Dorm Life 101: Planning for Your College Student

 Find these bins  HERE . 

Find these bins HERE

Today, we are diverting from talking home construction or office renovation, and instead, we are touching on a topic that many parents all over the US are facing in the next few weekends: moving their college student into a dorm room. 

Dorm life certainly has a stereotype or a stigma that goes along with it, including visions of late nights, cold pizza, copious amounts of coffee, and tiny dorm rooms that often look like a disaster.  While we can't do much to keep your student from the unhealthy eating and sleeping habits (they learn that one on their own!) we can help alleviate some of the concern about their disastrous space with some helpful tips.  College students often have neither the time nor motivation to get an organizational system in place for themselves.  Ensure that they are set up for success by helping them put systems in place for their laundry, their school books/papers, etc.  Try these tricks and hacks to make your college students dorm room easy to organize, easy to clean, and easy to live in.

  1. Have a "laundry caddy" that they can easily throw into their basket of dirty clothes when they head to the laundromat or dorm laundry facilities.  In a small plastic container such as the one in the image above, place detergent packets, dryer sheets, a stain removal stick/gel, and perhaps even an inexpensive scrub brush for stubborn stains. For students who have to pay to do laundry, a bag of quarters is an incredibly helpful addition to the laundry caddy too! 
  2. An under-the-bed storage bin is a great place for your student to store "extras" that they won't use very often, and would take up precious closet space.  Blankets, coats/jackets, spare office supplies, etc. can all fit easily into one of these bins, and are accessible without too much effort.  By keeping them under the bed though, these items leave the closet and desk area free for items that are used on a daily basis, and prevent clutter. 
  3. Storage containers are super helpful for college students.  Small sorting containers make keeping pens, pencils, staples, and more organized within a desk drawer.  Larger bins can be placed on shelves in the closet, or even on the floor of the closet, to hold shoes, accessories, and other items that can end up in a massive pile.  Another helpful trick using these bins are to set them up sideways on the top shelf of a closet.  They allow you to stack towels, washcloths, spare sheets, etc. easily since it keeps linens neat and orderly, and helps keep them folded.  These types of bins are easy to find at any big box store, and many dollar stores sell good-quality bins in fun colors for a VERY cheap price. 
  4. Have a shower basket for your student.  Most dorms have "hall bathrooms", meaning that your student will be heading down the hall to a gym-style bathroom and shower area that utilizes stalls for privacy.  Having a basket that stays stocked with shampoo, conditioner, a loofah or washcloth (or both), and any other needed toiletries can be very helpful.  Additional items to include are a travel packet of wet wipes, a travel packet of cleaning wipes (for those times when the bathroom cleanliness leaves much to be desired), and a razor with shaving cream. 
  5. Shoe organizers make a great storage system for dorm rooms.  Hanging one on the back of the door gives your student a space to keep small items like chargers, computer cables, and other items that can get easily tangled.  They utilize space that would otherwise be empty! 

We hope these tips and tricks give you some inspiration for setting your student up this school year!  That spare bedroom in your house that they are leaving behind? There's no better time to turn it into an office, or your own personal space!  Don't worry...you can always keep a bed hidden for those weekends when your student decides to come home to Polk County for a visit.  We have our own tricks and hacks for making sure you have space for them to sleep without giving up your new "grown-up" area.  Stop by or call our Winter Haven office when you want to get started with making your home your dream space.