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Clear the Clutter! 5 DIY Crafts to Organize (and Personalize) Your Dorm Room

Clear the Clutter! 5 DIY Crafts to Organize (and Personalize) Your Dorm Room

Making the move into a college dorm room is all about consolidating and saving space. When you find yourself sharing a tiny area with other students, things can easily become messy and disorganized. Here are some stylish DIY tips for organizing your dorm room, so you can start the school year off right.

1. Dry Erase Control Center

Dry Erase Control Center

Repurpose an old picture frame into a dry erase wall calendar so you and your roommates are always aware of pending expenses, chores, and when you're having guests over. Create a blank template using your favorite word processor, graphics program, or download a free one online. Use your PIXMA printer to print the template on a piece of paper large enough to fit the frame of your choice, then hang and start writing! Dry erase markers will wipe right off, and the glass won't stain, even after repeated use. For the most cohesive design, keep the calendar black and white or use colors that incorporate all roommates' decor themes. And be sure to include a variety of colorful dry erase markers so that you and your roomies can color-code your own schedules and chores.

2. Tin Can Caddy

Tin Can Caddy

Staying clean and organized in your dorm room is a lot easier when your go-to supplies are within reach. Create a home for all your pens, pencils and brushes using a giant coffee can and a few smaller soup cans. Strip the labels from the cans and measure their circumferences, then design and print your favorite photos to those dimensions. Canon Photo Paper, which is thinner than photo paper but packs the same photo-quality punch. Secure the prints to the cans with spray adhesive or glue and let dry. Arrange the small cans around the larger one, seam side in, first marking the insides of the cans with a permanent marker and then using a nail and hammer to punch holes close to the top rims. Finish it off by threading a bit of wire or ribbon through each of the holes to secure the small cans onto the large one.

3. Magazine Racks

Magazine Racks

If nothing else, you will spend four years of college collecting a ton of notebooks, forms, booklets and other paper clutter. To keep it all organized - and to prevent overwhelming your already-cramped dorm room - create a collection of magazine holders out of old cereal boxes and fun prints. Begin by reinforcing the box's bottom with some packing or duct tape, then cut a diagonal line across the box (from one side panel to the other) to create the opening. On the outside of your holder, glue wrapping paper, printed photos, or even a printout of a funky pattern you found online. Create a few so you have plenty of storage space, and once they're dry, load them up and store on a bookshelf.

4. Desk Organizer

Desk Organizer

Repurpose an old shoe box cover, some food boxes, and a couple of paper towel or toilet paper rolls into a handy desk organizer that'll help you tackle the night's homework. Lay the shoe box cover top down, and arrange some of your boxes and paper rolls within it, just to get an idea of your layout options. Once you're happy with the design, trim each box and roll to varying heights, taking care to leave some taller than others to allow for large items like scissors and rulers. Using your PIXMA printer, print several sheets of your favorite patterns or tiled photos onto high resolution paper, then secure the prints to the cardboard with spray adhesive or glue. Once everything is thoroughly dry, arrange all of the pieces in the shoe box cover once again and glue into place. Let your new organizer dry overnight before you start loading it up with office supplies.

5. Custom Ring Dishes

Custom Ring Dishes

In the quest for better organization, don't forget about your littlest trinkets - rings and other jewelry - which often get removed (and lost) when it's time to get your hands dirty. A few custom ring dishes placed strategically around your dorm room give your accessories a safe parking spot while you're not wearing them.

Choose a few photos, resize them to fit the area of an old appetizer dish or tea saucer, and print them on waterslide decal paper using your PIXMA printer. Submerge the print-out in water until it's separated from the paper backing, then brush the dish with turpentine and place the decal on top. Once it's dry, seal the plate with a coat of clear sealant.

An organized dorm room doesn't have to be difficult or take a long time to create, and it definitely doesn't have to be expensive. Most of the ideas here require minimal cost and will take you less than an hour to complete. All it takes is a little imagination and creativity to take your college living space from cramped and cluttered to organized and chic.

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