How to Avoid Sleeping on a Stiff, Old Dorm Bed

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While we may love living the #dormlife, we seriously hate dorm beds. After years and years of other people sleeping on them, you’re lucky if you find one mattress that’s even a bit comfortable. But we’re making a stand: NO MORE STIFF DORM BEDS EVER! Instead, we’re investing in our goodnight sleep by transforming our bed into the palace it should be. Here’s how.

5 Ways to Make Your Dorm Bed Comfier

1.   Build a Better Bed From the Bottom Up

Today, beds are more than just the mattress and a slipcover. If you’re going to get your required 7-8 hours of productive sleep, you’re going to need to create a bed that is both healthy and tailored to your body and sleep needs.

Support is a big part of this. Egg crate pads are an affordable option if you don’t have any previous backaches or pains to worry about. For more luxury or necessary support for those who need it, deluxe and ultimate gel memory foam give you exactly what you need.

 

2.   Pump Up the Pillows

We’re guilty of buying the cheapest pillow out there, but we’ve learned from that mistake. Pillows are what supports and cradles your neck. Too stiff and you’ll be in a load of pain. Too thin, and you won’t make it through the night.

Pillows come in all shapes and sizes, so it is important to understand how you sleep. Those who snooze on their sides need flexible material such as memory foam found in the Infinity Memorelle pillow. Back-sleepers and those with allergies will love the eco-friendly ClearFresh pillow. And those who sleep on their stomachs can cuddle up to the Plush Pillow.

 

3.   Snuggle Up Smartly

While it may be warm outside now, it’s important to find linens that are weatherproof and can make it through cold, drafty dorms and sweltering early summer days. Our favorite find is the extra-long thermal cotton blanket. It’s perfect for just about any location and the perfect bottom layer of any bed.

Fleece throws, especially vibrant color ones, are great for guests and lazy days spent in bed. They are lightweight, easy to clean, and stylish — a perfect combo for dorm dwellers.

 

4.   Protect it All

In addition to building the best bed ever, you’re going to want to keep it safe and sound. Accidents happen. Drinks are spilled, crumbs are left behind, and wear and tear is a thing. When you don’t have time or money to replace, give yourself insurance by purchasing extra help keeping bedding in the best shape ever.

Mattress protectors are a basic buy that helps you stay clear of that nasty old mattress and your sheets. Bug guards are for those who may worry about creepy crawlers and bed bugs taking over. Quilted mattress pads are great for keeping your support base away from elements like body sweat or debris. And, finally, pillow protectors are perfect for helping your pillows survive the year.

 

5.   Store It Away

Transitioning from winter to spring means saying goodbye to heavy comforters or heated blankets. If you can’t make a trip back home with your bedding, look for storage units that fit neatly under your bed. Out of sight, out of mind!

You’ll also need a place to keep your bedding until next year. Keep out the dust by placing your linens and bedding in hardcover storage cubes. For a more stylish option, you’ll want to check out the vintage trunks that can be kept in just about any storage unit or basement until it’s time to take them out for the next semester.

 

Dorm Decor: DIY Decorative Planter

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Countless assignments, maddening quizzes, and due dates rushing towards you faster than Barry Alan may make your dorm’s decor seem like the last of your priorities. But a well-designed space can actually help you deal with the stress of college life by increasing your productivity and giving you an environment that feels like home. Everyone knows the struggle with a tiny room and a tiny budget can be real, but mixing high’s and low’s can help you turn your dorm into a dreamy abode. Spend on things that you would be using for a long time, for example, bedding and storage options, and add a DIY here and there to really give that Pinterest-worthy look to your room.

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If you have a free couple of hours this weekend, DIY this decorative planter with just some paper and straws and give your dorm the facelift it deserves!

 Supplies

DIY Planter

  • Drawing sheet
  • Straws
  • Copper wire
  • Gold spray paint
  • Faux plant

How-to

Lay the drawing sheet flat on the floor and cut it using a paper knife to get the shape shown below. Tip: Drawing the shape with a pencil prior to cutting will help. 

DIY Planter

Fold the cut-out from the center and then open the fold to get a clean line that divides the shape into 2 halves. Place the cutout in a slightly folded position on some more paper, as shown, to determine the size of the paper needed to make the back of this planter. Once you’ve marked it, cut it using a paper knife.

