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Archive for the ‘College’ Category

Dorm Room Decor and Organizing Tips on WFMZ-TV

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
July 23rd, 2014

PrintThis morning on WFMZ-TV I shared with viewers tips on decorating and organizing a college dorm room. All the items shown were from Target and ranged in price from $3.99 to $19.99. When shopping in-store at a local Target, just look for the “College Shop” flags to help you navigate to what you need.

While it might be nice to coordinate colors with your roommate, keep in mind you may not have the same roommate year after year. Instead, consider a color that coordinates or blends with your room color at home. This way during the summer months you can take full advantage of what you purchased for college and use the items in your room at home such as a lamp, chair, ottoman, string lights, decorative pillows, etc.

Dorm rooms typically have either a standard length twin bed or an extra long twin bed. No matter if you know the size of your bed or not, purchase the comforter and sheets in XL. You never know what size bed you will have next year or the year after. The bed size may differ from dormitory to dormitory or if you move into an apartment. You won’t notice the difference if you buy extra long, but you will notice the difference if you are trying to fit a standard length mattress pad or fitted sheet on an extra long twin mattress.

While making your packing checklist, beware of the items that college student typically forget to pack. Add to your list a cable for TV, extension cords, batteries for remotes (TV and fan), postage stamps, and envelopes.

Items shown on the dorm room organizing TV segment: Comforter $16.00; Sheets $16.99; Decorative Pillow $18.99; Bed Rest Pillow $12; Paper Lantern String Lights $14.99; Metal Flower String Lights $14.99; Table Lamp $19.99; Ottoman $19.99; Decorative Fabric Bin $6.99; Decorative Bin $6.79; Beside Caddy $7.99; Over the Door Organizer $9.99; Storage Crate $3.99; Shower Wrap $11.00; Shower Tote $7.99; Shower Caddy: In-store Laundry Bag $9.99; Drying Rack/Towel Bar: In-store

Happy dorm room organizing!
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It’s Time for Back to School and Off to College

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
August 7th, 2013

It’s off to college and back to school time! Every year there are new products on the market and this year is no different with fun colors and fun times. On WFMZ-TV’s Sunrise Show I was thrilled to share with viewers tips and tricks for back to school and off to college dorm room living.

Rubbermaid’s Lunch Blox for kids makes packing lunch fun, organized, and cool! There are two kits to choose from, one for flat lunch bags and one for tall lunch bags. Each kit is modular and airtight to keep items fresh and not soggy. Whether it is a sandwich or salad, these containers rock with cool colors and a Blue Ice pack that snaps to the containers. The containers are BPA free and microwave, dishwasher, and freezer save. You can find Rubbermaid’s Lunch Blox at grocery stores and Target for $10 to $15. Print a coupon for Rubbermaid’s Lunch Blox.

To minimize searching for sports gear, dance attire, or swim team suits, keep all “activity” wear in one dresser drawer or bin. This way your child is not sifting through regular t-shirts and shorts trying to find his or her soccer t-shirt or shorts.

The Academic Planner is a great time management tool for students of all ages. It provides students with a natural way to literally visual their available time so they can plan and manage it. It puts the student in control by giving them a place on the planner to record their activities and meetings. When they see available blocks of time they know they can easily schedule their studying and assignments. This planner is just any planner, it was developed by a mother whose child was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Executive Dysfunction. You can purchase the Academic Planner online.

If you are college bound, Bed Bath & Beyond offers a dorm room checklist specific for your college or university or use can use their universal dorm room checklist. No matter how well you think you’ve planned and prepared for dorm room living, there are common forgotten or overlooked items. Play it safe buy purchasing these items ahead of time and hang onto your receipt. Consider bringing along extra batteries (for remotes for your fan, TV, iHome, etc.); power strip, 3-prong cord, regular extensions cords, and TV cable (in case you place the TV far from the wall jack), Don’t forget to pack postage stamps and envelopes – you’ll most likely need them at some point.

Vera Bradley’s back to school line at the Heritage Shop Hallmark store on Emmaus Avenue in Allentown was a fun find.  The shower caddy in a number of Vera Bradley patterns goes great with a matching bath wrap and the coordinating pop up hamper compacts nicely and is easy to stash in the car.

