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Saturday, July 19, 2014

How To Survive Your Dorm Room - Everything Else

If you've been keeping up with my How To Survive Your Dorm room series, you know I've already told you how to make the most of your bedbathroom, and closet! The response I've gotten on these posts is overwhelming! Now it's time for…everything else! In this post I'm covering your desk, dresser, and floor space. See anything I forgot? Leave me a comment or shoot me an email!

1. Desk
My desk/"kitchen area"
Most dorms come with a desk (check with your dorm to make sure yours does!), and for most people it functions as more than a desk. I used my desk to do homework, to eat, to use my computer…pretty much for everything! If you think "I'll never use my desk, I'll just sit on my bed!", you are WRONG. Try to do your homework on your bed a few times…if you're like me, you'll end up taking a nap. 

You're most likely going to have a lot of things on your desk because it's one of the only pieces of furniture in the room. On top of mine I had a printer, a lamp, a pencil holder, my vitamins, some picture frames, and some other miscellaneous things. I learned early on that I couldn't fit 5 picture frames on my desk, so I moved them on top of my air conditioner. 

Your desk is another part of your room (besides your bed) that is something that you should absolutely love! After a few weeks, you'll figure out a system that works for you! You'll definitely need a lamp, especially if you have a roommate that naps a lot ;), and a cork board is another must! I found mine at Burlington super cheap. It already had the chevron, I just added my monogram! You can always find some super cute cork board DIYs on Pinterest! I also kept a pencil holder from the dollar bin at Target on my desk. Put up artwork or something else that puts you in a good mood for the long hours you'll spend at your desk! I pinned my owl sign I got on bid day on my wall so I would see it everyday! Your cork board is a great way to put some personalization in your desk area without taking up any valuable space on your desk! 
TIP: Use pushpins in the wall to hang things like your keys so you won't forget and/or lose them!

I kept things that were special to me on my board, like a picture of me and my parents, my bid card, and a carnation I received.  I also kept things that I didn't need to lose on my board, such as coupons, business cards, my mailing address, and my game day pins. By the end of the year my board was completely filled! 

2. Kitchen area

Another important part of your dorm is your "kitchen area" aka your mini fridge and microwave (if your dorm allows). My fridge was old and ended up dying, so I got a new one with a separate freezer and refrigerator. I highly recommend it! We also had a microwave, and a single cup coffee maker (the kind that pours straight into your cup, not the kind with a pot). Because we had a very small sink that was hard to wash things in, we mainly used plastic utensils and styrofoam plates. When we had to wash cups or bowls, we would sometimes have to do that in the shower. A few more things you might need are: tupperware bowls, strainer, can opener, paper towels, and dishwashing soap. Don't forget to keep this area clean!

3. Dresser

My dresser housed our TV and DVD player, so I was unable to decorate it. But, my roommate did a great job decorating hers! She had a large mirror, candlesticks with pillar candles, a serving tray, and picture frames! She made it feel really homey, and you almost forgot you were in a dorm!

One of the things that I think is ESSENTIAL for your dresser are drawer liners! If you've read my bathroom post, then you know I'm kind of a germaphobe!  Drawer liners keep your things from getting icky in the bottom of the drawers, and some are even scented to keep your clothes smelling fresh! You can use a drawer liner like this, or even something like wrapping paper! Just use some double sided tape to keep it in place! Not only did I use it for my dresser drawers, but for my desk drawers as well!

4. Floor space
A rug is an absolute must! If your dorm has carpet, it is almost guaranteed to be icky, and if your dorm has tile then a rug is a great addition to make the floor comfortable! Rugs don't have to be super expensive, either! If you're having a hard time finding a rug you like, or one that isn't going to break the bank, check your local carpet store for scraps of carpet that have been bound to make a rug. I just got a 5x7 rug from Lowe's for $25 because it was actually a piece of carpet that they bound to make a "rug".

5. Decor
Decorating my dorm room was my favorite part! Check out Hobby Lobby for some great decor pieces, or even make your own! Canvases are super easy to paint, and you can make them any way you want them! Check out Pinterest for some great canvas inspirations!

Do you have any tips for surviving a dorm room? Leave me a comment! And don't forget to check back in August for pictures of my new and improved dorm room! Be sure to follow my College Board on Pinterest for more great ideas!

This were all of the remaining things I had to take back with me after my parents had come and gotten most of my stuff. Spoiler alert: it fit! (Barely)


  1. Hi Hayden! I've been looking at your blog a lot lately because as college rolls around again dorm packing is happening. I am trying to make my stuff more organized. I am a blogger as well, and I see our style is a lot alike! I had a question. I have a four rolling white plastic drawer that I use as storage. I was cleaning it out after college last year and was wondering how you used yours as organization. I could use more ideas! Thanks! Keep blogging and inspiring!

    1. Hey Han! Thanks for reading! Last year I had 3 white pullout drawer thingys (two wide, one narrow). I used one set to hold sheets, towels, and washcloths because I had no cabinet space in the bathroom. I used one to hold my food (which took up a lot of space because I love to snack lol) and things like utensils, tupperware containers, paper towels, plates, etc. I used another one to hold tumbler cups and coffee cups (because I had about 20…oops!) and then I had a junk drawer. The only way I was able to keep it organized was to keep everything within the same category together, like all sheets together, all food together, etc. If I wouldn't have done this it would have been absolute chaos!
      This year I'm totally clueless about how I'm going to use my drawers because all of my organization has been totally switched up! Things I used in the bathroom will now have to go in my room and vice versa, so this year's will be trial and error! Do you have any tips?! I'd love to read them!

      Thanks girl!!

  2. Hey Hayden! I really liked what your roommate did with the large mirror behind the dresser. I was wondering what she used to hang up the mirror with. We aren't allowed to put holes in the wall in my dorm and I wanted to see if you had any alternatives. Thanks!

    1. Command strips work really well. I'm not allowed to put holes in the wall either. They have all kinds from Velcro for heavy canvases, etc. To waterproof ones for the bathroom. They should be at most stores!

    2. Hey Becca! I did the same thing with the mirror in my room this year, and we just have it propped up on the dresser! We can't use command hooks and are only allowed to use thumbtacks to hang things up, so just setting it on the mirror worked best for us!

  3. I have a set of drawers that I keep in the bathroom to put my towels and washcloths in and then just put my shower caddy on top. (Our bathroom is suite-style) I also have a set of wire shelves that connect together and I use them for storage

    1. Such an awesome idea Heather! I went back to using the cubby system that I had in my bathroom last year, but I'll definitely look into the wire shelving for storage!

  4. I'm surprised you advertise using disposable plastic utensils and Styrofoam plates. There's nothing inspiring about promoting ideas that harm the environment in both the making and disposing of these materials.

    1. Ben, your carbon footprint is showing. Calm down dude.