As students make their first forays into independent living, a small living space is likely to be a fact of life, with a student room being their bedroom, study, maybe even dining room for the next academic year.
Whether in halls or shared houses, keeping your belongings safe and in good condition whilst living in shared spaces is always a challenge, and those rooms quickly get filled.
So here’s a quick guide to making the most of that space, with love from easyStorage. (We’re all just a tiny bit jealous: uni’ life is just the best!)
Before we start though, a warning. Some places, especially university halls, have rules about what you can and can’t hang on walls, so don’t let us lead you into trouble. Know the rules.
Over door storage is now easily available online and in store. You even have a choice. Shelving for your electronics. Shoe holders. Storage pockets. You know your own ‘vices’ from shoe collecting to electronic gadgetry.
Some of these storage units can eve be used on bedheads, so make the most of what’s available to keep things tidy, and organised/to hand so you know where they are.
Shower ‘caddys’ are great for keeping things together, for knowing where things are, and for seeing at a glance whether you’re running low. They’re especially useful if you need to share a shower/bathroom space. And help to ensure that you’re not funding your entire flat’s shampoo requirements.
And best of all, these extra storage units can move with you when you leave and don’t create wall fixtures.
If you’re looking at fixing shelves to walls, this is one where you really must check any rules. Sometimes you can get around landlords by asking if you can put them up properly and agree to leave them when you move out. Forget ‘it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission’: they have your deposit!
But even if you’re not allowed to fix shelves to walls, free standing shelving is available for every taste, size, budget, and relatively inexpensively.
Places like Facebook Marketplace and endless apps allow you to buy second hand, locally, and generally hardware stores offer a range of inexpensive options, so you don’t need to compromise on your personal taste, either.
Maybe back home you perched with your laptop to do homework and study. Or used a study. Or a dining room table. Now parents aren’t there to tidy up or nag about your work BEFORE you go out, and your desk is in your sleeping and living space. Keeping it tidy and organised will make your room look less cluttered and help you feel on top of your studies.
Desk organisers offer a cheap, attractive way of keeping stationery organised. In and out trays will help organise notes for class assignments. A cork board can be used to pin the inevitable forms that need filling it, from permission to use your data to signing up for whatever caught your fancy during Freshers Week. It’s not unknown for the odd picture or two of family, friends and pets back home to be there too.
From summer sandals to gym shoes, we all have them, and they can be smelly and create clutter.
Shoe racks are one option if you have space. Otherwise clear stacking shoe boxes are now available. For some reason, they’re not always cheap, and as every penny is now borrowed or earned rather than a grant, maybe add them to your Christmas gift list? They’ll keep smells at bay as well as keeping things tidy.
There are all kinds of ingenious things out there which can squeeze out an extra bit of storage space – and therefore organising and tidying space.
If you’re going to buy a mirror, for example, look for one with storage behind it for cosmetics or hangover cures. (No stereotypes here!) The light with a fan on it. Storage cube seats. Futons.
The frantic, partying whirl of Freshers week is somewhat tainted by COVID, but however you spend you first weeks in your new home, it’s likely to have involved food, drink, the odd party and some ‘hectic whirl’ mess!
But before you know it, the reality of living with pizza boxes and stale wine or beer hits, and it’s time to buckle down to that college work which, after all, is why you’re here. (Isn’t it?)
Keeping your space clean, tidy and decluttered will help keep your mind clean, tidy and decluttered and allow you to organise more easily. Think laundry basket. Think tidying up. Think washing up. And empty your bin!
Bain of every shared space is the shared fridge.
You are now at the mercy of everyone else (and you!) getting rid of out of date stuff, mopping up their own spillages, and storing extremely smelly food right next to your milk, which will inevitably take on the smell.
Frankly once lettuce is going slimy, its owner’s forfeited the right to keep it in a shared fridge, but smelly pre-prepared meals make for harder negotiations.
We can’t offer much advice on managing your room mates, flat mates, house sharers or friends, but you can make your own shelf go further with extra under shelf storage and plenty of ‘Tupperware’ like tubs. They keep smells at bay as well!
(A glass of bicarbonate of soda on your shelf can help absorb smells. Just don’t forget to change it periodically.)
Under bed storage units are now really easy to find, from long thin canvas units to plastic wheely bins.
This is quite possibly the simplest way to increase storage and avoid the ‘dust bunnies’ that tend to accumulate around things under the bed.
Handy hint: it’s tempting not to iron your sheets, but if you iron them, not only will they feel great when they’re fresh on, but they take up less space.
If you have a lot of electronics, bed ‘risers’ with electric outlets and USB ports on them can not only save space, but also tuck away wires under the bed.
Think along the same lines for electrical surge protectors and charging stations.
If you have a lot of tech ‘spaghetti’, cable tidies are your friend and will help protect things from rips, pulls and spills.
Don’t fall into the old trap of always keeping the cables in a drawer when disposing of tech. Other than kettle leads, four house moves later none of them have ever come in useful: they take up drawer space and you’ll forget they’re there. The only exception is, perhaps, phone chargers, but why not set up a shared drawer for those with your flat mates? Then visitors whose phones are about to expire can borrow a cable if you have the right one.
Unlikely, but at least you’re trying!
A lack of clutter. Strategically placed large mirrors. Good lighting.
These three are the Holy Grail for making your space look bigger.
· It’s always worth checking with the university for storage discounts, or with us on 0333 016 0376.
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