For  guys or girls going off to college, Bed Bath & Beyond’s exclusive college bedding kits are a great deal. For $79.99 in-store you’ll get a comforter, pillow sham, sheet set, 2 towels, and a fabric storage bin to put under the bed or hang from a closet rod. I always recommend purchasing the extra long twin comforter and sheets as opposed to the regular length twin. The dorm you are living in this year may have regular size twin beds, but your dorm next year may have extra long twin beds!

Wishing you a happy and successful school year!

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How to Setup a Dorm Room – Organize and Maximize Your Space

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
August 8th, 2012

"After" Photo by Diane Albright

With college around the corner are you wondering how you’re going to manage storing all your stuff? Although moving into a dorm is challenging, it can be made easier if you follow a few simple tricks and tips listed below. If you would rather some telephone “hand-holding” by our professional organizers consider our telephone consulting services for dorm room setup and organization.

"Before" Dorm Room Photo

First think vertical – use as much vertical space as possible. Your horizontal space will be taken up with your bed, desk, dresser, closet, refrigerator, etc. Unoccupied vertical space is lurking everywhere. Just a few of the places you will find wasted vertical space is under your bed, under short hanging in your closet, and under your refrigerator.

A perfect example of how to use wasted vertical space is putting your refrigerator on a refrigerator stand. A dorm room refrigerator stand will provide additional storage underneath the frig (great for snacks, cups, plates etc). Please photo at top.  A refrigerator stand will also raise your refrigerator to a more acceptable height – no more getting on your hands and knees to access the refrigerator!

When it comes to storing smaller items bins, baskets, and containers allow you to store more in less space. The sides of the container act as walls allowing you to maximize the vertical space without the items tumbling off or over. Containers also allow you to have easy access to items up high. Just pull the container off the shelf and you have access to all the items, none are hidden at the back of the shelf.

Throughout the whole process be open minded and creative! Repurposing storage containers to fit your needs can make all the difference.

Typically you have one day to move into your dorm room or campus housing. Well that is one day with your parents present. Parents usually are key because they’re the ones with the car, experience, and probably the finances to get you settled at college. Take advantage of the help while you have it.

Prior to departing for college I suggest buying containers, organizers, and bins. Buy them in various sizes

and types. Buy some with lids so you can stack others on top. If you buy containers and totes in solids and patterns your room will have a little style going and not look like you seriously got organized. Buy more bins, baskets, and totes than you think you will need knowing that you or your parents will be returning some. Be sure to keep your receipt in a save place.

Some great places to shop for college living are Bed, Bath, and Beyond; The Container Store; Target; and don’t forget your locally owned stores! When it comes to college-bound shopping each store has unique services, offers, and products for campus and dorm room living. Bed, Bath, & Beyond and The Container Store have special services for college bound students such as shipping your purchases to your residence hall or to the store closest to your college.

Below are a few of my favorite finds for college bound students:

Tapered Tote – Store more in less space – great for on a shelf or under the bed.

Small 3-Drawer Unit – Use vertical or horizontal. If need be, take out drawers to use drawer and unit separately.

Large 3-Drawer Unit – Use as one unite or take out drawers to use drawers and unit separately. Unit without drawers may work nicely on its back under your bed.

Lidded Box in Print – By using a lidded box you create more vertical storage space. Set a tote or another lidded box on top.

Horizontal Organizer – This set of shelves works great at the bottom of closet, under bed, or on top of the shelf above your clothing. They’re stackable.

Bed Risers – Create more vertical storage by raising your bed. Be sure to check if bed risers are permitted at your college.

Gearbox Bedside Caddy –Use this bed caddy to have important items at your fingertips.

Gearbox Deluxe Bedside Caddy
– This large bed caddy tucks under the mattress providing you convenient storage.

Command Hooks – Sold in a variety of stores such as Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, and many grocery stores.

Remember if you would like advice on the best way to setup up your dorm room consider our telephone consulting services for dorm room setup and organization.

Happy dorm room organizing!

