Dorm Decor & Space for More

Now that you’re all moved in (congrats!!), you’ve probably realized just how small of space you have to work with. It’s still very early so maybe it just doesn’t quite feel like home yet, maybe your things are still scattered around and maybe you’re searching for ways to make it work for you. I thought I’d share some beneficial ideas I used for my room this year that hopefully can help you out as well! Knowing I would be living in the dorms for a second year, I was completely stressing myself trying to come up with the best way possible to save space and make the tiny room more ‘livable’. I cannot even describe to you how many times I drew out a floor plan trying to figure out what would fit best where in the room, so move-in day came and guess what, EVERYTHING FIT *angels begin to sing*. We got a little creative with arranging furniture this year to give us SO much more room for activities (Step Brothers yesss) and maximum use of storage spaces because c’mon, we’re girls and we brought a lot of clothes. Also below you’ll find some cute decor ideas to help you make your dorm feel just a little more like home.

Waddup MTV, welcome to my crib.

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Storage: We found the best way to save space was to push the furniture to the walls and stack our beds. This left us room to bring in a couch and make a cozy living area to watch TV and give extra space for guests.

Decor: Found these cute hanging lantern lights at Target.

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Storage: Even while bunked we still had room to store things under our beds. At Michigan State you’re able to pick the exact height the beds are at so you can leave enough room underneath for what you need. We store drawers for clothes, laundry and even our printer.

Decor: One of my favorite pieces of decoration in the room are the little lights above my bed. I found these battery powered ones online which are perfect because they can hang up there without being plugged in. I found cute (inexpensive) fabric at Hobby Lobby to tie over the lights so I wouldn’t be staring at the coils of the bed above me. Photos of my family and friends surround my bed hung with twine and tiny clothespins. Found all of the cozy bedding and pillows you see at Target.

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Shoutout to my awesome roommate Hannah for being hella clever – for all of you with lofted beds, you’ll definitely want to try this out. The ladder up to her bed hurts your feet when climbing up, so her family came up with what you see above. They cut up a yoga mat and zip-tied it around each bar to make it more comfortable.

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Moving into ‘the living room’, where we gained the most space this year compared to last. Hannah’s love seat couch fit perfectly and I found the cute little cube stool that meets multiple needs. It has storage inside and with the round tray acts as a nice little coffee table too (both tray and cube found at Target).

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Closer look at our favorite decor in our room – large black and white engineer print photos of us! These are extremely cheap and are literally printed right onto engineer blue print paper, make for great personalized decoration.

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Previously this space came with a large dresser and took up A LOT of room. We decided to move the dresser across from the couch to act as a TV stand. Gave us room for our fridge and microwave while even saving us from buying another piece of furniture to set our TV on.

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Like I said earlier…lots of clothes. Best way to keep organized is with those hanging storage units, Hannah has the big one to store clothes and I have the small one to store shoes. Hannah also brought the shoe rack which will be great in the winter time to keep our boots on. Extra storage bins on the upper shelf are separated by extra toiletry items, medicine, etc. which is nice to have it all in one place instead of scrambling around trying to remember where you put each item.

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Storage is key for your desk space! Finding extra drawers and put-in desk organizers are a great way to stay on top of your work this year.

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Dressed up this blank wall with fun random finds and hung them with extra strong command strips. Also using the right command hook, I take this mirror off the wall in the mornings and put it on my desk to get ready – functional and decoration ;).

 

Hopefully this possibly sparked some ideas for you, thanks for reading! I would absolutely love to see other dorm arrangements and creative decoration ideas so please feel free to add yours in the comments or send them to me!!

You can find my post as well as other dorm room ideas at Shutterfly.com!

 

Sincerely, Sienna

(follow me on Instagram at siennamohl for more updates!)

How to Conquer College Move-In Day

Move-in day is fast approaching, no worries though – here’s what to expect when you arrive!