DIY Planter

Now take the front part again and cut and fold it as shown in the picture. Glue the folded margins to the piece cut for the back.

DIY Planter

The cuts shown will help to fold the piece and align it with the back.

Tip: draw details with a gold sharpie for some added pizzazz!

DIY Planter

Now, spray paint your straws for the frame. Lay them flat on a piece of paper and apply light paint coats. Let the paint set before you turn the straws and spray the other side. Also, make sure the straws are not too close to one another so that the sides get painted too.

Measure the straws by aligning them with the planter sides and snipping the extra length. For the lower half of the frame, you’d need 5 straws; 3 for the vertical sides and the center, and 2 for the top.

DIY Planter

Cut 3 pieces of copper wire that are longer than the vertical straws (the 3 longer ones). Pass one wire through each straw and twist the ends together at one side to tie them.

           DIY Planter

Cut 2 more pieces of wire and pass them through the smaller straws for the top. Tie all the wires together as shown. (The paint chipped off at the ends while I was twisting the wires and I had to do some retouching.)

DIY Planter

The number of straws you need for the upper part of the frame depends on you. For a symmetrical look, go for the same length and number as the lower part — but if you want the upper part to be longer, feel free to add more straws.

Look 1 Attach the frame to a drawing board using thumbtacks. They come in a number of sizes and the smaller ones are quite affordable (this one cost me 200 rupees — roughly 2 dollars).

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Once you’ve secured the frame, add the planter to it. (Depending on the size of the planter and weight of the plant you’re using, you may have to secure it with thumbtacks too.)

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Look 2 Remove the frame and simply put up the planter on the board. This look let’s you skip the whole trouble of dealing with the wire and straws and adds a nice countryside flare to your decor.

DIY Planter

Look 3 Simply hang the whole thing with a hook from the wall and make sure you’ve secured the planter with some double-sided tape to hold it in place. You can vary the vertical height by altering the number of straws you use, like I did here.

DIY Planter

Have fun crafting!

Sahar

Transform Your Dorm Room into a Home

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Going to college is a huge adventure on its own. You’re separated from your family and you’re being thrown into a whole new world with hundreds of new people. Now, some people find it really hard to leave their home and have a new life for a few years. If you are one of those people, you can actually do something about this sadness, and that something is adjusting your dorm room to fit you a little bit better. And even though you’re going to leave it eventually, you have to make it “bearable”. Here is how to do this.

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Personalize it

You will spend up to 3-4 years there, that means it should look a little cozier than a hospital room, right?

Photographs

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There’s nothing like photos of your beloved ones that bring character and the feeling of home into any space. You can purchase an acrylic desk topper and put all of your photos underneath that layer. Next time you look down at your desk, you will definitely smile, plus, it will be one-of-a-kind desk for sure.

Monograms

No, they are not just for the preppy folks! If you have monogrammed pillowcases, notebooks, toiletry bags etc. in your dorm room, it will make the whole space feel more like it’s yours. It’s just that they add a special dose of familiarity, even in a brand new room.

Toys

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Yes, you’re an adult now. But come on, you definitely still keep that favorite Barbie doll, or that teddy bear you slept with somewhere in your home. If you haven’t brought your toys with you, contact your mom to send them to you, or pick them up when you go home for holidays, and place them on a shelf or wherever you held them when you were home. You won’t regret it.

Add some fun to it

If you really want to revive your dorm room, make sure that you throw in as many colors as possible. Even though you may be a minimalistic type, you have to go wild sometimes, right? I’m talking neon pillow cases, fire red blankets, ridiculous prints etc. Have fun while you’re young.

Refresh your space

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The air in dorm rooms can be pretty smelly and stuffy, in other words – nothing like home. This is why you should invest in a commercial air purifier which will eliminate the dust, bacteria, smell of mold and smoke as well. Also, consider putting in some potted plants, or a plant terrarium in your dorm room as well.

Point out your creativity

If you have a hidden artist in you, bring them out and do some DIY projects.

Washi tape your posters

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If you are a fan of posters, there’s nothing cooler than framing them with washi tape. Just tape it around the outlines of your posters.

