Inside Emerson’s New Dorm Building

This past year, there’s been plenty of talk about the construction happening on Emerson’s Boylston Street campus. From the building of a new dining hall to Little Building being closed for renovations starting this May, to a new dorm building with its entrance in the Boylston Place alleyway—change is definitely coming to Emerson. But, how much do Emerson’s students actually know about these construction projects? Particularly, how much do students know about this new dorm building? Many students will call 2 Boylston Place their home come next semester, and yet they might not know much about what the Boylston Place dorm will really be like.

As a student who is now a junior, even I’m a bit confused about just what is happening with this new dorm building, regardless if I might not have the opportunity to live there. Still, I’ve been watching this construction happen since I started at Emerson. The sounds of drilling and workers shouting over the noise of their equipment have become all too familiar to my peers and me.

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Make the Most of Your Small Space in Three Easy Steps

Moving into college, especially for the first time, is exciting. Squeezing all of your belongings into a tiny room you share with someone else is not. Even if you’ve graduated from a dorm, chances are your apartment may not be that big either. If you’re not sure how you could possibly fit everything into such a small space and make it look good, read on for some tips.

Don’t bring too much. There are huge lists of things colleges suggest you bring when moving in, but you may not need everything. If you’re staying in a dorm, don’t waste too much space on kitchenware, because you’ll rarely use it. But if you’re living in a suite or apartment with a full kitchen you might need most of it. Having an iron and ironing board on hand seems useful, but if you’ve never ironed your clothes at home, don’t bother bringing one to college, because you’ll probably be even less likely to use it there. I think I used my iron twice the entire year I lived there.

Talk with your roommates and coordinate who’s bringing the big stuff. If you want coffee pots, hot plates, kuriegs, microwaves or fridges, you’ll only have room for one of each. Keep in mind that you might not even have enough space for all of these and/or most colleges may not allow things like hot plates.

Another thing people (myself included) over pack is clothing and shoes. Especially in triples or quads, you just won’t have the space you want to store everything. Seriously think about how often you’ll wear the clothes you bring, especially if you’re a sweats/yoga pants type of person. Those nice outfits are great for going out, but you probably won’t wear them to your 8 a.m.

Get creative with storage. Since there is so little space, you may need to think of some out-of-the-box ideas. First of all, don’t buy anything until you know what the room looks like. In-person tours are of course the best option, but a virtual tour works in it’s place. Especially if you’re flying, you don’t want to lug things that won’t fit.

Under bed storage is one of the most commonly used storage spots. Many dorm beds can be raised quite high, and if you have bed risers that’s even better. I knew a couple people whose bed were raised four or five feet off the ground, and they used a stool to get into it. That may be undesirable for some, but unless it’s a bunk bed, try to raise the bed enough to fit a bin underneath. I stored my shoes, towels and sweatshirts in bins under my bed and it worked out great.

Most dorms have some kind of closet or wardrobe. Storing vertically increases the amount of things you can put in your wardrobe. There are hangers that store a bunch of clothes, bras, shoes and more down in a line, so one closet spot hangs six shirts instead of one. Put some hooks on the outside for your coats and your robe. Cut a door shoe hanger to the size of your wardrobe door to store shoes, hair products or other small things, like packaged food items. Plastic jewelry and accessory holders are also great for keeping your things organized and easy to find without taking up a lot of space. You should also utilize the space on the floor of the closet or the bottom of the wardrobe. Crates or smaller fabric cubes are great for keeping things like first aid supplies, shoes, kitchen supplies and food if it’s a dorm, laundry supplies and other miscellaneous objects.

Dorms also have a set a drawers. I know folding is no fun, but if you have a lot of clothing, it’s the only way everything is going to fit. For clothing that won’t get wrinkled, such as t-shirts and tanks, rolling them up or folding them small and storing them upright are often space savers.

Drawers make it easy to keep your desk organized. If your desk doesn’t have drawers, you should get something small enough to fit underneath it. Chances are your desk will also be a part-time kitchen table and stylist chair. Small containers could also be useful to keep pencils in drawers and other items on top of the desk.

Don’t ignore the walls! Adhesive strips and hooks may be your best friend, because they are great for more than just posters and decorations. Put up adhesive hooks to hang anything from coats and robes to storage containers. Using something light with a lot of shelves or pockets, such as a hanging shower caddy, can make makeup, beauty products or school supplies easy to reach.

