Welcome to adulting. Your first foray into campus life and campus living is moving into the dorms or off-campus housing. Now, the question is how to get your house feeling like your home. To keep comfortable and organized in your dorm, follow these do’s and don’ts.
Desks, drawers and decoration:
Your room, though shared with another person, is still your room. So, be yourself when decorating.“One tip I have in decorating your room is to decorate your portion of the room with who you are,” said University of Utah student Sang Truong. “For example, I decorated my room with a few pieces of my own artwork, video games and hats — things that I like. Whether my roommate shared my interests or not, decorating my area with what describes me allowed my roommate to have a better understanding of who I am.”
Being yourself may make the walls less bare and create opportunities to better get to know your roommate, but organizing bathroom necessities, textbooks, cords, jewelry and other items can be harder. To keep everything in place, use school and household supplies in unconventional ways. BuzzFeed’s Nifty loves to repurpose common items, such as using binder clips to keep your phone, laptop chargers or other cords well-ordered. Clip them to the edge of a desk, dresser or table and loop the cord through the handles to prevent cords from tangling together or falling and getting lost under other furniture. Take this tip one step further and incorporate your cords into the decor with washi or other decorative tape.
No matter your aesthetic, make the most of your desk and floor space with command hooks. Most residence halls don’t allow you to put holes in the walls, but these durable hooks peel off the wall when you’re done with them and can be used to hang everything from headphones to hampers. Keep one more thing off your floor by putting your hamper on the inside or back of your closet door to avoid airing your dirty laundry.
While floor space is important for making a room less cramped, keep clutter contained by taking advantage of any space. Shower caddies and desk organizers will be your best friend. These items are great for sorting cleaning, laundry and school supplies. They are usually small enough to store in inconspicuous places like under the bed, hung from a wall or on a shelf in your closet. They make all your supplies quick to grab and carry around.
Don’t dread sharing a bathroom:
Quick and easy is just how you want finding your toiletries to be. Dorm living might require you to BYOTP (bring your own toilet paper). Bathroom sharing can get gross and hectic, so keep a kit with everything you’ll need.
“As long as you bring a kit with you every time you go, everything will work out,” Truong said. “This kit should include, but isn’t limited to toilet paper, hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, body soap and a scrubber.”
Add in your toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant, and you’re set for any trip you need to make. The shower caddy keeps all of this in one place and will typically have a handle for easy transportation. If you’re worried about the caddy being overcrowded, choose smaller bottles or place larger items on opposite sides of the caddy and organize other objects around them in a hygienic game of Tetris.
If you wear makeup or do your hair regularly, think about putting a mirror in your room. Place it out-of-the-way where you can sit or stand in front of it for your entire routine. Put removable plastic pods on the inside of a cabinet door or on the wall to keep your beauty supplies out of the way and organized.
The most important tip for sharing a bathroom is keeping it clean. Clean up after yourself, because others don’t want to. A big part of being an adult is keeping a clean space. It isn’t always fun, but your roommates will appreciate it.
Leggings, t-shirts and boxers — Oh, my!
Laundry is always an adventure. Keep your laundry detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets together to grab and go when you make the trek to the laundry room. If you know your way around a washing machine and dryer, remember to clear your clothes out of the washer or dryer as soon as possible to leave the machines open for others. Also, don’t forget to sort your laundry by color.
Sorting and folding laundry might be the most boring part of washing your clothes, but you’ll thank yourself for doing it later when your clothes aren’t wonky colors and you don’t have to move clothes out of the way for friends to sit when they visit.
Making friends and living with a new person might be the most trying part of living on campus, but eventually you’ll find the silver lining in this experience. Truong said the convenience of dorm life is the best part of living on campus for him. Everything a student may need — the library, food court and help centers, for example — are “less than a mile away.”
To sum it up, Truong said, “Living in the dorms can be the highlight of your college experience — maybe not the food, but the people. Living in the dorms is hectic, but wonderful.”