Dorm organization tips with Simple Living Concierge Services
In the coming weeks, college dorm parking lots will fill with SUVs and the occasional moving truck as anxious parents move their children out of the house and into the next chapter of their lives. And while this chapter is sure to hold countless new experiences and opportunities, it doesn’t include a lot of living space. Most dorms are not known for amenities or even floor space. As a result, organization is not just ideal, but necessary.
Eager to learn where to start, we called on the professionals. Bri Boudreaux of Simple Living Concierge Services has been organizing dorms–among other services–for the last three years. We sat down with her to learn her keys for year-long, clutter-free success.
“You only want what you need in a room that size,” says Boudreaux. “If you haven’t used it in six months, I say to get rid of it.”
Dorms can only hold so much stuff. Boudreaux suggests getting rid of useless items, and limiting the amount of décor brought in. While cute accessories seem like a great way to liven up a concrete room, she says they will likely just make it feel even smaller. Boudreaux also suggests only taking clothes for the current season, and leaving the rest with parents. When students go home for the holidays, they can swap everything out.
Most dorms will allow new residents to come in during the summer to take measurements and get an idea of the floor plan and other elements like closet and other storage space. However, even if that option isn’t possible, Boudreaux says it is absolutely essential to measure before purchasing things like bins and baskets.
“You want the storage to be functional and sustainable over a long period of time,” she says. “In order to do that, you have to make a plan. If you just go out and buy a bunch of baskets and bins, it will end up being even more cluttered, rather than helping.”
3. Keep it clear.
Boudreaux’s number one tip is to use clear bins, rather than decorative wicker ones. While baskets can be enhanced with bin clips, nothing compares to being able to see what is in a particular bin, especially in dorms where they will likely be stored under beds or in spare corners.
Boudreaux suggests heading to Bed, Bath & Beyond or Amazon for bins. While they can be slightly pricier, she says that opting for higher quality pays off in the long run, as the bins will hold up for years to come, as kids make the move from dorm to apartment to house.
On the same vein as the clear bins, Boudreaux suggests picking up a label maker and giving each bin one specific purpose. In addition to making belonging easier to find, it also allows for the elimination of clutter.
“For things like toiletries, you can say, ‘This is the only bin for toiletries and I’m not keeping anything more than this,” she explains. “That way, you can constantly be decluttering and not just filling more space with unnecessary items.”
If typical black-and-white labels don’t match the décor, Boudreaux says that custom vinyl labels can easily be made in any color or font, and they add an extra touch to the plain clear bins.
Beyond the bins, Boudreaux says that when approaching every aspect of the room, functionality should be kept in mind.
“You want the organization to work for you every single day, not just a week after it is organized,” she explains. “It’s easy to make things look beautiful, but you want storage that helps you stay neat as long as possible.”
Boudreaux and her Simple Living team help students and parents move into their new spaces and organize them accordingly, even if the move is out of state.
“We deal with these spaces daily. We know what is practical and realistic, and what will work in the long run,” she says. “We will even go in every few months and tidy up.”
Check out more college advice stories from the inRegister archives:
- The low down on sorority recruitment letters of recommendation
- Dress to impress: What to wear for sorority recruitment
- Mastering small talk: A guide to sorority recruitment conversation
- From drab to fab: Dorm decorating with Carrie Griffin
- College cuisine: Avoid the freshman 15 with Eat Fit BR
- Leaving on a jet plane: Advice for parents of study-abroad students