Top Ten Best Dorm Laundry Must-Haves
July 18, 2017
Dorm Laundry Essentials to Help Keep your Life Together in the New School Year
The transition from home to dorm can be stressful in so many ways. At home, you have easy access to laundry, kitchen, and all of the usual comforts. But in school, it’s kind of like you are camping in a room, with all of your essential life activities taking place some place else – cafeteria downstairs or in another building, laundry downstairs (or at home on weekends), bathroom (at worst – down the hall), or slightly better, in your room, but shared with three other people you may or may not know. All of your routines get turned upside down when you go to college, but you can reduce your stress by showing up for school prepared. We are featuring several blog posts to prepare you for school, so be sure to check back weekly for great new ideas that will get you ready and manage your transition stress.
Clothes make the man – and the woman, and are essential to making an impression during school and for play. When you get to campus though, keeping them clean, stored and presentable becomes an instant hassle. Moving to the dorms will make you realize just how much you took your home life for granted. To help you deal, here are 10 dorm laundry products, our best, to make washing, lugging and pressing your laundry easier and keep you looking your best.
Over-Door Garment Drying Rack
When you’re in a hurry and can’t finish the dry cycle, or just when you need to hand wash some underwear or stockings (or that garment that missed the wash cycle), this over-door drying rack is a lifesaver. Just hang it over the door overnight and you’ll have dry, ready-to-go clothes the next day. Four 20-inch rungs give you plenty of room for hanging and it costs only $14.99.
Laundry Sorter and Bag
Laundry baskets are sturdy and great, but for dorms, laundry bags might be better. This one is lightweight and has three sorting compartments to keep your laundry organized. Plus it sports a carrying handle and is made of see-through mesh for easy identification of your dirty (or clean) stuff. Whether you are taking laundry home, to the dorm laundromat, or a commercial space, this is a great do-all bag – plus it comes in blue ($9.99) or white ($8.99) varieties.
Small Laundry Sorter/Mesh Wash Bag
Don’t you hate it when your fishnets get snagged or your dress socks get hung up on your jeans zipper? Solution: a little, inexpensive, gem-of-a-laundry sorter. It’s perfect for separating underwear and socks – plus you can throw it in the washing machine as a protective wash bag, which eliminates snagging and “intra-washing” mishaps. It’s only sixteen inches long, has four compartments, is made of lightweight mesh, and costs only $3.99.
For long, cross-campus laundry hauls, this laundry bag really fits the bill. Throw it over your shoulder with the included strap and toss it in the machine for easy washing when it’s dirty. It’s made of durable, reinforced nylon and the manufacturer offers a limited lifetime warranty. It’s 33 inches high and costs only $16.99.
Over-Door Ironing Board
Few dorms come with room for an ironing board. Over-door ironing board to the rescue. It comes with a pad and folds up and out of your way when you’re not using it. Plus it comes with a wire holder for your iron. Just let it cool and hook it over the prongs. It works on standard 1-3/8-inch or 1/3/4-inch thick doors and requires no extra hardware. Cost (on sale): $38.99. Ironing not a priority? Consider these: interviews and special dates – or any time you might want to impress someone. It happens.
No free door for the ironing board? No problem. Just buy this ironing mat and use it on your desk, table or counter. It has thick padding to discourage mishaps, is 19.5 x 28 inches, and has a built-in silicone iron holder. It folds up for easy storage and costs only $12.99.
If you work in college or dress up, you’re going to want an iron. Rowenta’s Eco-Intelligence Iron is smartly designed to save energy by up to 25 percent, so makes a great green gift for your tree-hugging loved one (even if it’s a gift you buy yourself). It has a patented steam and anti-drip system and one of the coolest designs on the market. There’s no reason an iron can’t be pretty and industrial designs can be sublime too. It’s on sale at the time of this writing for $115.99.
Rowenta Hand Steamer
For low-maintenance, casual, t-shirt wearing students, you might be able to bypass the iron and all of it’s apparatus and use an inexpensive hand steamer. This uses distilled water to blast smaller wrinkles from your clothes. It has a lint and fabric brush to open weave as it steams out imperfections. It doesn’t quite do the job of an iron, and you can’t press folds into fabrics, but it’s a quick-and-dirty fix for looking presentable for the day – and requires less storage room than an ironing board and iron. I use one myself, and I seldom get out the iron. Cost: only $29.99.
Over-Door Hanger Valet
When you dry and iron your laundry, you sure don’t want it to get wrinkled. This over-door hanger is a great way to keep your clothes organized and wrinkle-free as you iron. It hangs over standard doors, is study and made from steel, holds five hangers, and extends five inches from the wall. Cost: $15.99.
