When it comes to going to college, living in a dorm is one of life’s great adventures. This is the setting where young adults have their first real taste of freedom and their first dose of no-holds-barred responsibility. There are no parents to lay down the studying rules, the eating rules, the sleeping rules or the all-mighty “cleanup-after-yourself” rule—these college co-eds need to figure it all out for themselves. But the one thing parents can do is put their own personal college experience to good use—especially when it comes to organizing life in a teeny-tiny dorm room for two. They may not want to hear how you went to bed every night by 10 pm (sure, you did) and studied for two hours before your first 8 am class (mmhmm), but they likely wouldn’t mind a suggestion or two about storage ideas, loft beds and the latest tech-hubs for their gadgets. (That goes double if you’re footing the bill!)
To help you help them, we’ve put together a few dorm-room essentials you can share with your kids—and we promise, you won’t come across as “bossy mom and dad”…you’ll just seem very, very in-the-know.
Take a look!
1) Organization Is Key
There isn’t much closet space or square footage to work with, so when sharing a dorm room with your roomie, keeping things in order (and separate) is essential if chaos is to be avoided. Introduce your kids to storage cubes for intimates; over-the-door organizers for shoes; shelf dividers to keep the top-of-the-closet clothing in place; and under the sink bins to keep the bathroom supplies organized. Last but not least is the handy, dandy pop-up hamper to make those trips to the Laundromat (or to your washer and dryer) easy breezy.
2) Take Advantage of Technology
There are some very cool, tech gadgets and conveniences that are perfect for dorm living. First off, the Power Dock 5 is a lifesaver since it charges five devices at once. Then there’s the nifty 7” Power Bed Riser from Bed, Bath & Beyond that not only raises the bed and makes room for under-the-bed storage, but also features twin 110-Volt 15-amp grounded outlets plus twin USB outlets. Last but not least, offer to buy a Laptop Lock because what a bummer if a slippery-fingered visitor made off with that laptop.
3. Get Lofty with Lofts
If dorms allow, the greatest solution for space is to create more space—and that starts with a loft bed. Take a look at the clean-lined Ikea frame that would easily fit a desk or couch beneath or a slightly fancier Kenai Loft from Wayfair that comes equipped with a wall of drawers. If your child is lucky enough to have a single, a sweet trundle bed is a fantastic sleep/storage solution. Info for Handy People: Build a loft of your very own.
4. Study Accessories
Let’s not forget why your child is at college in the first place—to learn! And that means their desk space should be functional and (because they are who they are) have a splash of style. Pottery Barn’s line of divided trays, pencil cups and caddys are sleek and useful. Corkboards, dry-erase boards or white boards are also great for keeping reminders and due dates within sight. Another smart idea is to invest in a decent chair (nothing overly bulky), since hopefully they’ll be spending a few hours a night studying in between Rush parties. Bonus idea: A laptop fan to keep computers from getting on the too-warm side.
5. Give In to the Fridge
You may be paying for the meal card, but who are you kidding—snack cravings can happen at all hours. So if the dorm doesn’t already provide one, a mini-fridge is great. The advantage is in the choices: instead of a pizza run at 2 AM, your princess (or prince) can make a quick sandwich or grab some fruit from the fridge. With this handy Fridge Cart from the Container Store, the mini-fridge is also easily maneuverable and comes with two mesh drawers—one for each roommate. Perfect, right?
One More Cool-Parent Suggestion
If you really want to seem like the total, tech-savvy parent, introduce your kid to the Design Your Dorm website to give them an idea of what kind of space they’ll be working with this year. The site features an array of dorm room layouts, a 3D designer tool and even links to quick buys for coffee makers, design accessories and more.
Are your kids ready for college? What dorm room organization ideas are you sharing with them?