How Do I College? Ed. 1 – Organization 304

Oh, organization. You can ask my friends about it – they might say I’m addicted to it. You can ask my mother about it – she’ll say it doesn’t count if I’m messy. You can ask me about it, and well…I’ll write a blog post on it.

I might not be the cleanest person around but I definitely like having everything in its place…even if that place is sometimes the floor. When I was at home, I had the luxury of a spacious room to myself, ample closet area, and an entire house to spread out in. After I moved to college, I was tucked in a double room, connected to a suite I shared with five other girls. Yeah. Space was limited to say the least. However, by the end of my freshman year I had a decent system for keeping stuff where it needed to be, and here’s just a few tricks and tips I learned along the way:

1. Loft your bed and use it to store stuff. At Emerson, beds in my dorm building come lofted already and we’re supplied with a handy under-bed dresser. One of my roommates added bed risers too and had LOADS of space to store stuff. I used my under bed storage to tuck a few different bins for stuff I used everyday, like books, shoes, and makeup. We had a sink in our common area/living room so when I got up in the morning, I would just grab my makeup bin and set it on the countertop while I got ready. Easy! (Some other awesome and important things to store there: alarm clocks, water bottles, and packets of fruit snacks.)

2. Get drawer dividers! Target is great for these. I got a pack of four in all different sizes for maybe ten dollars, plus they were collapsible! My favorite use was for my tights: at home, I threw them all in a drawer and could never tell which were which. At school, I had them in two groups: solid and printed, and then arranged them by thickness. Made it real easy to mix with outfits! In the next step, you can see I also snuck a few underneath my hanging space in the closet where I kept my belts, hats, and scarves.

3. Come up with a system for hanging clothes and stick to it! I had a pretty fair amount of things to wear, but I got stuck in ruts a lot with wearing the same outfits over and over. So I stole a system from one of my favorite fashion bloggers: whenever you wear something (and then after you hopefully wash it) hang it up on the far side of your closet. Then, when you’re looking for something to wear, make yourself start from the front side and work your way back. That way, you see the stuff you haven’t worn in a while first and are hopefully more inclined to try it. (So in this picture, I hadn’t worn my plaid dress in ages, while I had just washed my yellow bird dress. (Extra tip: Make sure you buy a few different types of hangers: plain, the kind with the clips for skirts, the kind with grippies for slippery tops, etc etc.)

4. Buy a hutch! I didn’t get this baby until January my second semester and I regret every day I had to go without it. For those of you who don’t know, a hutch is a wooden shelving unit that sits on your desk and gets all the extra stuff up off your workspace. This one I got from Target (currently sold out, sorry!) but you can find them at a bunch of supply stores, or if you’re super crafty, make one yourself! Mine stored (from top) my books, necklaces, photos, stationary, trinkets, CDs, headphones, sunglasses, memory books, and rings. I found it was especially useful for keeping stuff that I liked having around (my memory book, little plushies) but really took up space at my desk. Invest, people! One of my all-time best purchases.

5. Get creative and crafty with storing the little things. I give American Girl credit for this next trick. When my hair was long, I loved wearing hair bows in it and, well, I have a lot! Keeping them in a bin became a pain so I turned to an ancient American Girl organizer book which mentioned keeping all of your hair ties on a ribbon. I figured, couldn’t that work with bows? I clipped them by size, then color, and kept them by my hoodies so I thought to pop one on before I ran out the door in the morning. What I’m saying is, think of artsy ways to keep accessories in plain view so you remember to wear them! (This is also why I kept my necklace and ring holder on my desk, since I usually finished up work in the morning and would usually add one to my outfit before I left for class.)

6. Find bright ways to display reminders and memories. Okay, this is my crown jewel…well, my mother’s crown jewel (she thought of the idea, but I ran with it…we’ll call it a tie). She thought to pack a few black poster sheets that I could use as tackboard. I thought to use it for post-its and letters. I’m a bit of penpal, so whenever people sent me letters, I hung them up next to my bed to admire them. But, then I wanted something to keep track of all the extra long-term project and meetings that often slipped my mind. Thus, I made my post-it wall. I kept a sharpie and a few different colored post-its in a bin that I sticky-tacked to my wall, and whenever I needed to remember something, I scrawled it out and added it to the pack. It was a really effective way to keep myself up-to-date.

So there you have it! A few quick tips to keep a cramped dorm room a little more open and your mind a little more at ease.

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