Hi, I’m Sam/lbriscoe. I finished my undergrad studies last May, and I’m starting a master’s degree in September. For two years now, I’ve lived in a 16m² (~170 ft²) studio at my university, and it’s not easy to stay organised in such a small space so here are my tips (accumulated through four years of university, and three different types of accommodation).
- If like me your place is already furnished, you can work around that. First, if possible, move your furniture around! The arrangement your place offers is either done by your landlord, or the person who rented the place before you. These settings won’t obviously fit to your lifestyle. If you’re ready to go all the way, grab a measuring tape and go to work. The moving will be easier if you already have a plan you can rely on, so you won’t have bad surprise like a piece of furniture not fitting where you planned on having it.
- If you only have one surface to eat/work/etc… try leaving enough room for two chairs around it. It is always useful, to either have someone over, or to simply not always sit at the same spot (I’ll go back to this later on).
- Non-retractable bed? Turn it into a sofa! Try placing the long side against a wall, and get some cushions or pillows to place against the said wall. It’ll feel less like you’re lounging on your bed during the day. Also, if you have someone over, they will less likely fee like they’re standing in your bedroom, or sitting on your bed.
- If you have to furnish your own small place – for university of not: get thinking now. Folding table? Sofa-bed? Loft bed? All these sound really attractive when you think about them. But, pause. Do you see yourself folding that table every day (several times a day)? Do you see yourself folding that sofa bed? (Which will not be as comfortable as a real bed, except if you actually pay the price for it.) Do you see yourself in a loft bed? Not really practical for making your bed, and looks kind of imposing nonetheless. Now, it all depends on your needs and what you want, but before buying any piece of furniture, think well about it. Also, think of your place as a whole. Kitchen, bedroom, study, living room – everything will be mashed together, and it is always nicer when everything fits together.
You only have one surface to work on, or eat on? Get organised!
- Don’t overcrowd it! And don’t leave it bare, neither. Getting your supplies out every time you want to study will only work for a time. Only keep what’s necessary/daily used. Your pens and highlighters, for instance, can remain there in pen cups – tidy and practical. You want an easy access to, say, your bullet journal, agenda, or on the paper you’re working on? Get one or two magazine files. It will look less messy if your stuff are in ‘boxes’, and they’ll still be easily accessible. Store the rest, you don’t need it so close to you.
- Get enough room for two chairs if possible. First for what I said before (having people over), but also for yourself. Being at the same table every day for everything will get boring easily, and it is not good for your diet neither. Studies show that the feeling of repletion is less likely to be felt when the person does something else while eating. Use one chair/one side for studies, chilling on your laptop – everything! – and use the other for your meals. It will also feel good, when you’re studying all day, to change spots sometimes. It’s silly, but having a different 'view’ feels nice.
- Lighting. Your room is bright during the day? First, you’re lucky. Second, what is it like during nighttime? You’ll most likely have a not really bright ceiling light. Getting a desk lamp is not a surprising tip, but get a big one! Because you have to keep in mind your brain focuses more with light, and not only with a small spot lit. Plus, you’ll certainly move to your new place by the end of the summer, or beginning of autumn, so the days are still pretty long. But think of the winter days approaching fast. You’ll need all the light possible to not feel like it’s midnight when you’re barely back from class. Also, you might as well kill two birds with one stone depending on your settings and have only one added lamp for both your work place and as your bedside lamp.
That’s all for today, but I will gladly share more tips about living alone, living in such an accommodation, and maybe smaller ones (I experienced the 8-person flat with private bedroom/bathroom in the UK last year).
Thanks for reading, xx