Try these design hacks. There are lots of easy design tricks to make the room look bigger. Many dorms and apartments have white walls, which naturally makes rooms appear more spacious. Keeping a color scheme also creates a sense of unity in the room. Try picking one or two main colors and using different shades and patterns with those colors in them. Stripes are a good choice because they give an appearance of a longer room.

If possible, pull large furniture away from the walls of your apartment to create an illusion of space everywhere, even if it’s only a few inches. You could also try double-duty furniture. Use an ottoman or bench seat with inside storage or a desk that also works as a coffee table. If that doesn’t work for you, there are small fold-up table and chairs that don’t use a lot of space when you’re not using them.

One of your first college freedoms is picking supplies and designing your room (or your side of the room), which is something many college students might not have been able to do before. Even though the shopping, packing and moving can be a stressful experience, remember that it’s also really fun, too.

College Cleaning Hacks!

Spring is finally here and with the tepid weather and snowless streets comes spring cleaning. Most college students can attest to the fact that dorms can become very unclean very fast. In suites where students are responsible for cleaning their own bathroom and common areas, a strong cleaning routine is essential. Living in a dorm for the past two years I have picked up a few cleaning hacks that help keep my suite in order. For me, it’s key that my cleaning routine is simple, quick and inexpensive.

Before you get started make sure to stock up on all the essentials! There are some basic cleaning supplies that every college student should have on hand at all times in order to avoid turning their room into a disaster area. Here are some key cleaning supplies that every college student have on hand are worth the splurge:

  • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Soap
  • Sponges
  • Paper towels

Now that you know what supplies you need, let’s get to the hacks! 

Sanitary Showers:

Many college students simply forget to clean their showers because they forget they are not self-cleaning. While that would be wonderful, most students know first hand that showers can get pretty grimy very fast. If brand name store shower cleaners aren’t in your student budget, here’s a simple way to make your own:

Just mix a teaspoon of liquid soap, a bit of antibacterial oils (hand sanitizer also works) and baking soda into a paste. Then use it to wipe away the grim. I always try to clean my shower either weekly or bi-weekly in order to any avoid nasty build-up.

Computer Keyboards:

Your laptop keyboard is probably one the dirtiest surfaces in your dorm room so it’s important to take the time to keep it clean. By using rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab, you can clean the germs and dust from in between the keys. Condensed air is also useful for getting rid of dust in the smallest of cracks. And if you don’t have either of those on hand, pencil erasers can come in handy for getting the dirt off of keyboards, as well.

Even dirtier than your personal computer are public computers so make sure when using your school’s computer labs to use hand sanitizer before and after.

Messy Microwaves:

The microwave is one of the dreaded areas to clean in my suite, mainly because it gets very dirty. To get rid of microwave build up in only a couple of minutes, simply fill a cup with water and add a couple of lemon slices. (You can easily find these in a college dining hall for free.) Then, heat the water until it boils and let the steam soak into the microwave for around one minute. Now the grim can easily be wiped away with a sponge or a disinfectant wipe.

Coffee Stains:

We have all been there, drinking coffee early in the morning or late at night on-the-go or even in bed. Unfortunately, coffee on-the-go or in bed can lead to spillage, and after dealing with the pain of spilling hot liquid on yourself, you’re going to have a stain to deal with. The best way to get coffee out of clothes is to pre-treat it with baking soda before throwing the item in the wash. For pillows and couch cushions that you can’t throw in the wash, let baking soda soak on the stain for a few hours before wiping it off with a paper towel.

Now that you have some easy cleaning remedies for your dorms, you will probably want to include your roommates in your cleaning routine. Remember when living with roommates that it’s important to share the cleaning costs and duties so it doesn’t fall upon one person. If sharing the cost of cleaning supplies becomes a sensitive issue, you can set-up a communal jar where everyone can put their change or a couple of dollars each week and the funds raised can contribute towards the communal suite supplies.

While a lot of roommates decide to create chore charts in order to share the responsibility, I have found they end up being more passive aggressive than productive. Instead, everyone should simply make a conscious effort to maintain a clean living environment and by incorporating these cleaning hacks into your routine, you will be able to achieve just that. As a result, it should also help you and your roommates feel more relaxed and refreshed for the spring season.