Masking Tape Deco

This colored paper tape is a perfect and also a cheap way to give some life to your dorm room. It’s also great because it’s easy to remove, so when you get bored of it, you can make something else. Get as many colors as you can and release your inner Picasso!

And let there be light!

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You can use Christmas lights to make custom marquee signs, or some shapes – whatever you want.

Make it fluffy

It doesn’t matter if you are a guy or a girl – fluffy things give the sense of comfort, which is exactly how home feels like.

Rug

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Usually, the floors in dorm rooms are cold and really gross. The best way to fix this is definitely a rug. Not only it will make your room look much nicer, but it will also be a great soft place for your feet.

Pillows

They add color, as well as warmth to your bed and there’s definitely no better feeling than jumping into an ocean of pillows after a long and hard day of lectures and studying.

Fuzzy blankets

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Another great addition to your bed are definitely fuzzy blankets, a bunch of them. They’re nice to look at and feel great when you snuggle up in them – since they can keep you warm like nothing else.

That would be it. How do you like these ideas? Are you going to use them? Let me know in the comments.

P.S. Have fun decorating!

 

 

#DORMGOALS 2016: The Best Dorms Out There

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dormgoals-best-dorm-rooms

Here at OCM, we know a thing or two about dorm rooms. So when we put out a call to see what our fans and readers were doing to transform their dorms, we were blown away by what you sent in! The #dormgoals submissions that came in gave us loads of style inspiration.

But with a $500 first prize on the line and two $150 OCM gift card and care packages for our runners up, the competition was on. Our Facebook page fans chose, and we couldn’t agree more with these fashion-forward winners!

 

Runner Up #1

Name: Katy (Instagram)

College: California State University San Marcos

Major: Human Development

Describe Your Dorm Style in 3 Words: Cozy, Lofty + Minimalistic

What’s Your Favorite Thing About Your Room?: “My photos! I love how unique they are. Photos of friends from back home, adventures I’ve taken, or things I’m passionate about.”

What helped her win:

Soft and romantic, we absolutely love how snuggly and warm her bedding looks. She perfectly blends light colors with dark accents along with different textures in her throw blankets. We also love the hanging dream catchers juxtaposed over the DIY lighting headboard. Falling asleep there is literally a dream.

How you can create this look:

We call this the “hotel look.” Add a dark with a light in a minimalist pattern to keep things simple, and focus on comfort. The Total Transition Pak bedding in Deep Pink and Black Lattice is a great example of how to add a dark and light together. The black and white bedding with pink pillow and sheet accents livens the room up but also creates a calm, centering space to come home to.

 

Runner Up #2

Name: Ken’Nia

College: Southern Connecticut State University

Major: Nursing

Describe Your Dorm Style in 3 Words: Cute, Glamorous, Fun

What’s Your Favorite Thing About Your Room?: “My bedding.”

What helped her win:

Boho is IN! Her bedding is in the mandala style that everyone is looking for these days and the peachy orange is gorgeously fun. But what we especially love is how she continues the theme in her wall decor and pillows. Sassy, hippy-chic, and stylish? We’re loving this.

How you can create this look:

Did we mention that boho style is blowing up right now? OCM has loads of options for the the summer music festival fan or the yoga fanatic. For example, mandala tapestries in navy, orange, and red add a major focal point for over the desk or bed. Keep the colors going with this dream catcher inspirational poster to keep you motivated on difficult days.

 

Grand Prize Winner

Name: Joseph (Instagram)

College: San Jose State University

Major: Public Relations

Describe Your Dorm Style in 3 Words: Aesthetics, Peaceful, Pride

What’s Your Favorite Thing About Your Room?: “My favorite thing about my room happens to be my desk! I love having small little decorations on my desk that I get as gifts. It really helps make my room feel like home.”

What helped him win:

There is nothing more Americana than a frat-themed dorm room! Joseph’s room practically radiates pride for his organization, Gamma Epsilon, and his alma mater in every single nook and cranny. But this dedication doesn’t go overboard. He manages to balance it so that it looks tidy, professional, and adult while still having his personality shine through on his shelves.

