Posted August 07, 2013 by

Dorm Living Tips and Advice

Amanda Greene

Amanda Greene

Each year a new set of college students get ready for the great adventure of dorm living. Just as college is a learning experience, new college freshmen moving into a dorm can learn from the advice of other college students who have already “been there and done that.” These students can help new college students learn what dorm life is all about, and provide tips and advice on how to make the most out of this wonderful experience.

The Total Package:

Living in the dorms on campus provides students with the “total college experience” and also adds convenience and saves time in accommodating a busy schedule.  Most dorm rooms also include the meal plan and allow students to be close to everything they need. Not to mention that the classes, the cafeteria, library, computer and science labs are all nearby.

Prepare Ahead of Time:

If you are going to have a roommate, get to know them ahead of time. Social media now makes this very possible as opposed to the past when you really didn’t have any way to really get to know one another. Getting to know each other on social media allows you to start your relationship ahead of time. While social media is great, you should also communicate with your roommate privately and establish your ideas, ground rules, and get your relationship started off on the right foot. Another great way to plan ahead is to get to know your R.A. (resident advisor) or whoever your dorm has established in that type of role. Many of the other ideas we tackle in this article include planning ahead in specific areas.


With a small dorm space, organization is very important, so it is important to plan ahead and if at all possible, see your dorm room space ahead of time so that you can make detailed plans for the layout and everything you will need; including your dorm room bedding and bathroom décor. When you plan ahead and layout where everything will go, it will make move in day much less stressful. When buying the supplies, furniture, and decorations for your dorm room, think organization.  Remember to incorporate things the styles you like from home to prevent you from getting homesick. Make sure to try to use space saving techniques wherever you can, which leads into our next topic.

Space Saving Ideas:

Your furniture and design ideas should all be dual purpose as this will save a great deal of space. If your seating also has storage it is a big space saver.  You should definitely plan on having a closet organizer or some type of closet organization system.  Your bed should be the kind with a storage space underneath it.  If possible, consider building a loft style bed so that you can have your desk underneath it and maximize the vertical space in the room. If you have color options, choose colors that are bright to create an airy feeling and make the room look larger than it would appear if dark colors are used. Depending on your dorm layout and the meal plans, you may need to have some things for cooking in your dorm room. This can be done with a few space saving ideas. Of course, the mini fridge and microwave are usual dorm room cooking staples; however you should also consider something like a small steamer, mini slow cooker, or sandwich press. Each of those cooking vessels can be used for multipurpose cooking techniques and can be used to create healthy meals right in your dorm while taking up very little space. Steamers can be used to cook vegetables, as it is most known for, but you can also steam proteins and many Asian dishes like pot stickers. A mini slow cooker makes preparing a meal super simple; you just add the ingredients before class in the morning and can return back to your room to a full cooked, delicious meal, soup, or stew. A sandwich press can melt together some amazing sandwiches, making sure that you are not stuck with plain old peanut butter and jelly; however, it can also be used as a type of skillet and create omelets and other meal options. In addition to those ideas, a few other ideas to keep in mind when living in a small space like a dorm room, is to keep the door open to eliminate that closed in feeling, and plan to get out often.

Saving Money:

College students are almost always on a budget and dorm living allows for a great deal of savings.  Participate in all of the school activities that your college or university offer. This will allow you to get all the meals and other free things that they offer to students. Do not be afraid to ask other students for money saving ideas, they probably know a few secrets and local deals that are available, such as student discounts offered from local businesses. One of the best ways to save money is by growing your own fruits and vegetables. Contrary to popular belief, growing a few fruits and vegetables can be done in a window sill or small counter space in little containers. Not only is this a healthy meal option for college students, but costs almost nothing. Having plants in your living space also help add a great feeling and cleans the air for you.

Bio: Amanda Greene is author and Brand Manager at Residence Hall Linens. She enjoys sharing college and dorm life tips and ideas.

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