Although my move-in day was busy, personally I was surprised to find that it wasn’t the nightmare everyone had told me it would be. Everyone had said it was going to be completely crazy and hectic and how they dreaded doing it again. At Michigan State I honestly found it to be a very “organized chaos” and truly was not that bad at all. Maybe it’s because I found it all to be very exciting, maybe it’s because my parents and I had come in with a positive attitude about the day but from what I experienced, move-in day is nothing to be worried about. That being said it will be a long day, definitely plan on bringing some easy-to-pack snacks and water for sure.

Now, before you even arrive on campus there are a few things that can be done in advance during your packing process to make the day extra smooth:

One thing is if you feel comfortable, you can take boxed items out of their boxes before hand to save time and space.

Something else that I found to be extremely helpful come move-in day was how I organized everything I was bringing in separate bins based on category. For example, toiletries in one and desk things in another! This will be such a time saver when it comes to unpacking and you’ll be happy you did it.

If you plan to keep some of your clothes in plastic storage drawers in your dorm (I did this), it’s so helpful to pre-pack them in the bins! Just tape the drawers shut for the drive to school and remove the tape once it’s all set in your room!

Clothes that I wanted to have hanging in my closet I brought in a big suitcase, some already packed on hangers. Then I could easily take them right out and hang them up. I found a suitcase worked easier to bring my shoes as well rather than a bin or box.

Not always necessary but something I thought should be mentioned is to bring tools just in case – (totally a dad thing) – screwdriver, etc. Not anything I can really say we even specifically used them for, but we definitely had them. The beds at my school didn’t need tools to be lofted but some beds might so just keep that in mind.

If your school is like mine, you will most likely get an email weeks in advance giving you a time slot to come on your scheduled move-in day; this is just to help avoid complete mass chaos. Now, this time is honestly just a ‘recommendation’. You will not be turned away if you come early and you will definitely not be unable to move-in if you come later than your time slot. It would be smart though to talk with your roommate and try not to move in at the exact same time. Definitely talk with your roommate well ahead of time to discuss how you both agree to have your room set up, that way whichever of you gets there first can arrange the beds, desks, dressers etc. to where they need to be. It was extremely nice to not have to try and move in double the stuff into a small space at the same time. It allowed time with our own families to set up our things the way we liked and do it the way we wanted. It worked out very nice on my move-in day, just as I finished up with my parents, my roommate and her parents got there and we were all able to meet and take the classic “move-in day roommate picture” which trust me, your parents are going to want to have!

When you arrive:

When you pull your jam packed car(s) into the parking lot, you’ll be greeted by staff members who will have you fill out a quick form with your name and phone number so they can contact you (they’ll call when your parking time gets close to being up). They will also give you a free parking pass for most likely 20 minutes (yikes, I know!)…it’s not a lot of time so it’s best to come prepared and that’s what this post is for! Don’t worry too much about the parking time, once you bring all of your things to your room have a parent go down to the parking lot and move the car to another area where you can pay to park and leave it there for an extended period of time (hopefully not too far of a walk from your dorm). Then they can come back to your dorm and help you set up your room without the stress of the time constraint.

There will be big rolling carts to put your stuff in to get it into your room. You just wheel it over to your car and start to unload – there will also be volunteers to help you carry your heavy items to your room! Personally the things I brought took up two carts, this will vary depending on what you brought but you are welcome to use as many carts you need (availability permitting).

In my dorm (and most dorms at Michigan State at least) there were only two elevators in the lobby area making it a slow process to bring carts to the upper floors. For items that you are able to carry up the stairs I would recommend doing that just to save time rather than waiting in the elevator line.

Right when you get into your room it’ll be a really good idea to plug in your fans first thing- especially if you don’t have AC! It’s going to get hot and sweaty moving in all your stuff!

Now that you’ve pre-packed intelligently with the organizational ideas listed above ( 😉 ), unpacking shouldn’t be too difficult! The best advice I have for the actual unpacking experience would be DECORATE LAST. I was so excited to begin hanging my lights, pictures and other decorations, but try to wait until you’ve finished doing all the big things (like the bed, couch, wifi, tv etc) first. Once the big things are done and settled in, you (and your parents) will be much more relaxed about decorating and will be ready to make the room feel like home.

