The Do’s and Don’ts of Dorm Room Shopping

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There are a lot things that future college students believe that they absolutely must have for their dorm room that, in reality, are unnecessary. I still remember my mom and I running through Bed, Bath, and Beyond desperately looking for items that sat in my room for 9 months. After a year under my belt, I am able to distinguish the items that I used frequently from the ones that I never touched.

Do Buy:

Clip-On Bedside Table-

Most beds in freshmen dorms are either lofted or bunked. A clip-on bedside table is easily attached and can hold things like an alarm clock, phone, water bottle, book, whatever you like right next to you at night. It makes your life easier by not having to climb down from your bed every time you need to grab something.

 

Colored Sheets-

While white sheets go with everything and are a very easy purchase, they also stain easily. I accidentally put my white sheets in the washer with my blue jeans and ended up with nicely tinted blue sheets the rest of the year. It is easier to buy blue, purple, or any colored sheets that will not turn a different color every time you wash them.

 

Small Vacuum-

I ended up using my small vacuum several times a week. People are always coming in and out of your room and dirt and crumbs are constantly on your floor. Having a small vacuum that you can store easily will help keep your room tidy without taking up too much space.

 

Lots of Picture Frames-

It will be nice to have lots of pictures of friends and family around your room to remind you that home is not as far as you think. They can also be a great conversation starter with your roommate!

 

Do Not Buy:

Drying Rack-

While this sounds like a good idea now, it will only take up lots of space and be a hassle to you and your roommate. Clothes that do not go in the dryer can be easily hung in various places around your room.

 

Sewing Kit-

Most eighteen year olds, including myself, do not know how to sew. If a situation arises where something needs to be sewed, it is very easy to run to a local store to buy a needle and thread. No need to buy an entire kit.

 

Candles-

Most of these are not allowed in dorm rooms anyway, but some students think that they will make the room homier. While they do bring a nice scent, they can be a hassle to you and your roommate because they can be messy and can easily be forgotten to blow out. If you’re looking for something to make your room smell nice, I would suggest an air freshener over candles.

 

Good Luck with dorm room shopping!

Summer Before College Series 9: DIY #1

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Good Afternoon!

Today I would like to introduce something new to the blog series. To spice things up, I thought that I would add a DIY mini-series to the bigger “Summer Before College Series”. For those of you who do not already know, DIY simply means Do It Yourself. This mini-series, which will run throughout the duration of the summer, will give step-by-step instructions for easy-to-do, crafty ideas to spice up your dorm room at college. Most of the crafts will be decorative, fun, and useful!

After talking to a friend, I got the idea to do my first DIY post on making a blanket. The blanket process itself is very simple. Best part? No sewing! Anyone on any artistic level could pull off a fantastic blanket. The instructions below were given to me by a friend who has made several blankets throughout her life. She not only uses them for herself, but for gifts for others as well. I have modified the instructions to make them easier to use! Enjoy!

Step 1: Go to your local fabric store. I tend to use Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. They have a wonderful assortment of fabrics in a variety of patterns and colors.

Step 2: Pick out your fabric. For this blanket, you will need a type of fabric called fleece. This will allow your blanket to be warm and cozy! After finding your store’s selection of this particular fabric, you will have a decision to make. You can make a blanket consisting of only one color/pattern or one with two. After you make this decision, choose your fabric. Make sure it matches your personality as well as your room’s theme!

Step 3: Pick your size. The original instructions that I have followed recommend using 6’0″x 4’0″ pieces of fabric. This is very similar to the average blanket size. I tend to modify the size based on the height of the person. If you are 6′ or taller, then make it longer!

Step 4: After you have gathered all of your materials, lay everything out. Put your two pieces of fabric on top of each other, matching each corner and side as perfectly as you can so that they form one thick piece.

Step 5: Take a pair of scissors and cut an approximate 3″ x 3″ square out of all four corners, making sure to cut into both pieces of fabric.

Step 6: Take the scissors and, starting at one of the corners, cut 3″ slits in the fabric approximately 1-2″ apart until you reach the next corner. Again, make sure that you are cutting through both pieces of fabric! You will use these slits to connect the fabrics! Repeat this step until there are slits on all sides.

Step 7: Tie the two fabric pieces together, using the rectangles made by the slits you just cut. In my experience it is best to double-knot the ties to secure them! Do not tie the four corner pieces (the pieces that surround the corners) yet!

Step 8: Now, to finish it off, start at one corner and instead of tying the fabrics together, tie the two slits (into one knot) that form the corner together. This will help to further secure the two pieces together.

