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If you are heading off to college this year, you may be wondering how to set up your dorm room. Dorms are notoriously small, measuring 130 square feet, on average, for two or more people! While it’s not easy to make such a small space work, it is possible! With a bit of ingenuity and some creative storage solutions, you will be amazed at how you can maximize space within your dorm room, making it function well for all of you! Check out these three simple tips to make your dorm room feel more spacious, organized, and comfortable.

1.) Once you know who your roommates are, coordinate what they will bring to limit the items coming in (as well as the out-of-pocket costs).

In late spring, early summer, your college will likely provide you with your roommate’s contact information (or roommates). It’s not only essential to getting to know one another, learning what each of you likes, dislikes, and what your interests are, but it is also crucial for you to coordinate what each of you will be bringing. Coordinating what items you have coming in will help prevent you from overcrowding your dorm. Planning will also limit the amount you all need to spend. Consider creating a Google Doc of shared objects, starting with a list of necessities, and slowly working your way towards your wish-list items. When the year is over, you can divide items with ease, leaving little room to fight over what article belongs to whom.

2.) Utilize wall, under the bed, and overhead storage to utilize every square inch of your dorm room.

When people try to organize their space, they tend to only look at eye level – not below and not above. The thing is, a dorm is tiny, so not including higher and lower spaces is almost a disservice. You are missing out on prime-real-estate! Under the bed storage bins are an excellent option, and over-the-door hangers and packets (such as shoe organizers and hooks) or shelving up high. You can use wall-hooks to hang various miscellaneous items and place your dresser in your closet (if you have one) to help increase square footage.

3.) Rent a self-storage unit with your roommate(s), keeping oversized items off-site for the college semester and beyond.

For oversized items such as sports equipment, musical instruments, or seasonal clothing and decor (yes, you may want to decorate for the holidays!), consider renting a local self-storage unit to increase your space. Plus, when it comes time to move home, you can keep items close to campus rather than packing them up for a long trip back and forth. Prices are already affordable, so if you go in with a roommate or two, the monthly cost will be minimal.

Remember what’s important. More than decorating your dorm or partying it up each night, you are in college, first and foremost, to learn. Have fun, but take the time needed to focus on your education and future. Take advantage of all of the opportunities that come your way, and work hard to accomplish your goals!

By coordinating what you are bringing into your dorm, utilizing the space within your dorm well, and renting a self-storage space, you can maximize your dorm space, setting yourself up for success. In the words of Dan Rather, “A college degree is key to realizing the American dream, well worth the financial sacrifice because it is supposed to open the door to a world of opportunity.”

To a spacious and successful college career!