As your day concludes, the time has come. Goodbyes are never easy wether you’re attending school 20 minutes from home or 20 hours from home, but just keep in mine this isn’t goodbye, it’s only “see you later”. It’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to be overwhelmed, but please be patient with yourself. Your parents are so proud of you and as tough as it may be to watch them leave, it’ll be even tougher for them to drive away without you. Take it in, hug your siblings, let your mom cry, listen to the advice your dad gives and take a deep breath – you did it, now let the adventure begin.

Best of luck to you and your family on move-in day! Please let me know if you have any questions or if you have other helpful move-in day tips or tricks!

Sincerely, Sienna

(follow me on Instagram at siennamohl for more updates!)

Packing For College: The Ultimate Checklist

It’s August which means it’s almost time to move into your new ‘home’, how exciting!! Now, I am fully aware it can be overwhelming to pack up your life and try to move it into a shoebox sized dorm room, but I promise it can be done! It’s tricky to know what you need to bring and what sounds like a good idea but really will just go unused and take up your precious space. Well I’m glad you’re here; although I’m sure you’ve started packing a little already, you can use this ultimate packing list to guarantee you won’t forget anything on move-in day!

Of course this list is going to be different for everyone (especially you boys, I’m sure your list is MUCH shorter!). Just bring as much or as little as you think you want or need; whatever will make you feel the most comfortable is what’s important! Note: for the big items on this list, talk with your roommate and discuss what you can share and who will bring what so you’re not buying two of the same things!

 

ROOM:

  • Additional seating. Although your room most likely comes with some desk chairs they aren’t the most comfortable thing in the world. It would be a great idea to maybe bring a futon or a comfy folding chair in addition to what they give you for more comfort, as well as extra hangout room for your friends! I brought a cute fuzzy chair similar to this one from Target and loved it!
  • Area rug. If your school has room’s like mine, they do not come with carpeted floors. Although there is an option to pay for carpet to be installed, I personally didn’t find that to be necessary and decided to bring a cute area rug that did the job and also matched my decor! Target has great affordable rugs and that is where I found mine.
  • Bulletin board or dry erase board. I absolutely loved having both of these in my room to stay organized all year.
  • Command Strips. These will become your best friend, you really can’t have too many!
  • Full length mirror. My dorm room did not come with a full length mirror when I assumed it did. I would suggest checking on your school’s website to double check if yours does or does not.
  • Hangers.
  • Hanging shoe rack. This was a HUGE space saver, highly recommend. I hung it in my closest and was able to store my shoes vertically instead of horizontally. Found mine at Target.
  • Photos, picture frames, lights and room decor. I loved adding my personal touch to make my dorm room my own and feel like home. I hung my photos using string and clothespin clips below my lights and also brought other various decorations as well.
  • Trashcan. Most likely your room will come with only one trashcan. I brought my own and it was very nice to have one for just myself underneath my desk.
  • Under-bed storage. I brought plastic stackable bins to store my clothes underneath my bed instead of all in my closet and dresser.

Below are some pictures of my freshman year dorm room.

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Here you can see the area rug as well as my under-bed storage.

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My desk space as well as some decor. In the corner there is the folding chair I mentioned.

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My lights and photos.

 

BEDDING:

  • Bedbug-protecting cover for mattress. You never know, better safe than sorry!
  • Comforter set. I was the typical indecisive girl when it came to picking this out but decided on a nice neutral theme. I found a solid gray comforter and a cozy creme knit blanket which allowed me to be unique with an assortment of throw pillows.
  • Foam topper for bed. Not completely necessary but I absolutely loved having mine and made my dorm bed much more comfortable.
  • Mattress pad.
  • Pillowcases. Yes plural, it was very nice to have more than one if one was waiting to be washed.
  • Throw pillows. Like I mentioned above I had so much fun picking these out!
  • Twin XL sheets. Remember, most dorm room beds are size twin XL instead of just a regular twin. Keep that in mind when picking out sheets because really the twin size will NOT stretch to fit. I would again recommend you bring two sets of these just to have when one set is waiting to be washed.