With cramped closet situations, wire hangers make the best use of lateral space and are fairly inexpensive. They come in a variety of models, including multi-tiered versions, which give you space you didn’t know you had by utilizing the vertical. Tank top hangers, slack hangers, scarf and belt hangers, and even lingerie hangers are available for storing all your garments. Prices range from $3.99 to $13.99 for specialty, multi-tiered hangers. You also might enjoy the Clutter Control Freak post for more ideas on tricking out your closet on a budget (with hangers).
Whatever your dorm laundry needs for the coming fall, you’re sure to find it at Organize-It. New shoppers, be sure to sign up for our newsletter (go to main site and scroll to bottom for link) to receive a 10-percent discount on your first order. Also, you might want to sign up for our blog email list (use “subscribe” button on right of page), so you can receive notifications as we publish new articles.
Keep a laundry schedule to stay on top of things.
Sort as you soil to save work later.
Save your quarters.
Keep detergent and dryer sheets on hand.
Fold right away to minimize wrinkling and stay on top of it.
Basket or bag
Ironing board or sheet
Dryer rack for in-room use
Organizing as a Creative Act
June 27, 2017
Organizing Creatively – Transforming the Chores of Life into Joyful Activities
When contemplating the mess of papers on your desk, the pile of clothes in the corner, or your chaotic kitchen pile that just never seems to rectify itself, what are some of the impediments to organizing? Lack of time is one for me, given my long commute and well, there just never seem to be enough hours in the day. Being a human is a lot of work. Cooking, cleaning, traveling, working, and maintaining oneself in those ways we need to, just to present each day, is all a lot to manage.
The other thing is that hump one must jump to get to the start/go point. “Just do it,” doesn’t always work for me, nor does a high energy song, dancing in the living room, or the promise of something slathered in peanut butter as a post-organizing reward. I try all kinds of motivators, but there always seems to be something else getting in the way.
I’ll be honest, there’s always a juvenile and self-sabotaging little voice that says, “organizing is boring. I would rather play.” I would rather visit my friends on social media, go for a walk, talk on the phone, watch a good movie, go shopping, hang out with the neighbors, read a book, space out with a cup of coffee, or do nearly anything but clean. Also, I’m a creative person, and I really want to spend my little bit of free time on creative endeavors.
Even if you are not a creative person, maybe you can relate – especially when you spend the majority of your life at work (and I know being a homemaker is also a TON of work – often more than a full-time job). Time is precious. Life is precious. So if keeping clean and organizing can be a full-time job and you already have one, how do you manage? How do you get motivated? And how do you overcome that tantalizing and relentless little voice that keeps saying, “This is boring. Let’s play.”
But here’s the thing, ORGANIZING CAN BE A CREATIVE ACT. Yup, it’s true. And the more chaos you have, the MORE CREATIVE opportunities there are. No, I’m not pulling your leg. If you can’t make the leap from tedious tasks to creative acts, consider this: Creativity is bringing order to randomness and there is a fine line between chaos and order.
In Understanding Creativity, Jane Piirto quotes teacher Al Hurwitz on the creative process: “Art functions as an extended conversation between form and imagination.” How can this translate into organizing your home? Well, keeping a home is a continual conversation between you and your belongings about your vision of how you want your home and life to be.
Whether that conversation exists within a “Marie Kondo” construct – i.e., asking yourself if your possession “sparks joy,” or in a more complex assessment of where you are at in your life and how that relates to your belongings (read our Organizing for the Spirit Book Review), having this dialogue is integral to the creative process.
I once had a painting instructor who said she needed her studio to be a mess because it induced an agitated state that was conducive to creativity (“creating” being a way of establishing some order, if not in the room, then on a canvas). Certainly there are artists who have different working methods and standards, but there is, in fact, a strong relationship between creativity, chaos and order.
This is not to say that in order to clean and be organized, you must first create chaos. The important takeaway is that the process of organizing is akin to creating art and can be approached with a similar attitude.
So what is creativity? It’s a hard thing to nail and scientists are continually questioning the process, but one thing for certain is that it involves divergent thinking, multiple solutions, unconscious thought processes, and a unique approach to problem solving. For people who are not creative (and this is not a criticism), how-to guides may be just what you need for organizational motivation, as they give you instructions and methods of doing things. Certainly, blogs, books and Pinterests boards are great for sparking ideas for creatives and non-creatives alike.
What does creative organizing look like? Well, it could involve developing your own unique organizing methods to suit your style of dressing, crafting, cooking and so on. Does organizing with color appeal to you? You might want to check out our Psychology of Color article.
