It’s a new year at school, and you’re ready for it this time. This year, you tell yourself, I’m going to do ALL my readings and ace those exams. Yup, it’s going to happen. You’re even considering studying more in your dorm room—sometimes, even at the expense of socializing or parting.
But let’s face it. You might get that stellar GPA, but you’re definitely going to be using your room for a lot more than poring over your books. And there’s only one problem: your room is tiny. There’s just enough space for a bed, a desk and maybe a fridge. So how do you best maximize that minimal space?
We got in touch with Tom Scholtz, Store Manager at The Home Depot Canada, Whitby South for help.
A small space can still be pretty overwhelming. So where do you start? “Storage is the biggest thing,” says Scholtz. To keep things out of the way, he recommends a flat storage container that will fit under your bed. That way, you can put your seasonal stuff or extra sheets in there.
To add organization to your storage, Scholtz also suggests fabric cubes, like the ones displayed above. You can keep them in your drawer to keep items neat and separate, easing morning stress too.
Need even more space? There are also five-shelf organizers with dust flaps. These can be hung from a bar from the ceiling, making good use of your space. Clothes and clothing accessories (gloves, hats, scarves, etc.) can be placed in here and in a corner of your room. And even better? They’re a snap to assemble.
Here’s yet another space-saver: Choose furniture like you’d choose a Swiss army knife. Meaning that the more purposes it has, the better. “Ideally, you want something that can be used for other things,” Scholtz says, “Like a Chesterfield. It’s a bed but it folds up into a couch too and it’s more comfortable than a futon. It’s somewhat similar to a day bed.”
Scholtz also suggests using benches that have storage space. Perfect for seating and for keeping irregularly used items out of sight.
The right appliances
When it comes to kitchen appliances, not every student can afford a full fridge or stove. Scholtz advises students to stick with three compact appliances.
1. A bar fridge: It’s small, but holds just enough food for the week.
2. A microwave: It’s pretty self-explanatory, and more functional than a hot plate.
3. A toaster oven. It’s space efficient (the size of a toaster or just a bit bigger) and, adds Scholtz, “you can cook almost anything with it. Small, practical, easy meals.” This is, of course, assuming you’re no Jamie Oliver.
Making the best of a tight situation (and budget!)
“You can stick with folding chairs and tables that can be put away when you’re not using it,” advises Scholtz. There are also desk s that can be attached to your wall and folded down when you need more space.
And, if you have all your clothing storage taken care of, you may actually find that you have your closet available. Scholtz proposed an idea to turn your closet space into an office nook that kind of blew my mind.
You take the doors off your closet and put your desk in there. Meanwhile, you’re seated outside your closet. The shelf in the closet can now be used for your school textbooks. Don’t have a desk or can’t find one cheap enough? “Use kitchen cabinets that have shelving in them and place a countertop over it.” The Home Depot Canada, Scholtz says, has ready made countertops cut to size and in different styles. You can still use the cabinets for storage and, when the year is over, the “desk” can be easily taken apart. Brilliant!
Home sweet home
Finally, to really make that space yours, you have to add your own touch to it. “You just have to mix and match to make it unique,” advises Scholtz. He suggests adding a carpet or a rug, since it’s not only flat, but economical too. Same goes for window treatments, like bamboo blinds. Those fabric cubes mentioned earlier? They come in a whack-load of colours so you can personalize your storage space better.
Et voila: Now, you have an awesome space. In fact, you might have to also get a broom to chase away your dorm buddies that just won’t leave.