How you can create this look:

Joseph is right — it’s all about the desk! He focuses in on small decor choices that do not look like much alone but add up when combined together. Metal signs, such as this ode to New York subway lines, are a great example of small, but memorable ways of bringing home to your work space. But don’t forget about your school pride! A vintage sports poster featuring your school of choice will give your dorm Joseph’s winning style.

#DormGoals – OCM’s Dorm Decorating Contest 2016

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OCM dorm room contest

We’re excited to announce the launch our Dorm Goals challenge! After spending the summer shopping for your dorm decor, conquering a hectic move-in day, and getting into the swing of the semester, you are probably well on your way to settling into your new dorm. You likely put a lot of thought into how you wanted to decorate it — whether it’s shabby-chic, preppy, or has a beachy, west coast vibe. The sheer fact that you’re reading our blog shows that you find dorm style important! So now that you’ve achieved the dorm vibe you were going for, you deserve to show it off.

That’s why we set up our Dorm Goals 2016 Challenge. Post your stylish dorm room photo to social media, use #dormgoals and tag @OCMdotCOM, and fill out our form to submit your entry — it’s as simple as that.  Not only do you get to show off your interior design skills, but you have the chance to win some awesome prizes.

The Details

It’s simple to enter! First, fill out the form to let us know a little more about you. Then post your dorm room photo on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Don’t forget to tag @OCMdotCOM and use the #dormgoals hashtag. The contest will officially close on Friday, November 11, 2016.

At that point, we’ll share all of the photos entered in an album on the OCM Facebook Page. Users will have one week to ‘like’ their favorite dorm pic. The dorm photo with the most likes wins, and we’ll make the announcement on Friday, November 18, 2016!

What’s in it for me, you ask? One Grand Prize Winner will be awarded a $500 Visa Giftcard to spend however they please! Two Runner Ups will each receive a $150 Giftcard to the OCM store. This means they’ll get to add any finishing touches to their dorm rooms. Plus, each runner up will receive a novelty care package from our OCM, filled with plenty of goodies.

Who Should Enter?

All ladies and gents that are currently enrolled in a university in the United States and living in student housing are welcome to enter. Also, note that all photos must be your own and reflect the room you currently live in — we want to see your dorm decor skills.

Tips for Transforming Your Space into a Winning Dorm Room

Are you still working on your dorm room style? Don’t worry, with these tips we’ll get your room in #dormgoals shape before the close of the contest.

Bedding

Sometimes, it’s hard to even know where to start with decorating when you have so many different items in such a small space. We believe that the focal point of most dorms is the bed, so we always recommend starting there. This is partly because it’s typically the largest thing in your dorm, and partly because it’s where you’ll spend so much time — from sleeping to studying and watching TV.

So if you chose the right bedding, everything else should fall into place. Whether you love ombre or if geometrics are more of your thing, the right bedding is so important to create the style and energy you’re looking for. However, if you’re stuck with the same bedding you used last year or decided to go the minimal route with neutrals, that doesn’t mean you can’t spice it up. Throw on a few colorful or textured throw pillows or blankets to take your bedding up a notch.

Finding Your Personal Aesthetic

Indie, boho, grunge, you name it. Your dorm room is a great way to express your personal style. However, sometimes that’s hard to identify. Maybe you have a lot of mismatched hand-me-downs or erred on the side of caution by buying all of your room supplies in the same neutral color. But neither of these situations are reasons not to own the dorm style you really want.

For any guys out there looking for a little guidance, check out our post on the 12 dorm essentials for guys. From basics like hampers to fun stuff like entertainment centers, there’s a lot to consider when putting together a cohesive, stylish dorm room that really is a reflection of your aesthetic. For the girls inspired by Mindy Kaling or wondering how to design a perfectly preppy dorm, we’ve also got you covered.

While we recommend using your bedding as a focal point, there’s one other way to really identify the style you want to go for. Look around your dorm and identify your favorite piece. Is it the acoustic guitar you were gifted at high school graduation? Or maybe it’s something as small as the stack of neon, fun-shaped post-it notes on your desk. If you use these items as your inspiration, you’ll know the direction you want to take your room — from indie to bright and loud.

