By Trish Romano, Certified Self Storage Manager
Going off to college can be exciting as well as scary and stressful for both parents and the student. You may be wondering what to do with mementos and all the necessary dorm room items as your packing up for this big experience. Using a self storage unit can really be helpful before, during and even after you move into your dorm room at college. You also need to ensure you have the right supplies for the big move.
Here are some tips that can help make the move less stressful:
First Stop – Check Out a Storage Unit.
As we all know, dorm rooms are not meant to be spacious. In fact, most of the time you are sharing the space with another person and sometimes two or three other students. You need to plan for this before you start classes. There are going to be items you want nearby while away at school, but there is no way they are going to fit into the dorm room with you and the other students. We recommend renting a 5×5 or 5×10 storage unit close to campus to store your larger and extra items. For example: the bike you plan to use every weekend to explore town and get exercise; that kayak you want to take to the nearby lake with your new friends; all the extra clothes, shoes and boots that you could need during the school year but you don’t want filling your dresser or closet every day; you can even store a moped or scooter to save on gas compared to a car.
Storage units are great for college students because the rental agreements are month-to-month so you don’t have to commit for the whole year. Plus, when you go home for summer break you can move all the items you keep in your dorm room during school into your storage unit. This allows you to keep it close to school and not have to take it home to your parents’ house. Your parents will thank you!
Buy Packing and Moving Supplies Now.
You need to get sturdy boxes and packing tape at the very least. We sell all the supplies you need to pack, move and use in storage. We have a fully stocked retail shop in every rental office. Our boxes are specially designed to last while in storage for long periods of time, so they will not crush or degrade for a very long time. You can use them to take items between your dorm room and storage unit during summer break each year.
Be sure that you label every box with what’s inside. You should also mark clearly which boxes go to your dorm room and which ones go into your storage unit. You can even buy a wardrobe box for the extra clothes so they can be hanging up while in storage and stay wrinkle free and ready to wear.
Now that you are all packed up and have a plan for your storage unit, you can think about maximizing the space in your dorm room. We have more tips that can help you get the most out of every inch you have available:
Use As Much Vertical Space As You Can.
There are various door racks where shoes, toiletries, books, DVDs and more can be stored. They’re easy to use and most of them do not require hardware for installation. Simply hang one or two on your closet doors. Plus, they are usually pretty durable and you can take them with you after you graduate to use when you get a place of your own.
Get Plenty of Baskets/Bins In a Variety of Sizes.
Basket storage is a great way to keep a variety of items organized. Small items like pens, pencils and other office supplies can be kept on your desk for easy accessibility. Bigger baskets are perfect for bed sheets, pillowcases and towels and can go under your bed or on a closet shelf. If you get a small shelving unit, you can use baskets and bins on each shelf to hold many items, organize them all and keep them hidden from view – which makes your space look more appealing and even appear larger.
Buy Damage-Free Wall Hooks.
Since most colleges don’t allow you to put nails into the walls, Command Hooks are the perfect way to have hooks and not damage the walls. Once they’re up they can be used to hang just about anything. They come in different strengths and weight limits – be sure to get a variety. You can hang small items like your keys by the door and jewelry like necklaces and bracelets. You can use them to dry your towels and to hang your bath robe, coats and scarves. They’re also a great way to hang your favorite framed photos and add a touch of home. Plus, you can reuse them after you remove them by simply purchasing new strips. They are very cost effective and extremely convenient.
Be Prepared for Anything.
You’re on your own now and won’t have the luxury of Dad fixing things for you and Mom knowing where everything is. We recommend some essentials that can be overlooked:
- First Aid/Medicine Kit.
Keep some cold medicine, cough drops, pain relievers, fever reducers and a thermometer in this kit so you won’t have to run out in the middle of the night when you get sick. Make sure to add medicines for an upset stomach and toothaches. For accidents, get some band-aids, antibiotic ointment, gauze and tape, and anti-itch cream.
- Create a DIY Tool Kit.
This can include duct tape, masking tape, packing tape, scissors, small and large nails, a hammer, flat and Phillips head screwdrivers, pliers and measuring tape. You never know if your desk or chair will need a quick repair, so be prepared just in case.
- Make a Survival Kit.
If the power goes out you are going to want some items at your fingertips. Get some jar candles, matches and/or lighter, a flashlight and batteries. With all the device we can’t live without, it’s also a great idea to keep a power bank or two on hand. Make it a weekly or monthly chore to charge them so they are ready when you need them.
Use the Space Under Your Bed.
They make plastic totes that are designed to fit under the bed that have lids and are usually clear so you can see what’s inside. They also make under bed storage “drawers” that have wheels. This is a great place to store towels, extra blankets and clothes. Use that measuring tape from your DIY kit to measure how much space you have, then fill it with these totes to use all the space.
Don’t Forget About Your Electronics.
Due to fire codes, many colleges do not allow extension cords in dorm rooms any longer. The best way to solve this is to purchase a couple surge protectors. Get ones that are three or six feet long so you can reach where you need to. Make sure not to overload them with too many items. For example, plug your TV into a different one than your hot plate or microwave.
Now that you’ve got everything organized (and hopefully it stays that way) you can reap the rewards. It’s a proven fact that there are health benefits to being organized. A study from Psychological Science found that being organized can have a positive influence of what you choose to eat; people who work in a neat, organized space are more likely to choose something healthy like a piece of fruit rather than a piece of candy or a chocolate bar. And, according to a study from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, it was found that people who are surrounded by clutter tend to be more depressed, tired and have higher cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) levels. So, having your things organized will make you feel more relaxed and happier, and help you eat healthier foods.
If you would like more ideas about organizing your dorm room and using a self storage unit to help, contact us today. When you’re ready to get started, you can rent a storage unit online 24/7 or you can stop in at any location and our friendly and knowledgeable property managers will be glad meet you.