Dorm Sweet Dorm: Moving to College

college dorm

UM-Flint Dorms by Jessi *AfterImage* (CC BY 2.0)

Back to school is here again. Yay! I love this time of year. Fresh pencils, new notebooks, and for some of you, a brand new room! If you’re moving off to college this year, I have some great ideas for your new home away from home, your dorm. Take a break from getting a jumpstart on those textbooks, and read these moving tips:

Step 1: Pack Smart For Your Dorm

dorm packing
Photo by Tim Regan

When you’re planning your move to a dorm, you may want to take all your stuff with you. Beware–dorm rooms are usually pretty small. You probably have to leave that giant stuffed elephant at home. Bringing too much stuff is an easy mistake to make, so here’s how to pack smart: DOGS. Dogs? DOGS! It stands for: Donate, Out (with the trash), Go, Storage. When you’re sorting through your things, make four piles according to this system: donate stuff you no longer need, trash things that have seen their better days, pack your stuff that’s going with you, and put the rest into storage.

Remember that most dorms provide furniture and have specific rules about what you can and can’t bring. Check with your school beforehand, so you know exactly what to bring.

Step 2: Keep Your Dorm Organized

dorm desk
Photo by Mark Vitazko

An organized dorm is a happy dorm! When you don’t have a lot of space, clutter can make your room feel even smaller. The key to organized dorm living is functional furniture. Storage ottomans, desk organizers, headboards with built-in storage, you name it. To find even more space, look to the walls. While most dorms have very strict rules about what you can put into the walls, think about what you can move from being clutter to being art. Have an extensive jewelry or purse collection? Hang it in a pattern that makes it art! Keep those important papers off your precious desk space by using a cork board. Remember that you can also loft your bed or use bed risers for more space.

However you end up organizing your dorm, make sure there’s a place for everything (and some extra space for those new textbooks and club t-shirts you’ll acquire). If everything has its own space, cleaning won’t be too much of a chore.

Step 3: Decorate Your Dorm!

dorm room
Photo by Denise Chan

When you’re dealing with a small space, how you decorate is the key to keeping it feeling roomy. Opt for light and bright colors, and fill your room with lots of light. Use mirrors to give the illusion of more space. Don’t go overboard with the amount of posters, art and photos you plaster on the walls. Going back to your dorm organization, make sure that you keep clutter off of surfaces. This will make your room feel larger.

Don’t forget to express yourself! While it can be fun to go all matchy-matchy with your dormmates, it’s your space, too. Making your space more personal will make it feel more homey and comfortable.

Need more tips? Check out these moving to a dorm tips on the NorthStar Moving website. Tell me about your favorite dorm ideas in the Comments section!