Adding Simple Touches Can Make All The Difference

We know the struggle of the small dorm room, and sometimes it can feel very limiting when it comes to dorm decor. That’s why we love this small spaces video from Urban Outfitters. Dorm rooms are often so small that it’s almost a rite of passage to live in cramped quarters — but this video proves that if you go into it with a strategy, you can make even the smallest of spaces work!

Because you’re in cramped quarters, doesn’t mean that you can’t add simple decor touches. From lighting to wall art, you have tons of options to give your space that extra oomph it needs. We think lighting is great, because it can add intrigue and cancel out the often-dreary industrial lights most dorms have. Posters and other art are great touches because you can work with the vertical space in your room (i.e. your walls) to add flair. You can support artists by getting your art from Etsy, or DIY some vintage frames with a fresh, bright coat of spraypaint. At the end of the day, you’ll want to come home to a room that really meshes with you – so curate pieces thoughtfully and you’ll be sure to have a #dormgoals-worthy dorm in no time!

The Dorm Goals 2016 contest is now closed – thank you to everyone who entered! 

15 Cozy Dorm Room Beds We’re Obsessed with

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15 Cozy Dorm Room Bedding

When it comes to bedding style, one thing matters the most: comfort. But you don’t have to break the bank to get the fluffy pillows, relaxed colors, and luxurious textures of high-class bedding! Here are 15 ideas to get you that comfortable but cozy look of your dreams.

1. Extra Throw Pillows

This bed has amazing colors, but we’re especially drawn to the subtle, coordinated throw pillows that seem to scream, “LAY ON ME!”

 

2. Texture in White

White linens can make your bed look extra inviting. This bed sets off the plain color with a textured duvet cover, adding spark to its look.

 

3. Quilted Luxury

Winter bedding is all bout warmth — making quilted or knitted throw blankets a must. They’ll keep you toasty while making your bed look fantastic.

 

4. Lighting is Crucial

Create an inviting, homey space to relax in with string lighting! These bunk beds add some flair with some cloth draping.

 

5. Tapestries Are IN!

When paired with the right bed sheets or comforters, woven tapestries like this one can complete a space and give it that boho vibe we all love.

 

6. Amp Up the Mattress

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Make sure your bed matches the feel it’s giving off by adding OCM’s top-rated Deluxe Gel Memory Foam Topper.

 

7. DIY Canopy

To steal this look, all you need are hooks that can go into the wall and a few yards of thin white fabric. Line up the hooks with the corners of the bed, then string the canopy fabric through. That’s instant luxury!

 

8. Go Dark

Add a bit of masculinity by switching out white for gray and black, like with OCM’s Gray Hampton Plaid set.

 

9. Create a Headboard

Start by measuring the front of your bed, then cut a piece of thin plywood in the shape you desire. Add padding and fabric with a staple gun, and attach with zip ties or hardware (if possible).

 

10. Go Natural

Image via Huffington Post

Place your bed so it gets ample exposure to open windows whenever possible. The closer you are to natural lighting, the better you’ll feel.

 

11. Reduce the Clutter

Image via Her Campus

Invest in storage solutions like bedside organizers to add space and keep your cozy feel going.

 

12. Loft It!

Keep your space your own and maximize privacy by lofting or bunking your bed.

 

13. Add Touches from Home

Image via Uncle Bob’s

Don’t be afraid to get personal with your bedding by bringing in something meaningful — your favorite pillow, your grandma’s quilt, or a stuffed animal.

 

14. Cover It Up

Bedskirts make your bed look more inviting and can hide ugly, cold floors. Coordinate with your cozy linens for a super-impressive look.

 

15. Snuggle Up

Not all bed linens are the same, especially when it comes to breathability. Instead of just jumping in, read up on warmth quality or lightness, and buy the right bedding for your sleep style.

Cardinal Rules for Dorm Decorating

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Dorm Decorating Rules

When it comes to making your dorm room your new home, the best thing you can do is make it your own. By adding thoughtful, unique touches to your décor, you can create a space that is a welcoming reflection of who you are. Need a little help getting started? Here is a list of the top five cardinal rules for dorm decorating.

Monotone is Boring

When you walk into an empty dorm room, you’re probably surprised at how sterile it feels. All-white or all-cream walls with outdated tile floors and fake wood furniture make it that much worse. That’s why color is incredibly important when designing your dorm room aesthetic.

