College life often means you’ll be living in dorm, a small apartment or home by yourself, or sharing a larger space with roommates. Regardless, you’ll likely have to live in a small space – a challenge when you’re collecting more and more textbooks and belongings each year.

Whether you have a tiny house to yourself or just a bedroom and shared living space, small-space living can be a rewarding experience if you go about it the right way. Here are some tips to help you live well and stay sane in your small space:

Use furniture that doubles as storage

Storage ottomans are great for bedrooms and living rooms. They can hold movies, books, blankets, shoes, and more. They also provide an extra seating space or a place to rest your feet.

Hanging mirrors that double as jewelry storage keep your belongings safe and tidy and provide a convenient space to get ready.

Dressers are great for spaces other than the bedroom. They can be used as a TV stand and also store movies, video games, and electronics. They can be used in a dining room as a buffet table that also serves as a place to store dishes. They are also great for entryways to serve as a place to drop keys and mail.

Maximize space

Put a double-hanging rod in your closet to double your closet space. Put stackable shelves in your kitchen and bathroom cabinets to double this space as well. Take advantage of wall space by installing shelves (check with your landlord first to ensure this is allowed). Use a drop-leaf table for a tight dining area. Pack your off-season clothing in plastic bins that fit under the bed.

Use mirrors and see-through furniture to make space seem larger

Mirrors are a great way to reflect light and make a room seem larger. See-through furniture like glass tables, wire chairs, or lucite coffee tables help keep a room feeling lighter and less cluttered.

Keep clutter at bay

The best way to keep a small space tidy is to manage what comes into your space. Throw out junk mail immediately to keep it from piling up on the kitchen counter. Evaluate whether you really need that pair of shoes and if you have the space to store them. Go through your belongings regularly to see what you no longer need and can donate.

Living in your apartment can be an enjoyable experience if you plan your space well. Use these tips to make a plan so you’ll be prepared when purchasing items and arranging your belongings. And most importantly, have fun and be creative!

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