After unpacking her 5 average-sized suitcases, she was feeling overwhelmed bc there was too much stuff and nowhere to house her belongings. See for yourself...
The wardrobe space wasn't as small as I expected but the open vertical space (on right) was a bit awkward bc we didn't have stacking drawers inside, leaving most of it unused. And I was so proud of Steph for only bringing her winter necessities. I think she left about 80% of her actual wardrobe at home, which is saying a lot for a fashion student!
After just two days of keeping my eyes open on a few shopping trips, I was happy with all the supplies I was able to scavenge in the city.
I found a couple cute storage totes at a nearby discount store for $5 apiece (I snatched up 4). The red one on her desk holds stationery supplies (writing paper, envelopes, paper clips, glue stick, scotch tape, etc). I wanted to free up her drawer space for her school work, important docs and books once classes began. And having the supplies out in the open make them more readily accessible. My very favorite find of my entire trip is strangely enough (or not so strange if you know me) these clear juice glasses that I looked for EVERYWHERE. Steph had previously stored all her writing utensils in two zippered pouches. Every time she needed to write, she had to open a drawer, unzip the pouches, and then dig around. Luckily, a friend and I were wandering around Dean & Deluca in SoHo when we spotted these! For $2.50 a glass, these were quite a steal. I purchased 2 for her desk and 2 more for her makeup brushes. And another smaller one to hold her toothbrush for the bathroom medicine cabinet instead of having it lay out on the sink, a public space.
There was only one mirror in the bathroom for 3 girls so I was so happy when we found a simple over-the-door mirror that required no mounting. Steph could do her makeup here in the mornings and also check out her entire outfit from head to toe. The two grey totes hold her 1) makeup 2) medication, first aid supplies, perfume, nail polish. Both are labeled with a a little sticky in the shape of a pencil she had laying around. To maximize unused vertical space in the right side of the wardrobe, I pre-measured the dimensions before going shopping. Fortunately, I found storage boxes that fit exactly. Unfortunately, they only came in bright neon colors so I went with the least offensive one: neon pink. They hold extra toiletries and cosmetics that couldn't fit in the tiny bathroom (both are labeled in a clear window). I could have easily fit 3 boxes, but the height would make it difficult to reach her small collection of handbags (relative to her entire collection at home) that lay atop for quick access and display. We didn't buy matching hangers bc Steph found free (non-matching) ones in the RA's lounge. So they'll do for now, esp since she'll only be in this room until summertime.
Luckily, the bed was elevated high enough to create lots of under-bed storage. We nestled her suitcases and placed them in a corner. Extra drinking water, her shoe collection and a small laundry hamper all fit nicely without taking up extra space. Sure, I could have purchased shoe organizers that I saw at more than one discount store. They may look nice, but I think ultimately unnecessary and impractical for winter boots.
Here's another look of the before and after. Night and day, right :)?
This was such a fun challenge for me. Small spaces just require a little bit of creativity bc what seems like unusable space is really valuable real estate.
Total cost of organizing: approx $60 and 2 hrs.