 

DESK SUPPLIES:

  • Backpack.
  • Binders.
  • Calculator.
  • Calendar.
  • Clicker (if needed for class.)
  • Desk lamp.
  • Desk organizer. Loved having this to keep my things organized as I collected more and more papers throughout the year.
  • Erasers.
  • Folders.
  • Highlighters.
  • Hole puncher/three-hole puncher.
  • Index flashcards.
  • Journal. I kept one during my first semester which I really enjoyed doing.
  • Notebooks.
  • Paper chips.
  • Pencil sharpener.
  • Pencils.
  • Pens.
  • Planner. Personally a total NEED.
  • Post-It notes.
  • Rubber bands.
  • Scissors.
  • Stamps. In case you want to send letters or packages.
  • Stapler.
  • Staples.
  • Tape.
  • Textbooks. Okay so this one I have some advice about. Before I moved into school I was naive and thought I needed to buy (used) my books and get them right away. I was wrong. I would definitely say that there is honestly no need to buy your books if there is an option to rent them. Much less expensive and it just makes more sense since when you’re done with the class, you’re done and won’t be needing the book ever again. Also you can totally get your books the week your classes begin or even the week after. Sometimes you find out from your professor you won’t be needing the previous said book or maybe you need a different version of it. That way if something has changed you won’t be stuck with a book you bought that you won’t be using. Second semester I decided to rent my books and waited to get them until after I had gone to my first day of each class. Definitely do what you’re most comfortable with but this is just what I learned from my first year experience.

 

TECHNOLOGY:

  • Batteries. For calculator etc.
  • Chargers. Phone, laptop, etc.
  • Ethernet cable.
  • Extension cord. This was nice to have to help my chargers and things reach me while sitting on my bed.
  • External hard drive. Life saver.
  • Flash drives.
  • Headphones.
  • Laptop. I got a great deal on my MacBook Air at the Apple Store for being a college student.
  • Laptop Case. I picked out a really great quality Kate Spade case from Best Buy.
  • Printer. Not completely necessary and most likely your school has public printers that you can use and pay for per page printed. That being said, it was still so nice of my roommate to bring a printer and I absolutely loved the convenience of having it right in our room. We shared the cost of refilling ink and paper.
  • Router for wifi. Double check if your dorm hall has wifi in the rooms or not before you move in. For example at MSU some halls did and some did not. Mine did not, but it was very easy to hook up the router I brought for our room.
  • TV and TV stand. It’s extra great if you can find a TV stand that also has storage.

 

KITCHEN SUPPLIES:

  • Coffee maker or Keurig. If your a fan of coffee, tea or hot cocoa.
  • In room food. It’s always nice to have some food in your room. Things like bottled water, cereal, easy Mac, granola bars, popcorn and your favorite snack foods!
  • Microwave.
  • Mini fridge.
  • Mini vacuum. Although my school allowed you to check out vacuums from the lobby of the resident hall for free, I brought one of those little rolling sweeper vacuums just to quick clean up our carpet which was convenient but not completely necessary.
  • Mugs. For your coffee, tea and hot cocoa 😉
  • Paper plates. Always nice to have some in your room in case you need them.
  • Paper towels.
  • Reusable water bottle. Nice to take to class with you.
  • Trash bags.
  • Utensils. I brought plastic ones that were great to have because I could use them and just toss them out after instead of having to wash them.

 

LAUNDRY:

  • Drying rack. I didn’t bring this right away until I realized after a couple weeks that I could really use one. For the things I didn’t want to completely dry in the dryer, I was at a loss of space to hang clothes in my dorm to dry. A folding drying rack was perfect because it could just be put away folded up and out of sight when I wasn’t using it.
  • Ironing board. Not completely necessary, I did not have one but one of my best friends who lived in my building brought one and let me use it when I needed to. If you have an extra to bring it’s really nice to have.
  • Laundry detergent. I used Tide Pods detergent all year which I HIGHLY recommend. They are literally so easy and perfect for college students. Drop a pod into the washer and you’re done.
  • Laundry basket or bag. I brought both, usually I would put whites in one and colors in the other so I could save time and not have to sort through my clothes when I got down into the laundry room.
  • Lint roller. This was great to have when getting ready for my job interview to clean up my nice dress clothes a little bit.
  • Portable stain remover pen. Tide To Go Stain Remover is perfect.