The bigger problem is using too much of one color to compensate. While you may have a favorite color that you love to work with, too much of a good thing looks just as boring as all-white. Instead, pick coordinating color schemes that play into the base. For example, add dark browns with hunter green base for a natural look. Mix pink in with purple for a stylish girly look. Combine red and black for a darker affair.

Don’t Neglect Your Windows

It can be easy to forget about your windows, especially since your college most likely provides you with some necessary cover. But like the white walls, your blinds are probably not the most attractive look you can imagine.

If your window allows, purchase a drape pole (or even use shower pole) that adjusts to the size of your window. Then, add fabric in a pop of color that ties you and your roommate’s looks together. If you’re stuck, you really can’t go wrong with a translucent white with a little bit of texture (such as lace). Add string lights and tie off using velcro and ribbon for a classic, homey feel.

Ugly Lighting Must Go

Today, fashionable dorm room décor involves starting with something a little bit fancier than the usual discount store lamps. Sure, you should have some essential bed lighting by your side for late night study session in bed, but that doesn’t mean all of your lighting has to look bland.

What we love is the vintage look. You can make any lamp look updated with a little spray paint. Take the ugliest lamp you can find and paint it a neon pink or scrub off ugly gold for a sleeker silver. Re-do the lampshade with decoupage glue and paper. When dove right, the sky’s the limit!

Focus in on Creating Space

It’s so easy to go overboard with your accessorizing. But let’s be honest — your dorm room isn’t the place for a ton of knickknacks and trophies from high school. Limit what you take when you first move in. You can always go back (or ship back) more.

Instead of loading your room up with all this needless stuff, look to create spaces your guests will love. Lay out rugs under a lofted bed and use giant throw pillows for floor seating. Use small folding leaf tables for dining and study areas. And add lighting or a change of color specific to the area to designate usage.

Don’t Forget About You

Cardinal rules are great and all, but there is something even more important when you design your room — putting a little you in it. If you’re a music major, add some framed sheet music to your wall. Love a sports team? Hang school pendants or scarves from the clubs you support. And if you’re missing home, you can turn your bedroom into an ode to your favorite city with posters and color schemes.

 

And don’t forget: if you’re in love with your dorm room design, OCM wants to see it! Read more about how you can win big with our #DormGoals decorating contest.

My Dorm Room is Already a Disaster!?!

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Cleaning Messy Dorm Room

I know, I know.  School just started.  How can we possibly already be talking about decluttering?  In one way, you’re right.   You have only had a month max to mess up your dorm room.  It can’t be that messy, right?

Well, that depends! We’ve all got different styles of housekeeping. Some of us need to fold laundry as soon as we complete it, and others want to leave it in the hamper until it’s all dirty again. Despite the small square footage of your dorm room, plenty cannot stand anything on the floor. Personally, my freshman roommate and I tried to find out how many toilet paper rolls we could leave in the bathroom before someone else picked it up.  So, by the end of my first month, I definitely should have cleaned out my room.

(I didn’t.)

You might think you’re only a month into school, but it’ll all snowball from here.  Syllabus week is a distant memory at this point, and the realities of your coursework are finally hitting home.  You might’ve been acing quizzes without studying before, but give it a few more weeks.  Soon, you’ll be asking the library what time they close.  (“Midnight? It’s not open 24 hours!?”) And when those dreadful weeks come around, you won’t have time to deal with the colossal mountains of energy drinks and old assignments.

The truth is, you should get a head start and clean up now.  Dirty dorms come with their unique health risks, and it’s easier if you keep up with it continuously instead of all at once. However, when cleaning out your room this early in the year, there are some special guidelines you should consider.

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Access How Long It’ll Take

Now, you’ve likely never cleaned your room before, so you can’t be 100% sure how long it’s going to take you.  Make a list of all the things that need to be done, and think about how long it took you to do those chores at home.  Your parents’ house is probably bigger than your dorm room, so it won’t take as much time, but it can give you a good idea.  Thinking about chores back home can also help you remember what you might be forgetting.  You might not even consider cleaning the sink until you remember your old weekly duties.

