back-to-school

Office Depot

How to make the most of your dorm space without blowing your budget

We all have our signature style ... and apparently a lot of stuff.

Jul 31, 2018, 11:40 am*

IRL

 

Marisa Losciale

Sponsored by Office Depot

Heading off to college should be an exciting time, but it can turn stressful fast once you realize how much stuff you’ll need. On top of bedding and textbooks, there’s posters, storage bins, organizing crates… the list goes on!

Take a deep breath. We’ve got a few organizational dorm room tricks that will help you keep your cool during back-to-school shopping, and we’re more than happy to share them with you.

  1. Make a list of items you use daily to get an idea of what you’ll need to bring.
  2. Don’t wait until the week before classes to shop for school supplies.
  3. Use your storage bins to pack so filling the car doesn’t become a round of Tetris.
  4. Skip the lines and shop online!

We saved the most important tip for last – enjoy yourself! Whether you’re the one leaving for school or you’re shopping for someone else, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated. These must-haves will help make the most of your dorm space while still allowing you room for your signature touches. Check them out below! Also, check out our special quiz to find out what dorm style suits your lifestyle.

1) Optimize your study habits with a smart desk lamp.

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Quit straining your eyes! This smart, minimalist desk lamp features a light dimmer and rotating head so you can shine a light on the areas where you need to focus. The lamp is UL listed for safety, meaning it’s dorm-approved and is even designed with a USB port to help you save on space.

Price: $55.99

Buy it here

2) Make all of your space count with seated storage solutions

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Your workspace can take up precious real estate in a tiny dorm, which is why you need to make every inch count. By using a file cabinet that doubles as seating, you can guarantee a de-cluttered desk. Plus, when friends come to visit, you’ll have somewhere for them to sit besides your bed.

Price: $79.99

Buy it here

3) Forgo the microwave, invest in a fridge and freezer unit

back-to-school

Most universities make you choose between a fridge and a microwave, or you can rent one of their micro-fridges. But what they don’t tell you is that most dorms have a microwave in each lounge, so you don’t need one in your room. Not only is this going to free up space for something more important (like more freezer space) but it’ll also help keep your room from reeking of EasyMac!

Price: varies

Buy it here

4) Use an electric kettle and watch the savings roll in

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Not only is this an energy saving budget hack, but it also saves some serious space! High-end instant coffee pods are bulky and require their own organization system. But an electric kettle will brew you up a fresh cup of drip-style coffee or loose-leaf tea for half the price and it requires virtually no space. It can even be repurposed for quick fix meals like oatmeal and ramen!

Price: $13.99

Buy it here

5) Avoid buying in bulk, save with subscription services delivered as needed

back-to-school

Popular to contrary belief, buying in bulk doesn’t always ring in the savings. Especially if you don’t use the entirety of what you bought. Instead of letting snacks go bad or overestimating how much printer paper you need (and ultimately wasting your money), sign up for a subscription service and get deliveries only when you need them. And when you subscribe with Office Depot, you’ll actually save 10%!

Price: varies

Buy it here

6) Collapsible furniture is there for you when you need it.

back-to-school

Whether you’re hosting a study sesh or the viewing party for the latest episode of Shameless, you’ll need some extra seats. But don’t let all that space go to waste when those spare chairs aren’t in use. Get something like this Brenton Studio plush chair. Once you’re done with it, you can fold it up and slide it under your bed or tuck it away in your closet.

Price: $39.99 (regularly $49.99)

Buy it here

7) Never miss a beat with your own personal assistant, Google Home

back-to-school

Consider this your Bluetooth speaker, alarm clock, private investigator and personal assistant – all in one. Using the Google Home Mini system, users can set timers, turn up a bop, receive notifications, and even sound the alarm for their keys when they go missing.

Price: $49

Buy it here

8) Trade in your broom for a hand vac  

back-to-school

Dorms get dirty and brooms are useless. But where are you going to find the space to store a full-size vacuum? You won’t – which is why you need a hand vac. This way when it’s time for moving out, you won’t have to worry about being penalized for leaving a mess behind.

Price: $59.99

Buy it here

9) Say hi to your new bestie: non-damaging magnetic shelving

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These magnetic shelves will hold five pounds (or more, depending on which size you choose) of your stuff! So you can free up space on your desk, nightstand, and bathroom pedestal.

Price: $10.49

Buy it here

10) Use a cork board to keep track of important dates

back-to-school

College life is busy, making it way too easy to overlook due dates and forget about projects. But what if I told you staying on top of your stuff was as easy as using a cork board? It’s ideal for hanging a calendar, Post-its and other reminders for test dates, quizzes, and any other upcoming events.

Price: $8.99

Buy it here

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*First Published: Jul 31, 2018, 9:37 am