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Campus living: organizational hacks for your room

A utensil tray is perfect for storing extra pens, pencils, paperclips, Post-It notes and other office supplies. Credit: Edward Sutelan | Assistant Sports Editor

Ever move into your apartment, house, dorm or parents’ basement and realize that you have stuff you don’t know what to do with? Perhaps when everyone moved into your apartment, everyone bought one of those fun cutlery trays that sorts utensils because no one thought anyone else would think of it.

Or maybe, you just have a lot of stuff, little space and need ways to condense everything. These useful organizational hacks will help you maximize seldom-used items and make the most of your space.

Utensil Trays

If excess silverware trays ever become an issue, the best solution is to use the extra ones to store pens, pencils, highlighters, crayons and other small desk items. Each little crevice holds your assorted work items in their own separate aisle, allowing you to sort everything out.

Instead of going out to buy a pen holder that will never hold all the free pens and pencils you acquire from various locations, allow a spare tray to serve you by keeping everything in check.

Plastic Storage Crates

Nearly everyone has received plenty of these plastic storage crates covered with holes for some unknown reason. They have little indents on the handles that dig into your fingers when you try to lift them.

You know what I’m talking about. I don’t like them.

By the time you’ve moved into your place, you will have emptied out the books (or DVDs) the crates once held and found that these clunky boxes take up a lot of space. Flip them on their side and stack them, turning them into bookshelves (or DVD shelves). Perhaps add a classy lamp on top to make it look nice.

This might sound unsafe. You might think that plastic boxes on their side holding things is not a great idea. Well, you’re wrong.

While I certainly do not recommend placing your finest Steuben glass on top of these hole-riddled crates, they certainly do the job for serving as a drying rack for wet dishes or holding books, notebooks and a lamp.

Toilet Paper Rolls

No, I’m not talking about rolls when they have toilet paper on them. I’m talking about rolls with no toilet paper on them. Why would I tell you to waste paper? Sicko.

Those charging cords that you always try to form into a perfect oval, but inevitably turn into a squirrel’s nest 5 seconds later, can conveniently be placed right in the middle of the rolls.

Instead of forming a frustrating knot, they will remain in that neat, compact oval, which makes everything look more organized. If you still can’t get past what the original use of those rolls was, binder clips also work well.

Soda Can Tabs

If you’re like me, you like to fidget. No, I’m not about to talk about fidget spinners. Instead, I’m going to talk about those little tabs that help open up your soda cans (or cans of other adult beverages). I always have the irresistible urge to pop them off, even if I never know what to do with them after I’ve done it.

Well, I’ll tell you what to do with them. You know how clothing hangers eventually fill your closet up so much you just have to fold things and put them in drawers (or sideways plastic crates)? Put one of the soda tabs on the hook part of the hanger, allowing you to stack hangers going down instead of going to the side.

So next time you pop that tab off your Coca-Cola, Sprite or Natural Light, remember to save them to be able to put them on your hangers and create more space in your closet. If you don’t feel like putting them on immediately after removing the tab, you can always find space in your utensil tray to hold it until you’re ready.

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