Doctoring your dorm room

CorrespondentAugust 9, 2013 

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    Need to chill?

    Mini refrigerators can stack atop this clever cart, which includes mesh drawers. This accessory offers easy accessibility and visibility to foods and more. Wheels on the bottom make it easy to move. Retail price: $129.

    Let there be light

    Position this pretty and purposeful light at just the right height. Style, smarts and savvy come with the Hi-Light Task Lamp, which includes three pivot points. Uses a 25-watt bulb. Comes in seven different colors; retail price: $79.

    Just roll with it

    Under the bed, in the closet or next to the desk, these clear drawers allow easy viewing; it can be further organized with labels. Retail price is $16.99; size is 12 1/4" by 14 1/4" by 26 1/4".

    Little black dress (jewelry organizer)

    Everyone knows that an LBD is an essential for every female, but this may be the most loved relished rendition. Hang this hottie by the front of your closet, because it’s the one wardrobe piece you’ll need day in and day out. The two-sided organizer by Umbra is a stylish way to store your jewels; it hangs on a rod or hook and features 29 clear vinyl pockets on one side and 24 hook-and-loop closures on the other. Made from black cotton canvas, it measures 18 3/4" wide by 46" high. Retail price: $19.99

    Don’t abuse the snooze

    Created for the super snoozer, Clocky may be a bit gimmicky, but could be worth a shot. It’s an alarm that allows for just one snooze. Try it again, and Clocky will be up and at ’em – and so will you. He will roll and he will hide; the only way to stop the sound is to get up out of bed to silence it. Snooze option can be turned off (and rolling will begin at the first alarm) as can wheels. Available in numerous colors; retail price: $49.99.

    Picture this

    Clear the clutter from your desk and design and decorate at the same time by using an online photo program to create a poster of your favorite photos. Your collage for college can be an inexpensive way to use photos as a facelift to your small space.

    Handy power strip

    Round out your list of necessities with the Quirky Pivot Power surge protector. Don’t get boxed in by large adapters taking up too much space on your strip – the adjustable outlets accommodate large adapters; the cool, curved design pivots easily around furniture and other items. Retail cost: $29.99. (Note: check your school’s policies on power strips.)

    Kiran Dodeja Smith

Big dreams and high hopes collide with small spaces and tight corners for the college-bound. With so many gadgets and goodies, what contraptions actually make the grade for being both fun and functional? We turned to some Charlotte-area “experts” for guidance and counsel.

Abbie Reich is gearing up to head back to Appalachian State University this fall for her sophomore year. “Dorms have a single overhead light that is really annoying and makes you feel like you’re in an institution,” she said. Simple solutions include a floor light in addition to a clamp-on desk lamp.

Our collegiate crew’s input was unanimous on definite necessities: floor lamps, an area rug, shoe organizers, organizational bins and/or shelves and some punchy pillows and sheets to suit your style. Oh, and don’t forget something cute to store your laundry (or to tote it home). Don’t spend your money (or precious space) on dishes, games, extra towels or a shower caddy that isn’t vented at the bottom.

For decoration, UNC sophomore Jill Lindsay Euchner had friends from home paint canvases, which she displayed on her walls. Simple strings of fun lights from Target added some pops of color.

And then there’s technology. Notable items worth toting are an iDock or iHome. Reich also suggests an ethernet cord – a long one. “Even though dorms promise speedy Wi-Fi, with hundreds of other students connecting to it, it’s actually quite slow,” she says. A basic printer also saved her from late-night trips to the library.

UNC Wilmington student Nicole Sabo offers this advice: “When you’re shopping for stuff, it can be easy to get swept up… (so) take a minute to ask yourself if you are really going to get much use out of it. If you’re not sure, you may be better off waiting until you get to school to decide.”

And finally, avoid sticky situations by purchasing Command Brand strips and hooks. The non-permanent stick tools don’t damage dorm room walls and provide lots of ways to maximize space. Hang towels, purses, strings of lights, keys, mirrors and more. Numerous sizes and versions; prices start at $2.17 per pack.

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