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Seven tips for saving space: college student edition

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Pascal Albright | The Daily Wildcat Organize your life with these tips. From verticle storage to extra shelves, there are several ways to save space.

Moving away for college is always exciting — until you run out of space for all your things. Whether you live in a dorm, apartment or a house, the Daily Wildcat has you covered on how you can maximize your living area as a college student.

1. Check your dimensions

Before you even move into your new place or purchase new furniture, make note of the measurements to plan the room layout.

Essential items to measure and compare with the dimensions of your living space include drawers, dressers, rugs, chairs, any large pieces of furniture or vanity.

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2. Go vertical!

When it comes to small spaces, Kennedy Dinkel, a professional organizer who worked in Tucson for two years, said that “utilizing vertical space” is a way to save space in smaller areas.

“Use every wall, every door, every closet door that you can to keep all your stuff in and keep it off the floor,” Dinkel said. “So, for example, using command hooks to hang up your hats instead of putting those in your closet, having an over-the-door organizer.”

Other ways to utilize vertical space include foldable storage boxes, drawer stands, wall shelves or three shelf rolling carts. 

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3. Use under bed storage

Opposite to using vertical space, using the space under your bed may be a good way to store items.

Lauren Greenberg is a University of Arizona freshman living in the dorms. Greenberg recommended that bins could be stored underneath the bed, with the bedskirt covering it “to make it look nicer.”

Under-bed rolling storage, shoe bins, cloth block shelves and vacuum sealing clothes that you aren’t using for the season are more items that may be stored under the bed to maximize the area of your room. 

“Really it’s all about storage. If you can get more storage cubicles, four-cubed storage that Targets sells, those will fit under the bed and that’s been really helpful,” said Pamela Avila, a mother of a UA student who has recently moved into the dorms.

4. Maximize your closet space

According to a Today article, buying a double hanging closet rod, folding efficiently and packing things in unused suitcases are all ways of better organizing your closet.

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5. Other storage options

For students who are considering living off campus, something to consider may be the storage options they offer in the living space.

Mohammad Abutaki, a senior majoring in chemistry has lived in an apartment during his last four years at the UA. He said that having a storage area in the balcony of his latest apartment has been helpful to store miscellaneous items like tools.

When browsing for your next dorm, apartment or house, check to see what options they have available for storage including closet space, cabinets and extra storage.

6. Buy versatile items

Dinkel said that because students tend to move often during college, they should try to buy items that will fit most spaces and not just what they may need for the present.

“If you’re wanting to buy organizers for your dorm or random stuff … you have to just remember that your dorm space is not going to be the exact same space as your next apartment space, not going to have the same closet size,” Dinkel said.

Additionally, Dinkel mentioned shoe racks as one versatile item that can be used in any closet. She added that smaller bins are more versatile as they can fit in more spaces. 

Dinkel also recommended buying items that you may not need in the future for cheaper at places like Facebook Marketplace, and said that the Dollar Tree has “pretty good” bins for a cheap price.

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7. Get rid of the clutter! 

Finally, no matter how many organizers, bins and racks you may buy, it may never be enough if you don’t declutter. As a college student, it’s easy to let papers, laundry and other items pile up.

To declutter, Dinkel recommended throwing out any papers and flyers you don’t need right away, having “different zones for different things,” buying organizational items like binders for schoolwork. And just bring the essentials while moving into your new living space.


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (11/24)
1,344 22 1.6%
Total (8/2)
60,367 957 1.6%
Includes tests since August 2, 2021
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated November 24, 2021