Block off this time in your schedule specifically for cleaning, whenever you happen to have the free time. It’s tempting to go out with your friends on the weekends, but even just an hour can make a world of difference.  However, you might need to invest more than just an hour. Be honest when accessing your room.  You should be able to rope in your roommate in helping you out- by this point, you should’ve developed a cleaning schedule with them.   For better or worse, my dorm room was often the hangout spot for all my friends.  This meant we had more mess, but I was also able to guilt trip others into helping out.  If you get a good number of people together, this should reduce your cleaning time significantly!

Be Honest

You likely have a couple of items that you purchased for the upcoming year, only to realize that you’ll never use them.  Maybe you bought a shower caddy, only to realize that you have a private shower.  Or maybe you brought up a can of bright orange paint to cover your walls, only to find out that your dorm doesn’t allow that.  Whatever the case, be honest with what you’ll use for the year (it’s generally a good idea to keep old assignments until the end of the semester).  You have a little better idea of what to expect now, so there’s no reason that you should let those items clog up an already-cramped space.

So, you have three choices.

  1. You can give these junk items to someone else, either for a price or for free.  Think: do other dorms have communal showers?  Or do you have any friends in apartments who can paint? Maybe these items will be easy to get rid of if you find the right market.
  2. You can send it home, for your parents to do whatever with it. Keep it in your old bedroom, use it themselves, or hold onto for younger siblings.
  3. You can throw it away.  This is kind of a waste, and there are somethings that you can’t just throw away for environmental reasons, so it’s better to go with one of the other two options.

Unless it’s something weather-related, if you haven’t used it in the first month, you probably aren’t going to.  The exception is obviously items for future projects, but you should put those somewhere out of the way until the appropriate time.  You might have been on your dorm’s Holiday Committee, but don’t keep your miniature Christmas tree in the middle of the room until December.

Evaluate Problems and Establish Prevention

Do you come home late, stick Easy Mac in the microwave, only to fall asleep and find a cheese-charred mess? Do you have nowhere to put past assignments? Do you allow your roommate’s mess to dominate the space?

You have a very limited square footage, so every item placement should be mindful. If you realize that you don’t have enough room in your closet, remedy the situation with some space-saving hangers.  Get a second trash can if you’re having a lot of parties.  Hang up a monthly calendar instead of having an ever-missing planner.  A messy room after only a month is a symptom of a larger problem, and you need to address it now before you can’t find your take-home test, and it’s 60% of your grade, but it doesn’t matter anyway because you’ve contracted a staph infection from your filthy shower, so you’re begging your roommate to take you to the hospital, but she can’t find her car keys anywhere.

Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

Look, if you’re like me, it’s just not in your nature to be super clean.  A little mess doesn’t bother you.  However, a lot of mess bothers everyone, and it’s a lot easier to prevent a mess than to clean one up. And believe me, when it does come time to move out, you’ll be thankful that you kept the dorm clean.

How to Hang Wall Art in Your Dorm Room – Without Getting in Trouble!

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hanging art on dorm walls

We all want the best-decorated dorm room in the building — which often means hanging posters and decor from the walls and ceiling. But this gets tricky when we need to follow strict rules on how and what we hang on our walls. Luckily, there are some easy ways to hang wall art in your dorm without getting in trouble. Here’s how to do it without costing a fortune or creating damage.

Learn the rules first!

Before you buy anything, wall art included, it’s important to read through your dorm room rules. While most will let you hang just about anything, others have restrictions for items made out of flammable cloth or even string lights that could start a fire. Heavy items, such as wood pieces, may be out as well as dorms try to keep you from nailing large holes into their walls.

Secondly, learn the rules on the use of hanging materials. Many hardware stores have practically invisible hangers that make as little as a pinpoint in walls, but even those can be a big no-no if the school has a strict no damage rule. And with some dorms doing inspections or being strict on returning security deposits, you’ll want to avoid the risk as much as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to just ask. RAs who live in the dorms must be versed in the rules, but they probably also have tips and tricks to share.

