Dorm decor: All about organizationPublished on August 22, 2011

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I may be going into my final year at Queen's University, but I still remember my first day and the move into my dorm room like it happened last week.

My family unloaded my stuff into my room. When they left, I sat on my bed, looked around and thought, "How is all this going to fit into this room?"

I never would have considered myself to be organized, but I impressed myself with the useful tips I learned that first year.

The most important trick to making your tiny dorm room look a little bigger is to hide things. My two favorites were the under-bed storage bins and my over-the-door shoe organizer. This left more space in my closet, and less clutter on my floor.

I also realized how big a staircase could be when I opted for the cute, pink laundry bag, which I had to drag up and down several flights of stairs whenever I wanted clean clothes.

Don't get me wrong, you need something to lug your clothes in, but the laundry bag is not the way to go. For the entire year I looked longingly at my floormates who had pop-up laundry hampers. They were easier to store and had handles for carrying.

On the topic of washing, spending a year with strangers really made me realize how personal showers should be. A big communal bathroom is not personal.

A bathrobe is a must; a big one that you can wrap around you as soon as you're finished showering. To go along with this, you'll need a shower caddy and flip-flops.

The caddy means you won't have to worry about juggling your shampoo, conditioner, soap and whatever else you use in the shower. Flip-flops are a must, for who wants to walk in bare feet down a dirty hallway right after you spent so long getting yourself clean?

Much less personal, but just as practical, is the need for a power bar and extension cord. One outlet in a room doesn't cut it for a blow dryer, hair straightener, computer cord, printer, iPod dock and other electronics. Outlets are not usually in the most inconvenient locations.

Getting back to personal, it is important to make this tiny room your home. It was fun going into various dorms to see how this was achieved! A couple of things that stand out in my memory are all the pictures I had printed off before I went away, and the chandelier that my brother gave me for my September birthday. It always reminded me that a little glamour could go a long way.

And if you aren't the glamour type, posters add a personal touch. A white board outside the door brings welcome messages. While I opted for a message board, a friend of mine had a Velcro dartboard on his door that always proved to be fun for everyone!

Dorm decor is pretty basic. It is a blending of the necessities with some hints of personality that bring the impersonal space a little closer to home!

Follow Olivia on Twitter @livtags. Editor-in-Chief Mary Taggart offers up dorm decor tips on Rogers Daytime Ottawa, Sept. 1.

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