It’s that time of the year, between midterms and finals, when students are getting restless since nothing new is happening in their lives. The excitement of move-in day is over, you’ve gotten the hang of your classes, and the social groups have all fallen into place. Are you looking to switch things up but don’t know how? Maybe you finally tried a different cafeteria on campus but realized it is actually the same food, just in a different location? Or you actually went to that freshmen-only event and regretted it immediately? These are all things you can’t control. However, one thing about your life that you can control and might be ready to change, is your living space. Are you ready to be “out with the old and in with the new”? Here are 7 tips on how to make your dorm room more cozy and organized.
1. Ask For Permission
This is very important. Whether your roommate is practically your family by now, or y’all are still so distant that it is weird to share toilet paper. Either way, it is very important that you get their consent before you start changing the dorm room. If you make the decision that it is time to rearrange or reorganize, make sure that they are on board. How would you like it if you came home one day and all of your beloved laptop stickers were removed? You might feel empty, angry, confused or maybe even lost. The same feeling can be associated with having your bed moved or the closet rearranged. Just get the “okay” before you switch things up.
2. Create a Game Plan
It is essential to always have an idea of how you are going to achieve a goal. This is especially important in the case of rearranging your living space and dorm room. You never want to just start randomly and wing it. From personal experience, I can assure you in order to avoid cluttered areas or wasted time, generating an idea and creating a floor plan throughout the process will be extremely beneficial (it may also save you from accidentally creating gashes or chipping paint off the walls). Your game plan doesn’t have to be super detailed or have exact step-by-step instructions. It’s just useful to have an idea, like a rough sketch or verbal discussion with whoever is helping you.
3. Be Dramatic
“Go big or go home.” Don’t be shy or modest when rearranging the room. Go for a drastic change. This late in the semester you are probably getting too comfortable with the space and things are starting to get messy. Be brave and go big. The worst that can happen is you move it back to how it was before. A change is always good, so why not make it a big one that can transform the space and make it feel like move-in day again. After I rearranged, I was so excited to get home from class just so I could see my dorm and crawl into my (now un-lofted) bed.
4. Get a Better Use of Space
It’s okay not to play the linear separations of the dorm. Yes, it might be easier to just keep everything divided right down the center so your roommate’s books and leftover take-out boxes don’t clutter your side. But it is also extremely cozy to “nest” the furniture and create a little safe home for yourself. Try cornering the beds or futons in the room. You can do this by picking a corner of the room, preferably away from an entrance, and run a bed along each wall, connecting at the 90 degrees. This will create a cave or sunken effect that makes you feels safe and surrounded.
5. Stack Furniture and Items
Maybe you are not blessed with vaulted 10 ft. ceilings, but instead of taking up floor space throughout your dorm room, try stacking or putting different heights of furniture by each other. This could result in more shelf space and a different perspective to add character. For example, start with a small dresser in the corner of the room. Snuggle it in nicely to the angle and then place your microwave on top. This still allows for other objects to surround the microwave but now it is at a perfect reaching level. Additionally, are your beds lofted? This would be the perfect opportunity to give your TV the boost it needs so you can actually watch Mean Girls (for the 2,000th time) from your bed instead of sitting in that awkward desk chair that came with the room. By playing around with height, your room will not only get an entire face-lift, but it will be more accessible and easier to use.
6. Tackle Vital Smells
You may be starting to realize that your dorm room is getting its signature scent of old Ramen bowls, dried toothpaste, and that pile of laundry in your closet that has been sitting for 3 days too long! This is exactly the sign that you need to run down to the nearest Bath and Body Works, get a wallflower, and plug that sucker in. You don’t have a Bath and Body works nearby? No worries! You can always order online or find the best substitute at the nearest convenient store. Also, if your dorm doesn’t allow plug-in scents, I have found it very useful to get the little hanging car fresheners in scents like “clean linen” to hang in my closet or under my bed to give the room a little extra freshness. Another simple trick to helping the room de-stink is to simply open the window on a breezy afternoon. This will help air out the space that is presumably locked up 90% of the time, and it will allow fresh-air to filter out all of the allergens in the room.
7. Get Tons of Blankets
The easiest and most comforting way to revamp your dorm room is by simply stocking up on blankets. Whether they are quilts, sheets, comforters, fleece throws, or even Snuggies, it is important that you always have one available for the day that the heater doesn’t work, or when you just need a little extra security to wrap yourself in. I love using blankets to get warm from that cold walk home, or to wrap myself in to watch a movie with my friends. My top recommendations would be a bamboo throw or a Sherpa. Although these options may run pricey, everyone has someone who is looking for that perfect gift to get the new college family member. Blankets make great gifts and you can never have enough blankets to snuggle with!