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How to Give Your Apartment a New Year’s Makeover


Organized Room and Girl
Photo Credit

With the first week of 2011 behind us, the thought of settling back into a regular routine might be overwhelming. Traveling, keeping New Year’s resolutions, and a fast-approaching Spring semester can make any college girl feel stressed even before returning to campus!

But you can do something to reduce the stress: A clean, organized space can put your mind at ease and keep you focused on achieving your goals. Make 2011 your best academic year yet: utilizing a few of these ideas, you can reduce clutter in your apartment or dorm and create a more relaxing study environment in the new year.

Under-Bed Storage

Storage Bins
Product Information: Brown/Ivory Bin – Walmart, Plastic Bin w/ Red Lid – Target, Leopard Storage Bag – Target.

Both dorm rooms and apartments are usually lacking in space, but as a College Fashion reader, it’s unlikely you’re lacking in clothes. Storing off-season clothing, blankets, and infrequently worn garments in under-bed storage bins keeps them out of sight and frees up closet space. Also, you’ll still be able to easily access your things while keeping them safe from spills, moths, and even grabby roommates. Containers come in many styles; from flimsy to rigid, and clear plastic to leopard-print (my favorite!).

Hooking Up

Hooks for Organizing
Product Information: Cast Iron Multi Wall Hook – Urban Outfitters, Cat Hook – Restoration Hardware, Cygnus Hook – Anthropologie, Key Hook – Anthropologie.

Look up: another oft-overlooked source of additional space in a tiny dorm or apartment is the walls! Wall hooks come in a variety of styles and sizes, and can be used to hold an even larger variety of objects or accessories. Scarves and hairbands can be draped over single hooks or knobs, while multiple, daintier hooks do a great job of holding necklaces, belts, and keys. Hat and coat racks can also be hung on the walls to create more floor space. If you don’t have the budget or ability to pursue the items listed above, check out a local thrift store. A good polishing or fresh coat of paint can give new life to your inexpensive find!

Organizing Shoes

Shoe Organizers
Product Information: Over-the-Door Shoe Rack – Bed Bath & Beyond, Small Shoe Rack – Ikea, Shoe Cubbies – Target, Shoe Tree – The Container Store.

Organizing your shoes will keep you from tripping over them and allow you to pick out a pair more quickly before you head out for class. There are tons of shoe storage options for every room, from neat cubbies to plastic hanging sleeves. Don’t feel like stuffing your beloved shoes into a tight space? Display them on a shoe tree! The possibilities are endless.

Fashionable Files

File Holders
Product Information: Clear Plastic File Box – Staples, File Tote – See Jane Work, Decorative File Folders – OfficeMax, Colorful File Holder – See Jane Work.

Like many college girls, I keep my notes from completed courses in case I need to review them for a more advanced class. Rather than stacking them in binders or dumping them into a tub, I like to sort mine into a file box.  Desktop file boxes are much sleeker than a typical “banker’s box”, and some even come with handles for easy toting. You can label each subject with a different tab to find your notes fast, and express your own style with decorative folders…which are also usually super-cheap!

What do you think?

Do you know any creative ways to stay clutter-free? What’s something that helps you focus more on studying? How are you updating your space for 2011? Leave your thoughts in a comment!

Posted on on January 9, 2011 / Filed Under: Dorm Room / Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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19 Responses to “How to Give Your Apartment a New Year’s Makeover”

  1. 1
    January 9th, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Interesting ideas…love the shoe tree!

  2. 2
    January 9th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Definitely want to pursue better filing- I might get a few of those clear plastic bins from Staples and decorate them with Sharpies!
    I also love the wall hooks, but I don’t think I can just drill holes in my wall….sigh. Maybe Anthropologie will have some awesome coatracks.

  3. 3
    January 9th, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Ugh I just moved out of my apartment that I’ve had for four years, because I’m moving to London. Fun ideas to decorate my new place though!

  4. 4
    January 9th, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I absolute LOVE the cat hanger and the key hanger. So cute!!!

  5. 5
    January 9th, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Great tips! The hangers are really cute!

  6. 6
    January 9th, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    I have the shoe tree for my dorm room and I love it! A great way to keep my shoes organized.

  7. 7
    January 10th, 2011 at 2:12 am


  8. 8
    January 10th, 2011 at 2:35 am

    I don’t know why I never thought of using filing bins to save old coursework! That’s a great, organized idea that I’m definitely going to start incorporating!

  9. 9
    January 10th, 2011 at 2:38 am

    Right now, I’m using a hanging tie rack for my sunglasses. Works great and I know right where my shades are.

    Is there an alternative for the over the door shoe rack? As in perhaps one with more substantial plastic or metal sides? In practice, the plastic parts on the sides make it partially unusable.

    I bought this exact shoe rack and two -thirds of the plastic parts of the rack would warp, the metal bars would slide out of place and about six-seven rows of shoes would tumble to the ground at least once a week. I tried supergluing the metal bars to the plastic side pieces but it kept falling apart. This finally stopped when I removed the bottom third of the rack but I now have those four rows of shoes on my floor.

  10. 10
    January 10th, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Thank you all for the great input!

    @Steph…Are you talking about this particular rack, or all racks of this style in general? I know they also have the plastic racks that either hang over the door or hang in your closet, and they’re made from a soft plastic. The shoes don’t hang up side by side, but slide into pockets. It’s a little harder to organize for high heels and bulkier shoes, but since they’re not rigid, they’re less likely to break.

    I’ll keep an eye out!

  11. 11
    January 10th, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I have that cat hanger in silver! It’s adorable but I haven’t put it up yet…maybe CF could do an article about DIY for girls? Especially college girls, who don’t own power tools.
    I’ve had to figure out so much stuff since moving into my apartment, like stripping wallpaper, filling in holes in the wall, how to dispose of stuff without my own car, how to spray paint indoors…I bet there are others who would like a quick DIY overview, with a college fashion twist.

  12. 12
    January 10th, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    I’m guilty of a cluttered shoe collection in my dorm. I have so many pairs and so little space that I think I might have to get two or three mini shoe racks and hope that they fit under the bed.
    I wish I could do over the door racks, but I have more boots than flats, so even if I have all of my flats on the rack, there’s still going to be 10 pairs of boots lying around.

    Maybe I just have too many shoes.

  13. 13
    January 10th, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I really love the cat hook – so cute and adourable :) Great blog! Greetings from Denmark


  14. 14
    January 10th, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    I know most people don’t like the look of bank boxes, but I do! I love the colored and design ones that they sell at Walmart. :)

  15. 15
    July 23rd, 2011 at 10:46 am

    It’s wodrnfeul to have you on our side, haha!

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