Starting college is a new experience filled with many different emotions. Excitement, anxiety and anticipation are all feelings students have leading up to entering their first college classroom or moving into their dorm room. Being prepared and having a well-organized space not only helps to feel more at home but can also help you feel ready to take on the school year.
Deciding what to bring with you to your home away from home is challenging, but can be simplified with the right tools.
LESS IS MORE
When packing, remember that less is more. Ask yourself simple questions that can help filter through what is essential to you and college and what isn’t. Do you use it every day? Have you worn it recently? Put those decluttering skills to good use (thanks Marie Kondo!) and avoid overpacking, which is the quickest way to making a shared space feel cluttered. Plus, having a clean room is an easy way to start the school year off on the right foot.
GET CREATIVE WITH STORAGE
Rooms in the halls have tons of opportunities in closets, drawers and shelves to get creative with storage and give everything a place to be stored. Use all the space provided to give every item a home and stay organized.
- Drawers: Drawers can be used to store many different items, but how you organize the drawers matter too. Try rolling your T-shirts and shorts inside the drawer to optimize space and allow for easy identification. You can also put boxes inside of the drawer to organize smaller items like socks, undergarments and anything else that can easily get jumbled inside a drawer.
- Shelves: Instead of just setting your books or decorations on a shelf, one easy way to get more space is with collapsible boxes. They look organized and uniform from afar, but give you more room to store valuables.
- Closets: Closet space is something that can be taken for granted in a shared space and there are a lot of ways to maximize it between two people. Using hanger organizers to attach multiple hangers to one hook can help use less space on the actual closet rack and can help organize specific types of clothing. Velvet hangers help reduce the space taken up by hanging clothes and are handy when whittling down the number of clothes to bring just isn’t possible.
YOUR ROOMMATE IS YOUR RESOURCE
One way that space in a shared area can be optimized is when roommates work together to bring items for the space. There are many items that you only need and, in some cases, are allowed, to have one. A mini-fridge, microwave, coffee maker and a TV are all items that can be shared between roommates and can save space and money. Connect with your roommate before move-in day to decide who is bringing specific items or hold off until you arrive and shop together to reduce the amount of stuff being moved from home at the start.
WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL AT HOME
Although being conscious about what you’re packing is essential, it is also important to pack items that make you comfortable in the space. Whether you have traveled a long distance or just down the street, your room is still where you will spend most of your time. Blankets, pillows and lamps can make a space feel cozier while bringing photos or incorporating a familiar color scheme can help make a space feel like home.
Once you have a space that is organized and decorated, keeping it that way is the next step. Meet with your roommate and complete the roommate agreement that sets boundaries and establishes expectations for visitors, activity hours and room cleanliness. The people you meet are just as crucial to your time at UCO as the experiences you have here and starting on a positive note sets you on the path to success in classes and organizations.