“Phenomenal cosmic power; itty-bitty living space.”
This famous complaint, uttered by the genie of Walt Disney’s “Aladdin,” can be echoed by countless students each semester. On move-in day, many students find themselves struggling to fit their phenomenal cosmic power – manifested in boxes of picture frames, books, supplies, clothes and sentimental souvenirs – into the tight quarters of dorm or apartment life. Even though some schools’ suitestyle housing is roomier than traditional dorms, it is still necessary to budget space like time or money.
Unnecessary stuff will only clutter an otherwise neat room, making it appear messy and causing a stressful study and sleep environment. Students usually bring more pictures, books and clothes than they really need. Junior Ashley Abernathy, a business adminsitration major at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., had to pack without seeing her dorm room.
“I came from a huge master bedroom, master bath and walk-in closet. The dorm I’m living in now is roughly the size of my closet,” Abernathy said.
“I kept thinking, ‘If this is all I can take, what would I take?'” she said of the situation. While packing, Abernathy set guidelines and only allowed herself to bring things used on a daily basis.
Limit knickknacks to the most interesting or sentimental pieces and store items not needed on a daily basis out of sight.
Efficient storage in limited space may require a little creativity, but with an open mind almost anything hollow can be used as a container. Suitcases and duffle bags can house out of season clothing, or you can invest in the space-saving vacuum bags designed to squish and hold clothing in as small a form as possible. Baskets are excellent for art supplies or beauty necessities and can form a makeshift pantry for dry goods.
Throw a fun cover over a little end or card table and use the hidden space underneath for storage. Stackable milk crates can be stacked for floor to ceiling shelving. Secure the crates with wire ties to prevent them from tumbling down. Also, extra blankets or sheets can be spread flat between the mattress and box springs.
Closets with white interiors make it easier to keep a clothing collection organized. Stack shirts and sweaters instead of stuffing them in drawers to make them more visible and accessible. An additional rod for hanging clothes can be added under an already existing rod. Take a piece of PVC pipe of the desired length and run middleweight chain through it. Make sure the chain is long enough to go through the pipe and still leave sufficient length on each end to attach and hang about three feet from the top rod. Secure each end of the chain to the upper closet rod with S-hooks.
Bad use of lighting and color can be the biggest culprits of making a room seem more suffocating. Dark colors in large quantities or misuse of busy designs can close in rooms, but one or two accent colors are often very effective in making a small space seem larger.
Mix bright hues with lots of white to keep them from overwhelming the room. If painting is not feasible hang up blankets or cloth to add color to the walls.
Also, be aware of the moods and emotions certain colors evoke. Cool colors restore the spirit and are great for bedrooms. Warm colors, however, encourage conversation and a positive attitude.
By reflecting both light and color, mirrors give the illusion of extra space. Landscape artwork, whether a photograph or painting, can have the same effect by creating a pseudo window on an interior wall.
Do not neglect to fix those little annoying things like squeaky doors or blinking lights. The disco effect of a kamikaze fluorescent light and other drips and creaks can usually be eliminated quite easily and reduce stress.