Ask A Minnesota Expert: Essentials When Dorm Shopping

July 23, 2013 7:00 AM

When moving into the sometimes cramped, tight quarters of a dorm room, space-saving solutions are key for maintaining order (and a happy roommate). What are the best ways to maximize small areas? What products are must-haves for utilizing every inch of possible space? We’ve turned to the local organizing experts at reVISION Consultants LLC to find out the essential purchases for your new home-away-from-home.

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Michelle Thomas & Susan Buesgens
reVISION Consultants LLC
Woodbury, MN 55125
(612) 202-0748

Michelle Thomas and Susan Buesgens are the co-owners of reVISION Consultants LLC, a local professional organizing company that specializes in providing creative solutions to living spaces. They aim to reflect their clients’ personal style, while keeping order and making life easier through organization. Michelle and Susan’s suggestions before heading out to buy any dorm room necessities are to plan your living space, make a list of what you’ll need and to keep these five space-saving tips in mind.

Tip 1 – Loft Your Bed

If you can loft your bed – do it. You can effectively utilize the space underneath for social, learning and storage areas. Here you can put seating, desks or tall, thin bookshelves to utilize vertical space. Although not every dorm room allows for lofting beds, Susan suggests you can raise your bed a bit with bed risers. “This allows you to store your items and clothes under the bed. Rolling, under-bed carts are great to use for this purpose,” she says.

Tip 2 – Use Organizers In The Closets And Cabinets

Double the amount of items you can store by finding easy, inexpensive ways to maintain organization. Michelle recommends double-hanging rods for clothes storage and using consistent types of hangers to make your closet appear more orderly. “We like slim-line velvet hangers,” says Michelle, “because the ultra-slim design maximizes closet space and the flocked velvet holds clothes in place. Skirt and pant hangers that hold multiple items save space as well. Also, use the insides of backs of doors to hang clear shoe organizers to store shoes, jewelry, toiletries, gloves, mittens, hats or any other small item.”

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Tip 3 – Organize Storage-To-Go

When making multiple trips in and out of your dorm room during the course of a day, maintaining a system for organizing keys or the many items making their way to the bathroom or laundry area is a major time and sanity saver. A few of Michelle’s must-haves include key racks and transportable, plastic cosmetics bags. She also recommends a hanging shower caddy to transport all your necessities easily to the shower. “Make sure it has holes on the sides to allow water to drain. Also, hang a hook in your room for the caddy to be stored on.” As for the many trips to the dorm laundry room (or mom and dad’s house) to wash clothes, Michelle says, “Use a collapsible fabric or mesh hamper with handles. These are great because they are lightweight, easy to carry and collapse when not being used.”

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Tip 4 – Make Use Of Command Hooks And Strips

The folks at reVISION Consultants are big fans of 3M Command Hooks & Strips, as they provide damage-free hanging solutions. “Use these to hang light-weight wire cubes to store items in,” says Michelle. “These strips are also great for adding personality to your room. Hang picture frames, posters, memo boards and even colored fabric to decorate and brighten the walls. Wire mesh can be attached to your wall with Command Strips to hang jewelry, mementos, notes or photos.”

Tip 5 – Reduce Redundancy

Connecting with your roommate prior to move-in day is a good idea to reduce the redundancy of items in your dorm room. Susan adds, “Figure out what you both can share and coordinate who brings what, particularly with items you don’t use very often. Also, be conscientious of the size of items that you might buy, such as a microwave or a fridge. Go for the space-saving sizes. Another great idea is to take the less-is-more approach for packing. “Take only the current season’s clothes, plus a few transitional items for the next season. Swap out your clothes at the end of the season. Also, keep your most frequently used items in the most accessible locations and use upper-closet shelves to store items you don’t use as much.”

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Cortney Mohnk is a freelance writer covering all things Minnesota. Her work can be found on

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