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Unique Storage Boxes

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
May 1st, 2012

New and innovative products are always coming on the market but Rubbermaid’s new Bento™ boxes take top prize when it comes to storage, innovation, and style. Bento™ boxes, a new line of storage boxes, are meant to divide and conquer your clutter. I discovered these unique storage boxes at the 2012 National Association of Professional Organizers Conference and Expo.

What sets these sturdy, fabric covered storage boxes apart is their hidden flexible storage compartments. The compartments pop back in and out of

place when needed and then not needed. The pop-outs form a square or rectangular compartment in the corners of the box. Pop out just one, two, three, or all four compartments depending on your box and storage needs. When you bring home a Bento™ box it’s like bringing home multiple boxes within a larger box but the smaller “boxes” (aka compartments) disappear when not needed – how great is that!

The sleek and stylish Bento™ boxes are so attractive they can be used at home and at the office. Wherever you use your Bento™ boxes they can change configurations as your needs change. Go from toys to crafts, or college to home office. Bento™ can stay with you all the way.

“Bento™ toppers” are also available. These tops can be used as a tray at the top of the box or as a lid to cover the box. Either way makes it easy to stack other Bento™ storage boxes on top of one another.

If style is what you are looking for, stack graduated sizes of Bento™ boxes on top of one another and consider alternating coordinating colors or patterns such as solid color Bento™ boxes with patterned Bento™ boxes. Your stack of stylish boxes will look just like that – stylish boxes, not storage and organizational boxes.

Prices for the Bento™ boxes range from $8.99 to $25.99. Currently the Bento™ boxes are available at Rubbermaid.com, Target, Joanne’s, Fred Meyer, Amazon.com, and Macy’s.com. Please note that Target does offer some exclusive colors and patterns like the one pictured at the top.

Click for more information on Rubbermaid’s Bento™ boxes.

Happy Bento™-ing!
Diane

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Organizing a Dorm Room – Great Finds

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
August 21st, 2011

Going off to college is an exciting time however organizing and maximizing the space in a college dorm room can be a bit challenging. Most likely you won’t be stepping foot in your room until the day you’re moving in with your belongings in tow. This means planning has to take place without dimensions and feel for the room. Room size also adds to the challenge. Your room will probably (and hopefully) be the smallest space that you ever have to live in. To ease the burden of dorm room planning and organization, I shared tips and tricks on WFMZ-TV’s Sunrise Show. (Click here for TV segment.)

This year while completing my annual “dorm room” shopping trip (I have been staging dorm rooms for the past 8 years) I was pleasantly surprised to find an abundance of innovative and reasonably priced products on the market. Shopping was fun and quick with a large selection of colors and styles to choose from.
My goal was one-stop shopping, saving time and stress. I found all the products below at the local Bed Bath & Beyond store with the exception of the refrigerator stand. The refrigerator stand is from our local and online store All Bright Ideas.

During my dorm room shopping spree the following items caught my eye:

Grommet Totes –Totes are great for storing smaller items. Toss items in and store more vertically. The sides of the tote enable you to maximize vertical storage space. The grommet on the front of the bin provides the ability to easily “grab and go.”

Bedside Caddy – This caddy keeps all your bedside needs (water bottle, iPod, tissues, eyeglasses, remote, etc.) within reach. It secures under the mattress. The bedside caddy is a must for a loft or bunk bed dweller.

Backpack Laundry Bag – This laundry bag allows you to easily transport laundry to and from the laundry room. Just slip your arms through the backpack straps. A large compartment holds laundry detergent.

Mesh Shower Tote – Finally a shower tote for the college guys out there. This masculine style tote stores and transports shower needs.

Day/Night Shower Caddy – This innovative caddy includes an insert which can be used separately allowing you to decide how much you need to tote to the bathroom. The middle section pulls out reducing the size of your tote – ideal when you don’t need to take all of your showering items with you.

Bed in a Crate – Similar to Bed in a Bag, this 11-piece crate set was created for residence hall living. You get 11 color coordinating essential items including an XL twin comforter.

Rise n’ Store – Create more storage under you bed by adding bed risers. These unique bed risers have storage compartments built in for your iPod, remote, tissues, etc. Check with your college or university to find out if bed risers are permitted in your residence hall.

