Get the Most Out of Your Dorm Room

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Dorms (spoiler alert) are pretty small. Your average room is probably going to run 12 feet by 20 feet, for a total area of 240 square feet. Keep in mind that you're sharing that with another person, though, which means all your possessions — bed, dresser, desk, books, everything you can't shove into the closet — have to fit in 120 square feet. The only way that's gonna happen is if you make smart choices about what you own and how it's stored.

The first solution: loft, loft, loft. This is a college trend not because it's glamorous but because it works. If you can bunk the beds and you and your roommate are comfortable with that arrangement, do it. That allows you to stack your dressers, two moves that radically reduce the amount of floor space you're taking up. If you don't feel like bunking — maybe you've got some personal space concerns, or you just want some privacy in case you have, uh, guests — then you should raise the beds as high as they'll go on their individual frames and store dressers and personal items underneath. Again, since you're working with a limited amount of floor space, your best bet to maximize efficiency is to go vertical. By socking dressers and foot lockers away underneath beds, you make it that much easier to navigate the rooms.

Speaking of going vertical: get yourself an entertainment center or storage rack, even if you don't have a TV to put in it. They make fantastic storage units for books, movies, odds and ends, and clothing items like shoes that are a bit too bulky to leave lying around the room but need to be easier to get than the stuff that's hiding in the closet.

When it comes to desks, you'll probably have one provided by housing that comes with the room. If you want to make it work for you, you have to keep it clean. Sounds lame, but it's true. You're going to be spending an inordinate amount of time at that desk studying, writing, and goofing off when you should be studying or writing, and as such it needs to be the best work space it can be. Throw away food wrappers and drink cans after use. Keep your notes organized in separate binders or spiral notebooks instead of just grouped into piles in various drawers.

Your dorm room isn't just a place to crash between parties; it's your home for at least a year, so make it work for you.

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