Maximize Your Space for Less

By Lauren Sharkey

As much as I love not living with my parents during the school year, campus housing sometimes leaves much to be desired in terms of space.  When I imagine myself living on my own, I definitely don’t picture myself sharing a  10×10 room with my best roommate.  But as they say, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade!  Unfortunately, my freshman year was so jam packed with having the college experience, that I didn’t really attempt to customize my sardine can.  But now that I’m older, and wiser, I’ve come up with some pretty neat ways to brighten up the room without getting written up.

1.  Shoebox Projector

One of the things that sucks about being a college student is being a broke college student.  Sure I would love a nice 72″ flat screen LCD TV mounted on my common room wall, but unfortunately I can neither afford one, nor do the dorm room rules and regulations allow for anything to be mounted on the wall.  So, as I was searching the Internet for a cheap replacement, I came across this nifty craft and I’m happy to report that it actually works!  Don’t believe me?  Test it out – the magnifying glass cost me about $7…what do you have to lose?


Learn how to make your own shoebox projector here!

2.  Cell Phone Holder

No matter where I happen to place my cell phone down to charge, it always seems to be in an inconvenient place.  If I let it charge next to my pillow at night, I am always reaching into the crack between my bed and the wall, trying to fish it out in the morning.  If it’s on my desk, or in my laptop, it gets tangled up in the swarm of other wires lying around.  There never seems to be a good place for it…until now.  This little craft is cheap, easy to do, and will save you time trying to locate your phone and keep it out of harm’s way!


Learn how to make your Cell Phone Holder here!

3.  Ribbon Memo Board

I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people who is super organized the first day of school and then the next day I can’t seem to find anything…especially if it’s on a piece of paper.  I used to have a drawer for take-out menus but I would get so frustrated sifting through them to find the one I needed that I would just give up.  I thought about getting one of those paper holder thingies from Staples, but it takes up too much room on my desk.  That’s where the ribbon memo board came in and it’s worked ever since!  I made the bottom pocket extra big so I can keep important syllabi, papers, and other items present.


Learn how to make your own ribbon memo board here!

4.  Triple Sorting Laundry Basket

I am nothing if not a procrastinator – I wait till the last minute to do everything.  I am usually still putting the finishing touches on my paper as the class is passing them forward, I will use a fork to eat cereal so as not to do dishes, etc.  But there is one thing, more than any other, that I truly hate doing and will wait till the last second to do – and that’s laundry.  I hate having to sort darks and whites, hand washables and regular wash, etc.  Thankfully, before I left for school, my mother purchased this three section laundry basket.  This way when I toss things in, I can pre-sort it and cut down on my laundry time.

3sectlaundryPurchase for $8.96 here.

5.  Stick-on Pods

Living with a roommate is difficult – even if you’re the best of friends, living with another person takes some getting used to.  But living with four other girls, and only one bathroom…well, it’s a disaster waiting to happen – especially when everyone’s favorite color is purple.  There is no greater panic than that of waking up in the morning, going into the bathroom, and not knowing which toothbrush is yours.  But no more!  Now there are stick-on pods that make organizing, and separating, your toiletries easy!


Purchase for $23.99 here.

6.  Caddy Separation

I don’t know about you, but I kind of hate the way all our shower caddies look below our bathroom sink…no matter how many times I tell myself I am going to organize that shelf, it never seems to work.  But I happened to pass by these when I was at the store a few weeks ago, and they work great!  You can even try stacking them in the shower area so everyone’s towel is readily available.

OurBasicStackBasket_l 2Available from The Container Store at $5.99.

7.  Cube Storage and Seating

It seems there is never enough room for anything when it comes to dorm life.  There are never any chairs, books are piled high on my desk, and who knows where to keep snacks.  So, this semester, my father got some old milk crates, took a couple of throw pillows from my couch, and made this:


Milk crates available from The Container Store for $6.99
Crates can also be found at Target (in different colors) for $3.49
Throw pillows from Walmart start at $6.49
Pillows also available from Target at $8.74 and up

Instead of putting the opening towards the ground, you can face them outward and the cubes will be able to double as storage (for books, movies, video games, etc.) and seating.  You can probably take the pillows off and use the surface of the cubes as a table also!

So, those are just a few tips and tricks that will hopefully maximize your space without creating a huge hole in your wallet.  If you have a great space-saving suggestion, be sure to leave it in the comments below 🙂

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