Slimline Hangers – The ultra-slim design of these hangers maximize closet space so you can fit more in less space. These hangers are flocked so they hold clothing in place. Hang sweaters and other knits without getting shoulder bumps.

Desk Lamp Organizer – Organize your workspace while illuminating your desktop. The lamp base has built in compartments to store office supplies or items you would like compartmentalized.

Dorm Space Saver Shelving – Make the most out of your small space. Add freestanding shelving to your room with this behind-the-bed unit.

Refrigerator Stand – Add convenience and storage by placing your refrigerator or Microfridge on a refrigerator stand. Gain storage space underneath and you’ll no longer need to kneel to see what’s in the frig.

Large Plastic Drawers (available in store-in at Bed Bath & Beyond) – Maximize the space under your bed by adding drawers or a wire basket system. Store sweaters, sports gear, blankets or off-season clothing.

Command Hooks (available at office supply, grocery, hardware, and craft stores) – These hooks and poster strips are a must for college bound students. Command provides damage-free organizing and decorating. Easily hang a curtain rod with Command hooks. Get a Command coupon.

Most colleges and universities provide a checklist of recommended items to bring. Check your college’s website to see if they offer a checklist. Here’s a packing list for college to get you well on your way.

Wishing you a wonderful college experience,

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How to Find the Perfect College Roommate

By Diane Albright CPO, Organizing and Productivity Expert
July 20th, 2011

Muhlenberg College

Muhlenberg College, Allentown PA

If you are an incoming college freshman, the thought of not knowing who you will be sharing a room with for the next 8 months can be daunting. Let’s face it, a dorm room is a small space and sharing it with a stranger can be a bit frightful. A compatible roommate is out there, but finding this person may seem like finding a needle in a haystack. First, check with your college to see if they permit freshmen to select  roommates on their own. If so, the following tips should help make the process easier.

A great way to find other incoming freshmen looking for a roommate at your college or university is by “liking” the Facebook page that is dedicated to the year your class will graduate from the college. For example, you would search for and “like” Penn State University Park Class of 2015 if you were entering college in 2011 at Penn State. Then, in the spring before you enter college other incoming freshman will start posting about themselves and the happenings in their lives, and many will also make posts regarding what they are looking for in a roommate.

Another roommate search technique comes in the form of a website. This site, specifically designed to help you find a roommate, is www.roomsurf.com. Roomsurf allows you to communicate with other incoming freshman at your chosen college or university. You can also find the Facebook page for your college and graduation year here.

But, before you start searching for that perfect roommate, take the time to contemplate what “the perfect roommate” is for you. Start by writing down qualities or habits that are most important to you when thinking about who you would like to live with (i.e. organization and neatness or balance between academics and socializing). Make one column for attributes you would “like” and one for attributes you would “dislike.” List as many attributes as you want. When you are finished creating “the perfect roommate list,” circle the three most important attributes in the “like” column and any attributes in your “dislike” column that you just simply couldn’t tolerate.

Then, when sharing information with other incoming freshman on your college’s Facebook page or RoomSurf, look to see if anyone mentions the attributes that are most important to you. If you find someone mentioning two of your three “likes” make a note of that person. Begin communicating with the person or people you think might be a match and omit any people that have characteristics ranking high in your “dislikes” column. Perhaps talking on the telephone or “friending” the person on Facebook will help you to get to know the person a little better and aid you further in making a roommate decision.

Once you agree to room with someone, continue getting to know each other so any differences are recognized and worked out ahead of time. Perhaps if you live within driving distance of each other you can spend time in each other’s hometown or attend each other’s high school graduation party. This way you’ll get to see how your new roommate treats his or her friends.

And, before college begins discuss what is and isn’t acceptable while both of you live together. Some colleges suggest drafting a mutual roommate contract or guidelines that explains acceptable and unacceptable behavior. The contract or guideline may include how often you or your roommate can have overnight guests or significant others visiting or how many people are allowed in your room at one time.
After you and your roommate begin living together, continue to keep the lines of communication open. A successful roommate relationship is like a marriage. It takes effort and understanding on both ends to keep a happy and healthy environment.

Wishing you a successful college life,

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