The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
I moved into my first apartment right off campus one week before classes started this semester. I was so excited, but also did not know what to expect. I lived in one of the residence halls my freshman year, so living in an apartment gave me a new sense of freedom and independence. I was now able to buy my own groceries and cook for myself. I share my apartment with three other roommates, who I love very much. They make the experience even better due to how supportive and fun they are to live with! With settling into my new place, I tried to set it up in the best way to conserve space yet store my essentials away. Now that I am all set up in regard to my room, bathroom, and kitchen, I think I can offer some sound advice on what worked best for me in the area of utilizing space.
- buy a three-tiered cart for your room and bathroom.
Three-tiered carts are so helpful because they hold many items while providing vertical storage. The only floor space they take up is the area of one shelf of the cart itself. In my room, I have the grey one from Target listed below. It is very durable and comes with wheels for easy movement. It only took me twenty minutes to put it together, and the instructions were very easy to follow. In my room, I use my cart to hold my makeup, desk mirror, candles, perfumes, lotions, and storage baskets. It is so handy because in the morning, I can just grab my makeup off the top shelf and sit down at my desk to do it. In our bathroom, my roommate and I share a cart. We place our feminine products, shower products, and hair dryers/curlers on it. A cart is definitely a must!
- store bulky items, such as towels and blankets, in under-the-bed storage.
After I was completely moved into my apartment, I still did not have a place for my bulky items, like towels and extra blankets. I searched for “under-the-bed storage” on Amazon and came across these fabric zip-up bins that slide under your bed. A two-pack of them was only around $15.00, which in my opinion, was well worth it and inexpensive. I folded my towels on one side of one bin and my blankets on the other. The bins slide perfectly under my bed and keep my floor space clear. Some of my roommates have the clear plastic bins for storing their clothes under their beds. This is also an option.
- use organizer bins with drawers for organizing your closet.
When I was packing items to bring to college, I already had two plastic three-bin carts from Wal-Mart in my closet at home. They are mint green color and add a burst of color to my room. They fit perfectly in my closet area of my apartment and were inexpensive alternatives to a small dresser. They fit my smaller clothing items, such as undergarments, socks, t-shirts, and pants. You can also store textbooks or office supplies in them as well. The possibilities are endless with these basic storage bins. You can find them almost anywhere. Common places are Wal-Mart and Target. Linked below are the ones I have.
- don’t be afraid to use wall space.
This tip is so important because many students are afraid to hang décor or storage on their walls. It is an often-forgotten aspect of your dorm or apartment. In my own room, I bought a series of command strips and hooks to safely hang items up. Above my desk, I have my bulletin board and my whiteboard calendar right below it. It helps keep my organized and happy when I see photos of friends and family. On the back of my door, I have hooks hung over it to hold my bags, jackets, and umbrellas. In this way, I can easily grab whatever I need on the way out the door. I also have command hooks hung up right inside my bedroom door to hold my lanyard with my keys, baseball hats, and masks to pack for class. Get creative with storage and command hooks!
- buy a hanging shower shelf.
I cannot take credit for this one because I roommate already had a shower shelf in our bathroom when I moved in. I had one at home as well. They are essential for holding your shower products and razors. If you are a girl and have many body care products, this item is helpful since it typically has two to three shelves and hooks for razors and wash clothes or loofas. My roommate and I each have our own designated shelf on it for our body wash and hair products. Then, we are able to hang out razors and loofas. It saves so much space in your shower which makes it easily to clean too.
Similar shower shelf:
- buy a fruit bowl.
I know this may sound silly; however, it is very convenient. My roommates and I eat a lot of fruit, so we were running out of counter space to put all of it. We were using a plastic bowl to substitute for a fruit bowl. When I ran to HomeGoods one day, they had a black wire fruit bowl for $5.00. You can find fruit bowls for cheap at stores like this or TJ Maxx. Now, we store all of our bananas and apples in a cute décor item on our kitchen counter.
Similar fruit bowl:
- stack bowls, cups, plates, pots, and pans.
This may be a no-brainer, but it saves a significant amount of cabinet space. Try to buy a bulk of each item so that they are identical. This makes it easier to stack them in your kitchen cabinets. Vertical storage is the key here. By storing kitchen items vertically through stacking, you save horizontal space. In our cabinets, we stack our cups and bowls next to one another on one shelf. Below them, we have our small and large plates stacked to one another. In our bottom storage cupboard, we stack our pots and pans in one another. Think of it like Russian nesting dolls. Place the smaller pans inside of the larger ones to nest them.
- hang up your jewelry in your closet.
This is a hidden tip that many people do not think about. Many people use jewelry dishes or boxes to store pieces, which can be cute but not the most practical in saving space. I had a jewelry storage hanger from a yard sale from a few years ago, and I store all my jewelry in it. It is basically a piece of sturdy fabric that has a built-in hanger. On either side of it are clear zip compartments to store earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. In my room, I have it hanging on the right side of my closet. With this set up, I can simply look at either side of the hanger to see what jewelry I want to wear for the day. Similar to other items I already mentioned, the idea to decrease floor space and surface space on other items in your room. Hanging items up increases more floor space in your apartment.
Similar jewelry hanger:
- invest in a small desk and use the surface area.
I went back and forth between the idea of getting a desk for my apartment room. I have one in my current room at home, and I was debating bringing that to my apartment. I found a white student desk at Target for only $40.00 which is very affordable. I only needed it to last me one to two years of living in my apartment. I’m very happy I decided to purchase it, and my roommate and I constructed it together. I sit at it to do homework and virtual appointments. It came in handy because I store my office supplies and laptop inside the shelf it has. I can also use the surface area on top of it to sit drinks and notebooks. I highly recommend investing in a small to medium size desk if you are one to sit down and do homework in your room.
- bonus tip: buy curtains to cover your closet area.
This is a bonus tip that I think adds to the overall aesthetic of your room! I have two panels of white sheer curtains. There are white pom-poms around the edges of each panel. I used these curtains my freshman year in my dorm to hang in front of my closet area. I wanted to translate this idea to my apartment room. The closets inside of the apartments do not have doors, therefore, you can see the entire contents of them. I liked the look of cute curtains to conceal my closet when I’m not using it. I purchased large shower curtain rings from Target and hung them up on the metal bar on the ceiling. I linked similar curtains below for you to get an idea.
Similar pom-pom curtains:
These are all of my space-saving tips! I hope you are able to use at least one of them to help you make the most of your space at home or in your apartment. With the start of the new school year, I know it can be stressful trying to figure out the best ways to organize and store everything. As long as you research the best ways to make use of your space, you can accomplish it and get some great ideas. Happy organizing!