Moving into a dorm room or an apartment with roommates is a normal part of college.  While it can be awesome to meet new people and live in a place where something is always happening.  But living in such a small space with so many people also means that without being organized, you will quickly start to lose control.  Here are some basic tips for staying organized when starting college.

Prioritize

When packing to move, distinguish between what you want and what you need.  Your space will be small and shared – you probably won’t have space for a ton of clothes and shoes.  Instead, choose clothes and shoes for that season, choosing to keep the rest at home.  You can always change it out when you go home for the holidays or break – and if you are going far away for school, then you can always have new clothes shipped in.

Priorities are super important in college because there is no one to bug you about things like studying, how you spend your money, or the amount of partying you do.  You have to be on top of what is important to you and make sure that you achieve your goals.  That means finding a way to keep track of class assignments and projects (I love Google Calendar for this – simple and synced to all of my devices), learning to keep track of your finances (I love Mint.com for this purpose), and finding a balance between academics and a social life.

Do Double Duty

Living in a dorm or apartment with roommates means you will be putting a lot of people (and all of their stuff!) in a small space.  The only way to fit it all is to have your items do double duty.  For example, buy extra pillows for your bed to make it feel more like a couch when friends come over. A large mug can double as a bowl for soup.  If you use items that have more than one use, then you need less stuff!  Less stuff is easier to organize.

Get Creative

When it comes to maximizing space, the key is to get creative.  I love to think vertical – I use hooks and rods to keep things attached to the wall.  I attach shelves and have things hang.  Getting creative also means finding new ways to store things and ultimately maximize your space – like using risers and storing things under the bed.  I use bins, baskets, and tins for absolutely everything – it looks nice, keeps things neat, and keeps me organized.

 

What tips do you have to offer to Freshman getting ready to move into a dorm or apartment for the first time?

 

[Photo Courtesy of Flickr User HereStanding and used with a Creative Commons License]