Undergraduate Programs

Residence Hall Living Hacks

A women sitting behind a laptop screen with a Clarkson white tumbler in the foreground

Hello Clarkson students! Welcome to your first year as a Golden Knight! The Residence Life Office is excited to share with you some tips, tricks and hacks that we have learned from our students to make your on-campus living experience more personal.

Living on campus has many benefits, including easy access to resources and events. We want you to enjoy returning back to your room after a long day. Here are some ideas to make your residential space feel like your home away from home.

Tip 1: Connect and Coordinate with Your Future Roommate

Two women siting on the ends of each bed that face the center.

After July 15, you will be able to see on PeopleSoft who your new first-year rooming buddy will be! Although there is no contact information listed, feel free to try to find them via the Clarkson Class Instagram group or email them through your Clarkson email! The two of you can figure out who is bringing what items, or whether you want to have a fun room theme. Getting to know your roommate ahead of time will be helpful in learning how best to live and share a space with someone you don’t know. Setting ground rules and learning about each others’ likes, dislikes and habits will help to make your second home a more pleasurable place to reside. Upon arrival, your Resident Advisor (RA) will also be able to provide you with a roommate agreement and the Roommate Bill of Rights to help set living guidelines that work for you both.  Please note if you do not have a roommate listed you can receive one at any time with little or not notice. 

Tip 2: Bargain Hunting

Just because you are starting out fresh in a new place doesn’t mean you necessarily have to pay new-item prices. Look online for coupons to some of your favorite stores and keep an eye out for sales. Adventure to secondhand or antique shops to find discounted and gently-used items.

A gold geometric picture, A gradient painting, a geometric heart, A knit wall art
Courtesy of YouTube user Istiana Bestar

Check with family members or friends for any items they may be willing to give up or let you borrow during your college experience. DIY projects can be fun to do and are also a cheaper way to creatively decorate your space. College can be expensive, but decorating doesn’t have to be.  

There are many thrift stores in the Potsdam and Canton areas. Treasures Cove, in downtown Potsdam, has a lot to choose from. There are old china dishes that would make cute decorations — or storage for pencils or makeup brushes — and vintage stereos and cassette players. Best Friends Thrift Shop helps out the Potsdam Humane Society through sales of donated household items and is run by volunteers. You’ll find everything from candles and fake floral arrangements to board games and Halloween/fall decorations, as well as tons of glasses, mugs and other items you can use for storing pens, pencils and makeup or paintbrushes.

Not only can you find all of this at bargain prices — but your money also goes to a good cause! There are multiple other places you can find in the North Country area which can provide you with a variety of options once you arrive. 

Tip 3: Meal Prepping and Planning 

While on-campus food can be yummy, cooking in your microwave can be a delicious and creative dining experience, requiring only a mug, a few ingredients and an appetite.  Here are some easy, somewhat healthy, affordable and tasty recipes!

Apartment style housing includes personal kitchens for the occupants. Meal planning and prepping around your student lifestyle is important now that your life is managed by you, and here are some recipes, tips and tricks to think about:

9 Meal Prepping Tips for College Students

31 Foods You Should Learn to Make in College

How to Cook in College When You Actually Have a Kitchen

Tip 4: Tools for Decorating

To make the space yours (and your roommate’s), think about adding a rug for style and comfort, as well as to keep your feet warm in the winter months.

Reorganizing furniture can help to save space and make use of items in new ways. For example, place the desktop bookshelf under your bed to serve as an extra storage unit for easily accessible items, such as snacks.

You (and your roommate) are responsible for the condition of your room when you leave. If you are hanging things on the wall, be sure to carefully remove whatever you used to apply your decorations. Materials like grey wall putty, masking tape and Command strips can be great for putting items up on walls, but removing them can sometimes cause damage if not done properly.

To avoid charges for damage, read directions and ask for help from your RA or floormates or from Facilities. 

Need inspiration? Check out our Pinterest board full of ideas!

Tip 5: Desk Organization Hacks

Because of the limited space in dorm rooms, many students use their desks for multiple purposes. Sometimes it’s a makeup vanity; at other times it’s where you do your homework or eat your dinner. Whatever you use your desk for, we’ve got tips to help you stay organized, save room and keep that area tidy and clean for everyday use!

A desk with compartments that include office supplies of tape, penciles,scisors

First, desk drawer organizers are amazing, even if you don’t have a lot of stuff. You can buy one with separate compartments for pencils and paper clips, or anything else you want to use it for. You can also buy organizers that snap or stack together to create custom designs!

You also have the option to keep pens and pencils, or makeup brushes, on top of your desk. Organize them in old glasses with cool designs or use mason jars! Add some marbles at the bottom to keep things from getting too tangled up, and you’ve got a new desktop organizer! 

If you own a lot of makeup and don’t want to drag it back and forth from the bathrooms, keep reading! First of all, invest in a foldable, lighted vanity mirror (you can find them for a good price on various online stores). Next, this rotating makeup organizer has room to keep all of your makeup, jewelry and brushes in one place, without taking up a lot of room!

Finally, a desktop calendar is another great way to organize the top of your desk. There are plenty of options to choose from at a variety of stores. These calendars are pretty big and take up a good portion of the top of your desk, but you can also put items on top of it! You can you get these in a variety of designs and colors, and it’s so helpful to see what you need to do for that month/week/day right there on your desk! And to make sure that your notebooks and textbooks aren’t always covering your desk, we recommend a file/mail organizer to keep all your notes together and out of the way!

Tip 6: Space Savers

A image of the closet with one side having a bunch of clothes evenly spaced and filling the entire closet. With the Text VS and then on the other side of the image showing a double hanging system that allows for the clothing to hang vertically
A shoe organizer with different candy’s hanging over a white door

Space in a residential dorm room is limited. Being creative with your space can make the room feel bigger. Abiding by the Fire Safety Checklist will ensure your safety. Raising your bed, on the provided bed frame or by purchasing (or borrowing!) bed risers, will provide some additional storage space. Shoe holders, hanging on the back of your door or in your closet, can be used to store items, such as snacks, jewelry, bathroom essentials or even shoes! To save closet space, consider doubling up your clothing on hangers or hooking hangers together to create more room on the closet rod. 

Tip 7: Use our MicroFridge Rental Program

Don’t want the hassle of carrying in and out a microwave and a fridge? MicroFridge Rentals can be rented for the semester or academic year; one unit MicroFridge is permitted per student. The units will be delivered and picked up for your room before the start of the semester and at the end of the semester by the MicroFridge team, no heavy lifting by you! Check out this video. The MicroFridge Combination unit is a 3.1 cubic feet fridge & freezer with two full-width shelves, two door racks with 12 oz can storage, and a temperature control Interior light. The freezer is 15” wide X 14.5” deep X 7” high. The separate zero-degree frost-free freezer provides long-term frozen food storage with a full-width door shelf. The microwave is 700 watts and provides superior cooking 2-USB ports & outlet for charging small electronics. It has 3 cooking levels – high, medium, and defrost with 1st Defense Smoke Sensor Electronic touchpad controls, LED display, and a clock Turntable system that provides even cooking.

We hope these tips help to make your first-year living in a residence hall more enjoyable. Welcome to the Golden Knight Family! Visit https://www.clarkson.edu/residence-life for more information.

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  1. Thanks for the information, that helps a lot! What I am looking for are pics of the bed without stuff or the dimensions under the bed at the low and high heights without risers or is it one set height.

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