Is tidying up your room a horrifying activity for you? Wonder what are the best practices in moving hall without breaking an arm? Staying in hall away from parents is an exciting and refreshing experience for most of you, but it comes with a price of having to manage one. Having to study, socialize and manage your hostel room all at the same time is no mean feat. Here are 10 tips to ensure that you never have to live in a ghetto again.
When tidying up…
1. Buy Smartly
Remember that less is more – having less clutter in your room would mean more comfortable space for yourself and any visitors who would be dropping by for a chat. Always think twice before you introduce another companion to your existing inventory in your room. A rule of thumb would be to consider if a purchase:
• would fulfill your NEEDs or your WANTs
• how FREQUENTLY would you use the item
• is there any possibility to share or even loan it instead of buying. e.g. borrowing printers or vacuum cleaner etc.
Ideally, you want to buy something that you need, will use frequently and won’t be able to borrow from your neighbors. Impulse buying can be avoided by thinking through the above factors before making the purchase.
Some other buying tips include:
• Buy light colored curtains, bedsheet and blanket to make the room look cleaner and brighter.
• Buy inexpensive furniture at IKEA, daily necessities at Daiso or every other things at Qoo10.
• Consider getting 2nd hand items, especially for expensive electronic products and kitchenwares! \
The only thing you need to be ruthless about in university is in disposing things that you don’t need. The biggest factor that causes a hostel room to be turned into a 2nd hand goods store lookalike is the making of this wrong assumption: This item might come in handy someday… KEEP IT FIRST!
DS advice: During your regular cleaning, make realistic checks on whether you still need a particular item in the foreseeable future. For instance, while we think textbooks from past semesters might be useful reference in future, more likely than not they would be sitting on the shelves for a indefinite period of time. Consider giving them away, selling them or even recycling—You can easily find referencing material from the nearest library if you will ever need it.
Not sure if this item should be thrown ? Follow this rule of thumb:
Everytime when you are cleaning, ask yourself if this item was used at least ONCE in the past ONE semester or ONE year. If not, then it WONT be used again. THROW IT!
Hall auntie will appreciate if you ask for their opinions when it comes to disposing items, they are experts in getting rid of bulky stuff.
3. The power of storage boxes
Big plastic storage boxes are good for categorizing items & keeping the room neat. Choose those with wheels. You can find them in Fairprice, IKEA or Daiso.
Dump your past year textbooks and notes (if you think you need to refer in future), spare bags, extra clothes into the storage boxes. It makes them disappear from your sight, giving you a peace of mind. It works like magic. Remember to label it nicely!
Tip: You can grab a small paper box from your school’s library to hold all your notes and/or small items. Its free! And its environmentally friendly!
4. Music makes the world go round
Listening to your favorite music while tidying up your room will make the task significantly more enjoyable. Better still, arrange a time to do it with your room mate and you can have a mini karaoke cum cleaning session together ! Isn’t it a great way to take your minds off the books for a moment and de-stress?
5. Exploring unchartered territory
You don’t always have to use space that is only immediately obvious or accessible for keeping your stuff. Consider some of these underutilized areas to save space:
• Below your bed
• On top of cabinet
• Under the table
Keep your luggage, storage boxes & less frequently-used items such as sports equipment, running shoes in these pockets of spaces. But dun neglect the hygiene! Hygiene is more important than aesthetics. A dusty room will produce a sick student.
DS Tip: If you want to keep your stuff below your bed, you had better tie the boxes with a rope or string. Pushing in is very easy, but pulling out may make you go crazy! Try it if you don’t believe :p
6. Be consistent
Small efforts over a regular basis will avert a mammoth& horrifying ask in time to come. Do these tiny things every week, they don’t take up much time but can potentially save you a lot of time:
• Always put things back when you took them
• Clean your room weekly
• Place rubbish at their rightful home: rubbish bin, not the floor
When moving to another hall…
7. This is when your big storage box comes in handy again. It saves you the number of trips you need to move everything to another hostel room. Rule of thumb: Keep everything within 2 big storage boxes + 1 big luggage. Anything beyond that tells you that it is time to go back to tip#2-throw!
8. Enlist the help of your friends in hall/(now you know why we asked you to go for hall camp). Book your friends well in advance so that everything can be done within a day. Remember to do a count of all your boxes when you are in the new hall. Finally, at the end of the day, buy your friends a nice dinner. Do also return the favor by giving a hand in their moving too.
9. You will need many equipment when you are doing your moving but that doesn’t mean that you have to burn a hole in your pocket. Borrow a trolley, broom, mop or vacuum machine from your friends, canteen uncle, cleaner auntie or JCRC fellows. Sometimes a roller chair does the trick as a trolley too! Some important lessons you’d learn in community living – be nice, be nice and be nice!
10. Hiring a mover would be the last resort – only if you have exceptionally bulky/heavy items or spare cash.
DS Tip: You can even seek the help of the foreign worker/lorry driver who hangs out frequently around your hall doing construction work. They are willing to earn extra pocket money! A senior has paid them for SGD 20-30 for one-way moving, email DS if you need the number.
Do not change the hall, not even the room. Find “useful” roommates to bump up your points to secure the same hall or even same room to avoid the trouble of moving your stuff over long distances. During holiday, some hall offices will allow student to deposit ONE luggage in their storage room. An alternative would be to rent a space from space renting provider together with your friends during the holidays.
A clean and tidy hostel room is also a conducive studying zone and a lovely resting environment, so it definitely pays to invest the effort into keeping things in order by using the 10 tips above. However it is never a lone effort. When engaging in communal living, always bear in mind that your neighbors are always very willing to help, you only need to ask them. This classic phrase holds: Ask and it shall be given to you. Likewise, please share any tips and suggestions you have to the DS community here so that more juniors can enjoy a better hall and university life like yours!