As university students who have moved out of home, we have grown accustomed to living in shoeboxes of varying sizes, and out of this habitation situation comes the inevitable dilemma of how to fit a myriad of belongings into such a small amount of space. While the independence afforded to us is something we’d be very reluctant to trade in, we do miss are the vast expanses of cupboards, large basement square footage and under-the-stairs clutter void. As a result, I have made it my mission to gather and share the wisdom acquired over my three years in a constrained dwelling.
The Under-Bed Vortex
No one really knows what breed of were-dust-bunnies live under beds, and it’s likely that you’ve lost some smaller possessions to the voracious appetites of those mysterious creatures (think bobby pins, spare change, earphones…). Why not make friends with the wildlife and organise your larger items under your bed? Wistful suitcases, eager yet unsatisfied washing baskets, and duffel bags of ‘not-sure-I-want-to-donate’ clothes fit in quite nicely with the under-bed dust community.
On top of Cupboards
The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” applies all too easily here. Have a bill to pay? Top of the cupboard. An important letter to answer? Top of the cupboard. A photo of an ex that you can’t bear to throw away? You guessed it…top of the cupboard! The tops of shelves also make an excellent candidate for extra university work storage: past assessments that you’re excessively proud of, printed readings that you just spent too much credit on while trying to get the printer to work, and various other papers.
Filing, filing, filing
Hanging baskets and in-trays are a student’s best friend. Let’s face it – you’re a new adult and you don’t really know what documents you should keep and which you can throw away. With this in mind, it may be best not to take that risk and instead, keep everything! Some may call you organised, others may call you a hoarder, but at least you’ll have a copy of a 2016 ANU careers pamphlet and expired O-week vouchers, just in case. That being said, don’t turn your nose up at the classic corner-of-desk-paper stack either.
There are many stores these days that sell tailor-made storage ‘solutions’ for every possible clutter issue imaginable. However, you don’t need to look any further than an old favourite: Aldi. Known to have near-authentic knock-offs of your classic acrylic units and bathroom drawers, don’t discount this German all-rounder, as you’ll be surprised what may crop up in the special buy section every few months. To stay in the loop, I would recommend subscribing to the e-Newsletter, if not just to marvel at how weird some of items are (meerkat statue anyone?).
Pass it On
If you’re not able to move on for sentimental reasons but also just can’t stand to house a particular item within your home any longer, the most effective answer to this conundrum is often the good-old give-it-to-a-friend. You’ll know that the novelty pillow your other friend gave you as a joke will have a loving home and won’t be a standout feature of your décor any longer. While some people may object to the principle of re-gifting (especially if you run the risk of the original giver of the gift seeing its new home), things were just getting a little too awkward every time you had visitors.