It's back to school season and that means a chance to get organized, and freshen up your style!
Here are some tips, tricks, and ideas for how to achieve the functional and clutter free environment that will leave you feeling on top of things, whether it's your first year or a new apartment.
If you are going into your first year of college, one of the biggest tips I have is get rid of clothes! Chances are you are going to be living somewhere with limited closet space so do yourself a favor and start purging things you don't wear before packing. If you just can't part with certain things, pack by season and leave what you won't need for awhile at home. Remember to also donate clothes that you really no longer wear to Salvation Army, or Goodwill (or take them to a consignment store and get some extra spending money)!
Also make sure you have a durable backpack, that has enough space for all you need to carry for the day. I've found that I try to stay on campus until my last class, so I bring a lot of things with me each day. With that being said, I would suggest staying away from bags or "cute" backpacks because they often lack the support, comfort, and functionality that many of us need on a daily basis.
**Pro-tip: Have another charger that you leave in your backpack at all times. Nothing is worse than a dead phone or computer when you are in the zone working on an assignment.**
Space in dorm and apartment living is prime real estate. We all want more of it, and must maximize what we already have. To do this, having less stuff to store in the first place will always be helpful. Don't bring your middle school trophies or you dog figurine collection. Bring a few decorative things that hold significance, and go crazy with the pictures (which take up virtually no space). Focus on using storage that can be stacked which will give you both vertical and horizontal space.
**Pro-tip: keep frequently used items at the front of storage containers, closets, etc. to avoid a daily hassle.**
Use a planner, or a phone, to maintain a schedule. A lot of schools give away free planners or if you're feeling fancy, you can use a website to personalize one.
Color coding will also be your best friend. This will help you to remember to bring only the necessary items each day and also make things easier when searching for a specific folder or notebook.
Use a pencil pouch/bag! To avoid losing pens, pencils, and all other stationary get a small bag to store all these small items! You'll avoid frustration, and spending money replacing lost items!
**Pro Tip: Have a mini stapler with you at all times; it'll be a lifesaver for you and forgetful classmates.**
In shared spaces in general, labels will be your best friend. Like when you used to go to summer camp and your mom would sharpie everything... bring that back. Also, when in a college dorm you most likely will not be able to leave things in common spaces.
If you and your roommates decide that you are not going to be sharing food (which can be a source of much contention), then using bins to store your food is a good idea. You can each label as many bins as you want with your name to keep things separate. For the fridge, you can work out who gets what shelf or using blue painters tape to create your own divisions!
For dorms this should be less of an issue but, again, whatever little snacks you have can go in smaller bins, and you can even do the fridge trick in a mini fridge if it's being shared.
First things first, keep all the things that do not have to be in the bathroom, in your own room!
In dorms, you will want to keep a shower caddy with shower essentials (again, don't put unnecessary items in the caddy to be forgotten or stolen).
In an apartment bathroom, you can use shower containers that suction to the wall to separate your products from your roommates while adding extra storage space.
3. Living Room
Focusing on apartment living, this should be one of the easiest spaces to share and work with. If you need an extra place for storing blankets and throws try to find an ottoman or cube with a top that comes off, instead of taking up valuable closet space. For extra seating, you can also get a few large pillows that can easily be stacked in a corner when not in use.
You most likely will not be able to hang pictures with nails or hooks, so opt for some command hangers which are easily removable!
**Pro-Tip: You can just use the adhesive strips themselves for posters and things that you can't hang.**
For all your storage and decorative needs there are a variety of stores for a variety of price ranges. Happy organizing and have a great school year!
Cheap: Dollar Store, 99 Cent Store
Inexpensive: Ikea, Target, Home Goods, Marshalls, Bed Bath & Beyond, Hobby Lobby
More expensive: The Container Store, Crate&Barrel