Things Organized Neatly

Ask Rebecca
Tupperware party!!
Tupperware party!! // Rebecca Levinsky

Dear Rebecca,

New year, new dorm room, and I’m facing a crisis. I have too much stuff, and not enough places to put it all. How can I organize my room in a way that gives my clothes (and me) some space to breathe?

Sincerely,

Hoarder Harry

Dear Hoarder,

This is a classic question, and a situation that I face every year. How can you make the small square footage allocated to you work? Especially once it’s filled with the many suitcases of clothes and boxes of books that you convince yourself you absolutely need?

Living in a dorm is all about discreetly maximizing the space you have. And it absolutely has to be done discreetly. Otherwise, you end up as a senior, in a tiny single where it seems that every square inch of space is filled with every possession you have gathered since your first Camp Yale. So, organize discreetly. Color-coordinating your closet is a great way to make it look neat. Don’t be lazy — put papers in file folders and organize small odds and ends in shoe boxes. Line up the things you use often at right angles and come up with ways to tuck away things you don’t need every day. When all else fails, buy plastic bins. Your Instagram following will thank you.

As you probably know from my column last year, I have moved off campus. But even the spacious rooms of Harrison Court have not solved my problems. Off campus life requires a whole new category of things, and, like dorm rooms, most apartments do not come equipped with enough places to hide all these things.

Sure, my clothes are happy. I have two closets (one with amazing built-in shelves) … but my kitchen? That’s another story.

My roommate, Caroline, and I are the kind of girls who require three kinds of flour and four kinds of sugar in the pantry. We like rolled oats and steel cut oats, and of course, we need service for eight (including soup bowls and salad plates) for when we host Shabbat dinner. So, what did we do? Organize it all discreetly, of course.

One of the highlights of our organization is that Caroline stocked up on genius plastic bins over the summer. You know, the kind you see filled with nuts and snacks on lifestyle blogs. They are the perfect places to keep all of our grains and baking supplies, and they stack away neatly under the island we bought from Ikea. (Shoutout to Caroline’s dad for building that island!)

Tricks like these secretly double the space in my apartment. Behind the foot rack in my closet and hidden by my hanging clothes are my suitcases. And under my bed? You don’t want to know.

But when you walk into our apartment (especially if I’ve remembered to put away the dishes from dinner the night before) all you see are cleared-off surfaces and plenty of space for two romper-wearing girls to dance around. Everything is in its place. You have to look a lot harder to see where all our stuff is hidden, and that’s the best part.

Bet you can’t find where I put it,

Rebecca

P.S. For more tips like this, follow @theromperroom on Instagram.

Dear Rebecca,

I spent all summer on a farm, waking up with the roosters and going to bed when the lambs came in for the night. Now we’re back on campus and no one is around to hang out with me when I wake up with the first rays of sunshine, and I fall asleep so early. How can I adjust to the campus-life clock, when all I want to be doing is picking hay out of my hair?

Sincerely,

Sleepy Senior

Dear Sleepy Senior,

I wish I could tell you that I have no idea what this problem is, but sadly, I also spent my summer on the weirdest internal clock. I think my clock was partially set by morning sunlight shining through the broken blinds in the apartment I was subletting. (Did you know that the sun rises at 5:30 a.m. in NYC?) My internal clock was also confused because my room had very thin walls and my bed was directly next to the TV, where my roommates watched “The Bachelorette” until the early hours of the morning.

Regardless of the reason your internal clock has set itself the way it has (be it NYC street noise or the cuckoo’s calling), getting back to Yale is hard. It doesn’t help that shopping period requires you to pay attention in lectures and catch up with everyone you don’t care about and have met one time.

Really, the only advice I have is to man up and get back on your Yale Clock. If you’re still waking up early, that’s great — go for a run, or whatever, before class … Just plan time for a nap in the mid-afternoon. Because if you think getting up with hours to spare before your 9:25 a.m. seminar means it is OK to be too tired for Toad’s, you’re wrong. I expect to see you dancing to Journey when 1 a.m. on Wednesday rolls around.

Yours when the sun rises and the sun sets,

Rebecca

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