How to Hang Wall Art Without Damage

Mounting Putty

The quick way is to do it with mounting putty. The putty is meant to hang only light weight items such as unframed posters, maps, and pictures. But on the bright side, it is mess free and easy to remove. The only thing you should know before you go with putty is that it may cause damage to the actual wall art when you try to remove it. Only use it to hang items you’d be okay if it rips or that can be easily replaced. Also, do not hang on wood or uneven surfaces as it can be a pain to get out of the nooks and crannies.

Double Sided Tape

Like putty, double sided tape is perfect for lighter items that you won’t mind damaging during take down. What makes double sided tape a better option is that manufacturers have made it even stronger and more durable. For example, heavy duty tape can hold up roughly a pound for plastic framed items or message boards. Avoid hanging on wood or plaster as tape can sometimes take paint with it.

Hanging Strips and Hooks

One of the most popular ways to hang these days is the latest versions of hanging strips and hanging hooks. These were practically made with college students in mind with it’s easy to install directions, ability to take down with just a pull tab, and its durability. You can even buy heavy duty hooks for larger wall items such as decorated letters, wood pictures, or oversized clocks.

Press and Hook

If small holes are allowed, search your hardware or decor store for press and hook wire hangers. These kits don’t require any tools, can be removed quickly and efficiently, and create just the smallest hole in the wall. Just press into the drywall, hang, and you’re done. They are best for awkward sized or shaped items or for ceiling hangings. In fact, some of those hooks hold as much 150 pounds!

How to Design a Perfectly Preppy Dorm Room

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Gibson Preppy Bedding for Dorms

A few years ago, the word “preppy” was totally out when it came to style and design. But now the clean-cut, ultra-smart look is coming back with an updated twist. Whether you’re a boy or girl — and whether you like plaid or polka-dots —  designing a dorm that fits the college prep style is easier than ever. These four ideas can get you started on the essentials for designing a perfectly preppy dorm room.

4 Ways to Design a Perfectly Preppy Dorm Room

1. Banish the Bland Bedding

While it may be easy for guys to just slap on a no-fuss comforter, the single-shade does nothing for the look of your room. Instead, upgrade to Gibson Plaid. You’ll get the easy going style you love and want but with pops of color (light blue, gray, or navy) that makes it look like you put the time and effort into designing something more complex.

Girls, take a cue from the guys. Bright pink or yellow comforters are great, but they only do so much. Liven it up with a fun, light feeling pattern such as a chevron or diamond. Prep is all about geometrics so feel free to accent with polkadots or stripes in coordinating sheets and pillowcases.

2. Pay Attention to the Walls

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when going preppy is going too simple. It’s deceptive, but preppy isn’t minimalist. In fact, it’s all about making design choices that all seem to fit with some coordinating element. That may be color, theme, pattern, etc.

When picking your wall designs, don’t just stick with your standard photo frames or movie poster. Go with items that emphasize your design. For example, if you’re a guy who is looking for a country prep look, hang your guitar (or a painted, stickered-up version) using no-screw hooks along with navy or dark wood framed music posters and record covers. Ladies can go with a sorority prep by hanging glittered sorority letters and pink and white photo frames in an infinity sign design.

3. Make It Comfy

Another huge design point to remember is that prep is supposed to be comfortable. Unlike more stylized versions of preppy, it isn’t supposed to be staunch or high collared. It’s supposed to be relaxed and, when it comes to dorms, that starts with your rugs. Rugs are must-haves in older, drafty dorms. By going with shag solid colors that match or emphasize the bedding, you can easily create a functional part of your dorm.

A second idea is to create a reading area that is the envy of all others. Preppy dorm seating includes navy, hunter green, or yellow bean bag chairs, throw blankets with flannel patterns, or folding lounge chairs. Add fairy hanging lights or create a canopy to make a DIY reading nook.

4. Go Vintage

If you’ve read the other points, you may have noticed a pattern in the decor choices. Almost all of them is based on a classic vintage look from the 1940s through the ‘70s. This means you cannot go wrong with a shop at your favorite antique shop or thrift store!

Items you should be looking out for include gold lamps (ones you can repaint or add a new lampshade to), interesting wall hangings (like funky clothes hooks), and organizational items such as metal pencil cases or leather bookbags. Don’t worry about condition. A fresh paint of vibrant or jewel toned paint can freshen it up and match your bedding or other items.