Congratulations! You have just successfully made a comfortable blanket out of two pieces of fabric! What a fun and easy way to spice up your room!

Have any DIY crafts that you would like to share? Tweet them at us!

Summer Before College Series 6: Adding Touches of “You”

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Good morning, blog community!

Starting in the fall, your dorm room will be your home away from home-your sanctuary when things get rough. You will be spending a ton of time in your room. It is important to make your room as comfortable and fun as it can be. The best way to do this is by bringing touches of “you” to your room. You want your room to scream “you” when you walk into it; it should be a reflection of your personality.

Below, I have listed five ways to bring more of “you” into your room.

  1. Pictures of family and friends. Nothing screams “you” more than the people who helped to make you who you are. Your friends and family are a part of your everyday life. If you cannot have them with you while away at college, why not have pictures of them hung on your wall? They not only add the most important touch of you, but also allow you to keep your friends and family on your mind. Curing homesickness and showing people where you came from are some added benefits of hanging pictures of family and friends.
  2. Accent with your favorite color. Colors are a great way to brighten up the room. Once you find the main theme in your room (typically sports, European, flowers, or animal print), add hints of your favorite color to make your room more like you. Adding the color will make your room better reflect your personality. You can accent a few different items. You can make your rug, hangers, laptop cover, bed pillows, sheets, or furniture decked out in your favorite color.
  3. Add posters of your favorite celebrities/musicians/movies/t.v. shows. You want to make sure that your room showcases your favorite things. This can include your favorite movies, celebrities, t.v. shows, musicians, etc. A really good way to do this is through posters. Posters are allowed in most dorm rooms as long as you do not use tape to secure them to the wall. Many companies make adhesive stickers that do not damage the wall, so try to use these if at all possible. These posters do not have to match your room, but they should include all of your favorite things that make you feel comfortable.
  4. Bring some home decor. The home decor can reflect your overall theme or just be pieces that remind you of home. I tend to gravitate towards the decor that reminds me of home. I buy pieces that match my mom and dad’s themes. My dad has an outdoor theme, while my mom has a home and garden theme. I bought a Native American dream catcher and a sign that reads “home is where the heart is” to represent both households. These pieces also remind me of home when I am homesick.
  5. Add a hint of your style. The last thing that I like to do with my room to make it more like me is to add hints of my style. I have a very floral style-if something has flowers on it, I love it! I have several floral items in my room at school, including floral picture frames and floral desk accessories. You could do the same with a different theme or add hints to other areas of your room, such as on decor items and decorative pillows.

Making your room reflect your personality is easier than you think! If you follow these tips, you will be a step closer to making your room into your own perfect paradise!

Make sure to check out the various decor items that OCM has to offer! You may find something that adds just the right touch to show off your personality!

Fall Weather Calls for Fall Clothes!

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It’s official… Summer has with out a doubt reached its end. No longer are the days of hot weather and trips to the pool. Your flip flops go into hibernation and your Uggs and rain boots make their debut. Now that there is no need for you to have immediate access to your summer clothes, what do you do with them? Having adequate storage to lay those tanks and skirts to rest for the Fall and Winter seasons is essential in small space living.

Since Fall clothes are relatively more bulky, they tend to take up more space in your closet and drawers. To make room for those extra hoodies and sweatpants, it’s imperative to store away your summer clothes in empty space around your room such as under your bed. Storing places such as under your bed or in a trunk maximizes the usable space in your room and helps you stay organized. So, if you’re feeling the chill of Fall and are ready to pack away those bikinis and bring out the peacoats, here’s a few ways you can organize and store!

1) Under The Bed-
This method of storage is brilliant AND trendy at the same time! You can buy different sized under the bed storage units to best suit your needs. They are available in different colors as well as fabrics. This pink under the bed storage unit is a cute way to add a pop of color from under your bed while still serving a purpose!

2) It’s a Seat, Table, and a Storage Cube?

These storage cubes are a perfect way to add that extra inch of personalization to your room while still storing away those extra items. Available in multiple colors, these cubes can hold your unused textbooks, summer clothes, music collection and more. Stack them up or lay them flat for a design that fits you! Easy care fabric washes with soap and water and lasts through college. Set of two (2).

3) Bed Risers

Now these may just look like the perfect sand castle mold, but really they’re so much cooler than that. These bed risers go under the corners of your bed to lift it off the ground. Not only does this raise your bed higher in the air for extra room to stock up on throw pillows and comforters, but it also creates 3x the storage space under your bed! Available in black and white, these risers are an essential.

