1. Get Rid of Stuff
You may have all kinds of extra junk that you really don’t need. Pare down on anything you have more than one of (do you really need three packsacks, two French dictionaries and an extra toaster!? No). Try selling old textbooks, shoes you never wear, get rid of your TV and radio (you have a computer, right?). Organize or take part in a clothing swap to exchange the many things you are tired of for a few new items. Consider renting a storage space with a couple other students to store larger things you don’t need, but can’t part with (Aunt Martha’s grandfather clock, for example).
Practice –yes, it does take practice – paring down your belongings regularly, and you’ll find that you won’t accumulate junk, and suddenly find yourself sleeping in the bathtub for lack of space.
2. Make Furniture Work the Double-shift.
If you have the extra cash, or the ingenuity to McGuiver your own, try to have furniture that performs double duty. Murphy beds, pull-out couches, futons and under-bed storage are just a start. Storage boxes can be used as footstools and chairs, crates can be stacked to make bookshelves, bookshelves can be stacked on top of dressers (just make sure it is secure!)
Don’t underestimate the value of extra storage space. Nobody cares if you keep your socks and undies in a box that you can sit on; keeping them in a pile on your bed, however, is not very practical.
3. Use Vertical Space.
A simple concept: for the space you lack on the ground, you can recover by thinking vertically. For this strategy, think about your walls and ceiling as more than space to posters and cobwebs. This is the place to hang your bike, place lighting, add shelves (more storage!), and store the things you don’t need on a daily basis.
Make sure you use common sense and properly secure heavy objects. You may need a “stud-finder” or a handy friend help you locate the proper areas to drill screws into the wall. Also, ask employees at the hardware store to find the best types of screws for the walls you have…don’t learn this lesson the hard way!
4. Make Use of the Resources Around You
Remember that as a student, you have a lot of free or cheap resources at your fingertips. You probably won’t need your DVD collection because most colleges or universities have cheap movie screenings, or rent DVDs from the library. A growing number of cities, such as Montreal, have bike-sharing programs that are very affordable, so you don’t need to have a big cumbersome bike sitting in your apartment all winter long.
You can keep your book collection to a minimum since you will have multiple libraries at your disposal. It may be “nice” to have your own stuff, but it’s much nicer having your own space. There’s plenty of time to accumulate things, should you so desire, after school.
Dorm, or small apartment, living can be a good practice in embracing minimalism and keeping hoarding in check. You will begin to reconsider every item you bring into your home, because you know the impact it can have on your personal space. You will also learn to value and appreciate what you do have, so you are not bogged-down by superfluous possessions. As life during and after school becomes increasingly complicated, you will be happy that you mastered the art of keeping your surroundings simple.
Please take a look at this video for Maximize Your Dorm Room Space
*Disclaimer: Make sure you know what you are allowed to alter in your room or apartment before nailing things into the wall! 🙂