The four-plus years you’ll spend at college certainly have the potential to be the best times of your life. It’s packed with exciting opportunities for learning, new friendships and romantic relationships, and experiencing life on your terms for the first time. Every piece is fantastic on its own, but put together it can be downright overwhelming. Not everyone is ready to juggle the tight schedule and life management required to be successful. And those that are often see something else drop out. Clutter may be a side effect of genius, but most college students are just downright lost. Here are five ways college students can get organized, and see their lives just work better.
First of all, don’t bring too much stuff from home. It can be tempting to move your whole life out of your parents’ house. But remember that the dorm or off-campus apartment you’re living in has an expiration date. Chances are you’ll only be there for a semester or a year before moving on. And life at college mostly happens outside of the room where you sleep at night. So only bring what’s most meaningful to you, or what you need to work effectively. You can always take a trip home or have some odds and ends mailed to you if you forget something important.
When it comes to fitting all of your stuff in the room, look for opportunities to take advantage of natural storage. Many students who live in a two-person dorm room will lift their beds so that they can place an extra dresser or their bed underneath. That way you’ll have some extra floor space you can use for additional organizers. If that’s not for you, don’t forget about that useful space under the bed. You can buy slim, rectangular storage containers on wheels that will fit perfectly under there. That keeps them totally out of the way, which makes it a great way to store your out of season clothes.
Closets often become the place where piles collect. That makes it incredibly important to fit them with organizers so you can make optimal use of the space. Look for inexpensive shelving and drawer solutions you can fit into your closet that help keep everything stowed cleanly and easily within reach. Just make sure whatever you use isn’t a permanent addition. You’ll want to take it with you when you move out.
Also consider furniture that doubles as organization solutions. You should easily be able to find a storage trunk that also works as a chair, or a coffee table that has hidden storage for extra blankets or clothing. And go with a desk that has drawers you can close up. The more stuff that’s visible, the more cluttered you’ll feel. And you will always want at least one drawer that locks for stowing your valuables when you’re off at class.
Now that your room is handled, don’t forget about organization for the rest of your life. You might be a Pepperdine MBA candidate, but that doesn’t mean you can keep your schedule in your head. Choose a calendar program that can sync up with all of your devices, so changes you make on your laptop computer will transfer to your tablet and your smartphone. You’ve got classes, extracurricular activities, family events and a social life to track. The more consistent your organizational technique, the smaller the chance you’ll wake up one morning and realize you just slept through a final exam.