So you’re going to college for the first time or you’re going back to college after a summer off. You have a lot to worry about, ranging from textbooks to making new friends to finding your way around an unfamiliar campus. Organizing your dorm room shouldn’t be on your list of concerns and it won’t be if you are smart about what to bring and where to put it. It’s not that big of a room and you may have a roommate, so you’ll have to learn how to prioritize and maximize your space.
Step #1: Prioritize
Okay, let’s make a comparison here. You can tell what’s important to these two ladies by what’s on their dorm room shelves. Girl on the right: Fashion, obviously. She’s got scads of shoes that obviously came from the fashion boutiques in the Upper Uplands. Girl on the left: Books and learning. Note the open textbook, presumably a book of spells or the textbook from her favorite class, history with Dr. Dillamond. Two very different approaches from two women with very different lives.
The lesson here? When people see your dorm room, they will be able to tell at a glance what’s really important to you. You will have to decide what impression you want to give. Even if you’re a loner who sees your dorm as your private space, you should remember that you’re basically living in a cubical. If you want to be the popular chick, go right ahead. Just be sure to arrange your fashionable clothes to make room for the essentials of surviving college life.
Step #2: Choose Your Gear
The right kind of gear can give your college experience a serious boost. You’ll have room for a bed, a desk, some odds and ends, and if you’re lucky you’ll have enough closet space to plan a couple of weeks’ worth of outfits. You’ll have to make some tough choices about what you can take with you and what you can live without. Some essentials might include:
Your laptop. The world is wired these days and the laptop could well wind up being the centerpiece of your dorm room. A good laptop will make your life easier when you’re pounding out that paper and studying for your tests.
A printer. It doesn’t have to be a big or fancy one, just something that can print out your papers.
Some organizers. If living in a dorm room doesn’t teach you how to keep your stuff organized, there isn’t much that will. Your organizers can be anything that will get your stuff off the floor. Some crates are good for tossing small stuff in and stacking, and a shelf or two are good for storing books on.
A desk lamp. Essential for studying when your roommate doesn’t want the overhead light on.
Noise canceling headphones. Minimize distractions when you need to concentrate.
Trash can. You’re going to junk that first draft of several of your papers. A trash can is convenient for when you want to slam-dunk that embarrassing typo.
Refrigerator and Microwave. Take these along to store your Chinese takeout leftovers and heat them up the next day.
Mattress pad. It’s not the kind of luxury you might be used to back home, but at least a mattress pad will keep you from waking up feeling like you just slept on a bed of rocks.
Personalize your dorm room. You’ve still got limited room but you can still personalize it a little bit with your choice of posters, pictures and other fun stuff.
Step #3: Organize
Take a look at the layout of your dorm room and decide how you’re going to organize things. Choose places to stow your luggage, school supplies, and that stuff from home you just couldn’t live without. Are you into interior decorating? If so, this should be a breeze. Even if you aren’t, putting a little thought into your organization can go a long way in helping you survive the next nine months. Some things to think about:
Can you come up with a designated space for your microwave and fridge? Your desk might not be the best spot if you expect to do most of your homework there. A shelf capable of holding the weight would be helpful, or perhaps a small table.
Where do you expect to do most of your homework? Some people like to sprawl on their bed while studying and others like the formality of a desk. Be sure to organize your school supplies around your central homework location.
Do you have a roommate? Organizing will be easier if you don’t. However, if you do, you’ll have to come up with some kind of agreement regarding where to put things. Be sure to stick to the plan, secure your items in case your roommate has sticky fingers and respect his space to reduce conflict.
Some College Essentials For Your Consideration
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