Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

5 Tips for Making the Most of Dorm Storage Space

        Home & Garden | Dorms

You've got to Coordinate (With Your Roomie)

Reach out to your roommate before your move-in day, if possible. You can divvy the load of who brings what, saving both of you precious room space and sore muscles from lifting two of everything. Here are just a few space-invading items that you'll probably need just one of between the two of you:

  • Television (arguably you don't need one at all, but let's say you bring one anyway)
  • Refrigerator -- a mini-fridge, obviously; you'll likely have a full-size communal fridge available for storing big items and frozen foods
  • Microwave oven
  • Gaming console -- again, if you consider it a must-have, just one should do it
  • Stereo/music player dock with speakers

While triples (three people to a room) are not unheard of on college campuses, we'll assume that there are just two of you, which is much more common. Talk to one another as soon as possible and figure out what type of configuration works best for you. Is one of you OK with being several feet off the floor in a top bunk bed? Is the other person comfortable sleeping beneath potentially a couple hundred pounds of bed frame, mattress and roommate?

How much space will you both need to maneuver in the proper living area for yourselves and visitors? What about furniture such as throw cushions, futons and the school-provided desks and dressers?

It might even help to sketch on paper or computer a rough room layout beforehand. Shoving dorm furniture around is hard labor and it makes a racket like battling bull elephants. So naturally, it's best if you arrange to do it as seldom as possible.

The big takeaway here is to plan as much as you can with your roommate before you commit to devoting sweat and time to arranging your new nest. You might even consider it your first college-level "team assignment," except this one is outside of class!

There's an element of truth to the old advice that friends shouldn't become roommates...but there's no reason you can't become friendly with whoever your assigned roommate is. By cooperating and coordinating your efforts, you can both save money and that precious college commodity, cubic space.