 

BATHROOM: (this could vary due to if you have suite or community style bathrooms)

  • Air freshener.
  • Bath towels.
  • Bathroom cleaning supplies.
  • Bath mats. Talk with your roommate and suite mates if can before so you don’t all bring these!
  • Hand towels.
  • Loofah.
  • Shower Caddy.
  • Shower shoes.
  • Washcloths.

 

TOILETRIES:

  • Body wash.
  • Conditioner.
  • Chapstick.
  • Deodorant.
  • Face wash.
  • Hairspray.
  • Hand soap.
  • Lotion.
  • Makeup.
  • Makeup remover.
  • Medicine.
  • Moisturizer.
  • Mouthwash.
  • Nail polish.
  • Nail polish remover.
  • Shampoo.
  • Shaving Cream.
  • Sunscreen.

 

  • Blow dryer.
  • Bobby pins.
  • Comb.
  • Contact supplies. (If applicable).
  • Cotton balls.
  • Curling iron.
  • Eyeglasses. (If applicable).
  • Feminine hygiene products.
  • Floss.
  • Hair clips.
  • Hair straightener.
  • Hair ties.
  • Hair brush.
  • Headbands.
  • Nail clippers.
  • Nail file.
  • Q-Tips.
  • Razor.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Tissues.
  • Toilet paper. My resident hall building actually gave us free toilet paper. It wasn’t great quality but it was free so it’s up to you what you would prefer!
  • Toothbrush.
  • Toothbrush holder.
  • Tweezers.

 

CLOTHES: (the essentials). If you go to school close enough to home you won’t have to bring all of these items right away. For example, my parents came and exchanged my summer clothes with my fall and winter ones when I needed them.

  • Athletic shoes.
  • Bathing suites.
  • Belts.
  • Boots.
  • Coats.
  • Dresses.
  • Flats.
  • Flip-flops.
  • Everyday shoes.
  • Formal interview clothes.
  • Gloves.
  • Gym bag.
  • Hats.
  • Heels.
  • Jeans.
  • Jackets.
  • Jewelry.
  • Leggings.
  • Long-sleeve shirts.
  • Pajamas.
  • Pants.
  • Purse.
  • Rain boots.
  • Rain jacket.
  • Scarves.
  • Short-sleeve shirts.
  • Shorts.
  • Skirts.
  • Snow Boots.
  • Socks.
  • Sweaters.
  • Sweatpants.
  • Sweatshirts.
  • T-shirts.
  • Tank tops.
  • Tights.
  • Undergarments.
  • Workout clothes.

 

IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS YOU MAY NEED:

  • Bank documents.
  • Copy of birth certificate.
  • Copy of social security cards.
  • Credit card.
  • Debit card.
  • Driver’s license.
  • Insurance cards.
  • Student ID

 

OTHER:

  • Art supplies.
  • Bike. Loved, loved, loved having my bike. Highly recommend bringing a bike especially if you are attending a big university like me. Not only did it saving me a ton of time getting to class but it was also so fun to ride around campus with friends.
  • Bike lock. Definitely bring a lock if you plan to have your bike on campus. Unfortunately bikes often get stolen if not locked on a big campus with a lot of students.
  • Fan.
  • Lanyard. Great to keep your ID card in.
  • Musical instruments. If you play one it’s a great way to make friends. I know I stopped by some rooms with the door open while they were playing the guitar to give them a compliment on their talent.
  • Pepper spray.
  • Playing cards.
  • Suitcase. Nice to have to pack for a weekend visiting at home.
  • Umbrella.

 

I hope this list can be helpful to you as you pack and I wish you the best of luck this school year! Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Sincerely, Sienna

(follow my Instagram at siennamohl for more updates!)