It’s time for the college kids to head back to school! I’m sure mom, dad and the kids have mixed feelings about that.  I remember enjoying being homework and school-free all summer.  But I also missed my college friends and my college life!  The ending of summer is always bittersweet!

I received some catalogs recently showing off all their cool dorm organization and apartment organization solutions.  I thought I’d outline a few of my favorites and essentials along with a few ideas to get prepared for heading back to college and organizing college life.

1.       Only take what you need to school.  Dorms are so small and having less will make your life (and your roommate’s life) easier.  Start with a list of what you need to bring and cross-check with roommates if you’re outfitting an apartment.  That way you will have what you need and you won’t have 10 spaghetti pots for one apartment.

2.       Invest $20 in a closet rod doubler.  I recall my dorm closet, and most closets for the matter, as having one hanging rod.  This is great if all you wear are evening gowns but if not, you’re left with a lot of unusable space!

No tools required

3.      Shoe storage is a must.  If you are light on shoes, then shelves below the hanging clothes is great.  I NEVER suggest the kind of shelves with the bar you’re supposed to hook your shoe heels on.  They never stay on and you just end up with a mess.   If you have lots of shoes or maybe you want to share half with a roommate, I really like the over-door shoe bag from The Container Store that holds 24 pairs!

4.       A bunk bed shelf would have been a great invention when I was in Lincoln Dorm at Northern Illinois University!  I had to put a small shelving unit on my desk so I could prop my alarm clock on top.  I recobunk bed shelfmmend using museum putty to keep your alarm or lamp in place so you don’t knock it off when you roll over.

5.       Command Hooks are great for dorms and apartments as they leave no holes behind.  You can hang just about anything on one of these handy deals.

6.       Cabledrop is a clip that is nice to hold cords in place on a desktop when you unplug your laptop or phone.  They’ll be ready and waiting for you next time you plugin!

7.       Drawer organizers are perfect for school supplies and make-up.  They’ll keep your items sorted and keep them from sliding away.  (Label your bins so things always end up in the right place, even if your roommate borrows something!)  I like the Linus brand because they have deeper bins to make the most of the drawer depth and rubber feet to keep them all from sliding to the back of the drawer.  I haven’t seen any other brand take advantage of the drawer depth and I’m not sure why!

8.       A mobile drawer unit or small dresser to tuck in a nook or in a closet will hold all those socks and undies nicely.  If you dresserthink you will use this for several years during dorm or apartment life, it would be a wise investment to get something sturdier than the all-plastic units they sell at places like Walmart and Target.  Check out these from IKEA priced from $79.99-$169.99.

9.     Use binders to organize your notes and syllabuses. One binder with tabs for each class may work or use separate binders for classes with a lot of paperwork.

10.    Use a smartphone to organize your time.  Most people only scratch the surface of the capability these phones have to help us with our busy lives!  (Really, these phones are for more than just games!)  You can use the calendar function to note appointments, tests, and schedule in time for studying.  Get a task application, such as Epic Win, to manage your to-do list.  I really love Outlook for these functions and most phones can sync with Outlook so you’ll have all your information mobile with you at all times.  Be sure to sync/back up your phones somewhere so you won’t be caught without your information if you lose your phone.

What cool organizational tools are you using at college?  What did you send your son or daughter off to school with that is a great organizational tool?  Do you think your kids are ready to organize their own lives while at school?