section, but it’s worth singling out because coffee shops and libraries force you into a perfect study type of environment. As a result, you’ll be able to get more done in less time so that you can feel less obligated to do things once you get back to your dorm room.
Again, the more that you take care of while you’re away from the dorm room, the less you’ll need to have in the room itself when you’re actually there.
8. Enlist Off-Campus Friends or Mentors
As you get your feet wet in the world of college, you’ll make friends and mentors. Not all of them will live on campus, and many won’t mind doing you favors in the least.
Try not to take too much advantage, but see if you can enlist their help whenever you need help storing something or using space that your dorm room just won’t accommodate.
If it makes you feel better, consider approaching them in a tit-for-tat manner. You do something for them if they would be willing to help you out. It likely won’t take that much convincing.
Your Dorm Room Can Serve Its Purpose Without Making You Feel Trapped
We know the dorm room isn’t a sweet paradise for any of you. But it can be a great place for teaching you how to make the most out of what you have. The close proximity to other students can also be useful for making friends and future networking connections.
So embrace it while you have it! But do keep the above recommendations in mind so it doesn’t feel like the walls are closing in on you all the time. Good luck! What are some clever ways you’ve seen to expand the usefulness of a dorm room? Share your favorite hacks in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Wikimedia Commons]