Are you handy and do you enjoy crafting? Building, repurposing and even just painting dressers, shelves and other storage systems might be a fun way to engage your inner artist. Whether you make it yourself or purchase readymade storage products such as plastic totes or freedomRail shelving or closet systems, designing your storage to fit your lifestyle is fun and potentially fulfilling and creative.
Incorporating decorating into your organizing is another way to activate your creative brain. Color, shape and texture are sure to get those synapses firing as you explore multiple possibilities for harmonizing and marking your environment.
If you have kids, approaching cleaning and organizing their toys and room from a creative standpoint is a great way to motivate them. Sure, you can establish rules and methods and locations, but if you partner with them to creatively devise personalized systems based on their own play preferences (with a little guidance, of course), it will likely engages them on a deeper level and encourage them to do it independently on an ongoing basis.
Locker organizing stands out as something kids love to do and it’s a fabulous way to express themselves and stand out from the crowd. An organized locker is conducive to good study habits and creating a “signature” locker makes the activity all the more sweet. Shelves, hanging storage and magnetic accessories are available for making standard lockers more useful, and the sky’s the limit for decking them out (think photos, collages, printed papers, fur and more). Combining the decorating and organizing tasks makes it a fun activity, and your child or teenager can enjoy all the benefits.
If you are an artistic personality, other people’s organizing solutions may not suit your need for individuality, or satisfy your desire for self expression. This is where you need to be able to tap into those creative reservoirs and apply that energy to your environment. If you find doing creative painting in the kitchen each weekend, maybe it isn’t a sin to repurpose a portion of the Hoosier cabinet to art supplies? After all, rules were meant to break and it’s your space. Really, the sky’s the limit for creative organizing when you give yourself permission.
Recently, I was struggling over pantry storage and considering buying a cabinet, as my old schoolhouse has an inadequate number of undersized cabinets. One day I realized that the built-in broom closet was underutilized, with space consumed by items I no longer use. I decided to build some inexpensive pine shelves inside of the closet and put the brooms and dusters in the stairwell on a rack. It was a little more work than the original plan, but less expensive and more aligned in character to the original kitchen cabinets, which were made of pine and built by handy nearby farmers (everyone had an extra trade in the old days of rural America).
My storage solution wasn’t a store-bought, out-of-the-box one, but rather, a creative one tailored to my own unusual space. And I’m pleased with the results, the extra room I now have on my counters – plus the kitchen still has plenty of open floor space. Creative solutions to storage may not be the most obvious, promoted or even simple ones, but they are often more fun.
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be particularly artistic, cultivating your inner child when organizing your home, work space and office makes the tasks more joyful and transforms your environments into more inviting, unique and comfortable spaces. Approaching organizing as a means to express your personality and style can be fun and motivational for both you and your family (if applicable).
Do you have a motivational trick or creative approach to organizing you’d like to share?
Book Review – Organizing for the Spirit
June 19, 2017
Organizing for the Spirit – Syncing your Belongings and Life Goals for Purposeful Living
In our quests to get organized, we find on the internet, bulleted how-to’s, lists of things to toss, and helpful blogs, books and articles with solutions to our organizing problems. While these are very useful for achieving short-term organizing goals, they sometimes don’t get at the heart of why we save things, how we store them, or how and why things might get disorganized.
Sunny Schlenger’s approach to organizing stands out in that it encourages us to introspect and examine our physical belongings and put them in an emotional and personal/historical context.
In a beautifully written book that defies genres (it’s a bit self-help, a bit of a memoir, and a bit of a how-to, only with soul-searching undertones), Sunny invites the reader to contextualize their belongings and clutter in terms of how they relate to the past, present and future.
For Sunny, respecting our attachment to things and using our revelations as a springboard for making adjustments, not just to our immediate environments, but to our lives, is what is really required to achieve lasting change.
Our surroundings often signify what is going on in our inner lives, so understanding those relationships can benefit us greatly and help us create meaningful futures that reflect our desire for happiness as well as our current life goals.
The book is a joy to read and includes interesting anecdotes and topics such as “synchronicity,” “being in the now,” “being authentic” and “having gratitude.” A delightful mixture of East and West, in its skillful blending of soul searching and practicality, Organizing for the Spirit is a short, yet rich-in-content book to read on a weekend, and you’re likely to not want to put it down.
For more information about Sunny and her history, read the Interview with an Organizer feature on the Organize-It Blog. You can purchase Organizing for the Spirit on Amazon and find out more about Sunny and Flow Coaching on her website.