4) Hanging Closet Organizer

Have some extra towels that are clean and ready to use, but no where to put them? What about those extra pairs of jeans you brought but wont store neatly in your dresser? These hanging closet organizers are a great way to maximize your closet space! Available in many colors such as black, brown, blue, pink and purple, these hanging organizers can match practically any room decor for seamless personalization. Need more or less space? Browse the various sizes and check out the hanging shoe rack too!

5) The College Staple: The Trunk

No college dorm room is complete without a sturdy trunk to store all things college related. Have parent weekend coming up? Store all your important items in your trunk and protect them from any eyes or hands you don’t want touching your cherished belongings. The trunk is a great way to store the essentials AND it serves as an extra side table, step stool, chair or shelf! Available in multiple colors. Rugged construction from waterproof, dent proof, scratch-proof exterior 1000d Cordura sheathing that’s laminated over 3/8″ Baltic Birch hardwood plywood. All the durability of a steel steamer trunk but about 20% less weight.

6) Extra Closet Rod (Your roomie will be thrilled you brought this!)

Hang it in your closet or purchase a free standing shelf to hang all your stylish threads. This smart solutions closet doubler serves as an extra rack to allow you and your roomie to fit everything nice and neat in that small dorm room closet. This is a college must have!

Interested in other items that can maximize your dorm room storage space? Check em’ out here!

What Does Your Residence Hall Decor Say About You?

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Going off to college is the first exciting experience of your youth that allows you to live on your own and express your creativity. At home, your parents usually take care of the decorating and get to choose which laundry detergent you use. Heck, most the time, your parents are even still washing your clothes for you. You haven’t yet been introduced to Ramen Noodles, but don’t worry you soon will. You will become the Chef Ramsey of residence hall cooking, using only Ramen noodles, Cheetos and water.

You have so many ideas of how you want to decorate your new space and have picked out the perfect shower shoes to match your bathroom tote. You’ve got it all figured out from the type of shampoo you want to buy down to the very last fluffy knit of your throw carpet. As you shop around for residence hall linens and apparel, you notice that there’s so many colors and patterns that you love! Maybe decorating your room was a bit harder than you thought.

If you’re having trouble deciding how you want your residence hall to look, here are a few questions you can ask yourself before going shopping.

1)What colors do I want my room to have?- Maybe you love hot pink and black mixed with animal print. Maybe you’re more of a subtle decorator and want pale greens or deep blues. Perhaps you want to cover your side of the wall in posters of your favorite bands and brands. Whatever the case may be, make sure you pick a color scheme. This way, it’ll be much easier for you to find pieces and accessories that match those colors.

2) What do I want my room to say about me?- Am I trying to pull off a sophisticated look with blacks and greys? Do I want to be super feminine with purples, pinks and lace? Do I want to cover my walls in beautiful wall art of the New York Skyline? Maybe I want to show off the interior designer aspect of my personality and create an outside look, inside. Finding out what message about yourself you want to send out will help you start the shopping process.

3) What’s comfortable?- Is your residence hall always particularly chilly or breezy? Maybe you need to invest in linen with a heavier thread count to dive under after your hard day of classes. Do you prefer to sleep with thinner sheets and lots of throw pillows? Maybe buy a thinner bed spread and cover your bed in throw pillows with different messages and images. Find what makes you relaxed, and go with that.

4) Accessorize, accessorize!- Surrounding yourself with things that remind you of home or that make you happy is a great way to ease any anxiety you have about being on your own. Load up on wall decals, picture frames, and fluffy rugs and throw blankets. Give your bed that extra sense of comfort with an egg crate mattress topper to put under your sheets. This is your first place of your own, go wild!

After you’ve picked your items and you’re ready to move in, remember that you’re going to be sharing your new space with another person (unless you have a single residence hall room to yourself). Be courteous of their decorating desires as well, and don’t take up the whole room before they get there. Putting posters on your side of the wall is fine, hanging your wall art and moving your items over to their side of the room is pushing it.

You have every right to be excited and ready to decorate your new residence hall, but keep in mind that your new roommate may not have the same opinions or likes that you do. So before you start hanging hot pink drapes over your windows wait it out until your roomie gets there and decorate together. Who knows, maybe the mix of both of your items together will make for an interesting and unique living space. Decorating together could be a fantastic first bonding experience that can set your relationship off on the right start.