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DIY: Increase dorm space

The benefits of living on campus can sometimes be a rivaling aspect against the ratio of roommates to the desired living space. In student housing layouts such as those of South Village, North Lake, and The Reef it can be a challenging experience, but there are tricks and strings to pull that can give the illusion of expanded space while also eliminating clutter.

All of these tricks are easy, cheap, and are useful for students who return from home with more luggage than when they left.

The first tip: how to stop mixing up the keys on your ring. Coloring the handle of each individual key is a great way to help the brain remember what each key’s purpose is. Color the desired key with a choice of nail polish, or glitter, or whatever appealing indicator of choice. In a pinch, permanent marker of various colors have been used.

For the little lost things, such as paper clips, push pins, hair pins, rings, bolts, and nail clippers or other metallic knickknacks you would rather not step on, a mini magnetic tray can help them find a place until their home is found.

The purpose of the magnetic tray is similar to key dishes set on a bookshelf en route to the front door. These mini trays can be bought at affordable prices in stores such as Lowes, AutoZone or Walmart, and its size can range from four to six inches wide depending on what each store carries. Next, only a primer and then your choice of spray-paint color is needed to finish the job on the mini tray.

If your room is without a nightstand, by using an empty magazine holder (also called a magazine file), primer, paint or spray paint, and few other materials, a “floating” nightstand can be hung in the corner above your bed. If it’s desired to change the look of the holder, this is where the paint or spray paint come in: by taking the appropriate precautions beforehand, roll the primer on the surfaces wanting to have color.

Next, once the primer thoroughly dries, paint or spray paint whatever color or pattern of choice—painting the edges of the holder may be desired; using a glossy paint may be favored. Lastly, to position your new nightstand, turn the holder on its side, the corner of the holder matching against the corner of  the wall and make it “float” by hanging with nails, removable hangers, or strong Command Strips. This nightstand also provides a nice cubby to fit small objects like cell phones, keys, pens, thin paperback books, and even a place to set photographs on.

If making a shelf is not of interest or goes against the policies of your housing, another option is to take small buckets and connecting them all with thin rope tied at the handles on either side, thus creating hanging organizers to go along the wall. The small buckets should be hung one underneath the other in a train starting from looping a bit of rope from the topmost bucket, the starting bit of string hung by a hook in the wall.

But if all else fails, purchasing plastic storage drawers is the easiest way to go. These drawers can be purchased in stores like Walmart, Target or Sam’s Club. Taping patterned and/ or colored paper to the in- side of the drawers facing out is a good way to add flare while concealing the storage inside.

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