Dorm Room Storage Ideas: 15+ Easy Hacks

Dorm Room Storage Ideas: 15+ Easy Hacks

Dorm Room Storage Ideas

How can you create storage in a dorm room? Here are great dorm room storage ideas that will make the space more organized and user-friendly! The great thing about a lot of these ideas is that they are either hidden or utilize space above things that you have to have such as the bed and desk.

Space in a dorm room, even some apartments, comes at a premium! You need to be super planful and intentional to create as much storage as possible! So let’s look at these ideas for maximum storage in a tiny space. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Dorm room storage ideas

We have moved two boys into dorm rooms, and both times, I remember how surprised I was by how tiny the rooms were! I cannot imagine how it would be to have a girl moving into one of those rooms because it was hard enough with boys who don’t really have a lot of “stuff”. These are ways that we created storage for them without giving up any floor space.

If your teen complains about how cramped the room is, all of these ideas could easily be implemented immediately for a little bit of relief.

Do you have any great ideas for storage? Share them in the comments for all of us because we have one more to take to college in another little while, so all tips are appreciated!

Check out these dorm room storage ideas

Dorm room under bed storage

Wide dresser -Essential for all the clothing that won’t fit into the tiny closet!

Underbed storage – This is a good option if the beds are lower.

Dorm room over bed storage 

Headboard with shelves -More logical storage that won’t take up floor space.

Over the bed shelf – And, this is a cool rolling cart that goes over the bed like a hospital tray!

Beside the bed storage 

Bedside shelf -This is great if there is no room for a bedside table. And, here is a cloth version.

Nightstand storage -Great for books, lotion, kleenex, and all the other things….

Stick on the wall caddy -Another thing that you will have to check with the dorm to see if this is allowed, but a couple of these could be really handy!

Extra storage around or in the closet

Magic hangers -These are truly magical. Wish they had been around back in my day!

Over the door shoe storage -I still use this for all of my sandals. Never enough storage for all the shoes…

Storage mirror -This is a little pricey, but it’s great storage that takes up no floor space. Check with the dorm/apartment to make sure that you will be able to hang this where your teen will be living.

Extra storage for the desk area

Over the desk shelf -This is wasted space if you don’t use it!

Desk drawer storage organizer -The space inside the desk should be organized, too.

Other bonus storage ideas

Over the fridge shelves -A fridge is almost necessary to eliminate or reduce snack runs. This will save money in the long run. So, the space above a refrigerater may as well be utilized. Typically, an over-the-toilet shelf unit will work. Or, here is an over-the-microwave shelf. And, here is a small cloth caddy for some extra organization.


Ottoman storage -Extra seat. Extra storage. If beds are on risers, this will fit under there.

 Hanging jewelry organizer -The one below locks, which would be good in a dorm room.

Dorm room storage cart! -This can hold so many things, and then be rolled out of the way when not in need.

I hope that this helps you as you try to plan out dorm room storage ideas.

Remember, that any of this storage can be added later if it gets to feeling too cramped!

Related posts:

What will your freshman NEED in the dorm?

Best workout equipment for a small space

Backpack essentials for college

Best way to decorate a dorm room for Halloween

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles!

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️

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Dorm room storage ideas



How to Plan a Budget for College-Bound Teen: 7 Tips That Will Help!

How to Plan a Budget for College-Bound Teen: 7 Tips That Will Help!

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Plan a budget for college!

We have had two sons in college, and the second time around was much easier because we knew what to expect! The biggest concern for us, and many others are all of the expenses. Here are some things that we learned the first (and second) time around, as we planned a budget for college.

Make sure that you and your senior are on the same page about all expenses.

There are the expenses that you know about. There will always also be some things that come up unexpectedly; those can be dealt with as they occur.

*This post may contain affiliate links.  My full disclosure policy is here.

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Budget for college|

Living Expenses

Living expenses are a big deal.

Where will your student live? There will be choices for housing from the actual dorms to the types of rooms. Will they have a roommate? Will you pay for the items that they decorate their room with or will they be expected to pay for some? Is there a set amount you are willing to spend for this? Another type of living expense is the meal plan.

Budget for college

Look at all of the choices and let your student know which of these is the one you are willing to pay for. There are usually tiered levels of dorms and meal plans which include different levels of amenities etc. These types of expenses can be crazy expensive even when you set limits.

My suggestion is to start with one of the least expensive, and see how that goes. If you teen needs more, you can add. But, remember that they will eat off of campus some, and probably snack in their rooms as well.

Know that the Cost of Attendance is so much more than the information below. Here is my YouTube video discussing what actual COA is for attending college, and the things to consider. Read on below for more details.

Tuition and Books

Tuition and books are the other biggie.

Tuition costs are set per hour. So, the cost is determined by the number of classes your teen takes. One option to look into is getting some of the gen. ed. classes taken care of at a local community college-these will cost so much less! Online is another option. Work with the school counselor to look into different possibilities.

Your student will need books. These can be rented or shared to save on the cost. Another way to save is to check out the library- many schools have their textbooks available there for students to use.

There are many websites that rent, including Amazon, which has worked well for both renting and purchasing for my oldest son. We sit down before each semester with both our computers open. He logs into his school bookstore, and I log into Amazon. In most cases the cheapest option is to RENT from Amazon! There are a few exceptions, but know that the return policy for Amazon is super easy and user-friendly. (All of these links to Amazon in this paragraph will take you straight to the textbook rental portal.)

Here are some books that helped us so much! (I am adding their newest version)

The Ultimate Scholarship Book

College Bound

How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay

Admission Matters


Shop Amazon – Rent Textbooks – Save up to 80%

Day to day expenses.

These expenses are for things like a meal off of campus, personal grooming items or school supplies that run out, and new clothing or shoes. What will you be willing to spend on these types of items? What will you expect your student to spend of their own money, if any? Be as detailed as possible to plan the best budget for college for your teen.

A great way to plan ahead to make the most of all the time and money spent on college is to work with a college and career planner. This will take a lot of the guesswork out of the process. My friend Loren has got a great program for teens and their parents. There are assessments that your teen can take, and then she can help with some of the decision making. I wish that I had had her back in the day when my older two were planning! As my youngest gets a little older, Loren is going to be my secret weapon!

Help your teen plan a budget for college!

Senior year in high school is the best time to start! Don’t wait until next year!

What do you spend now on your kid for day-to-day expenses? Does your child have a job? Should they get one? Are you planning on them working in college for their extra expenses? Either way, you need to figure out what the budget will be.

There are many ways of working this out with your kids. For our boys, we pay for school, housing with a meal plan, and books. Anything, else is on them such as meals off of campus, fraternity, and clothes. This means that they have worked since they were 15 during summers, and part time during school each year for their spending money.

Our oldest son was able to get a great scholarship package for his grades, ACT, BSA Eagle and Boy’s State. We aren’t really spending much on him at all. Our second son will have a different situation, but we have already talked with him at length about this, and he knows what the budgeted amount will be. He also has his BSA Eagle, but not the other accolades. He will utilize the A+ program in community college.

A+ Program

Our state (Missouri) has a great program called the A+ Program. If a student shows good citizenship, has the required attendance, the required GPA, and with teacher supervision tutors a peer for at least 50 hours, then they graduate with A+ requirements on their record. (There are a few other items on the list, but these are the main ones.)

This is a great help for getting community college, and hopefully an Associate’s Degree, basically for free-except for books! The specifics are in the link above. You should check with your school to see about any type of program such as this for a student who does not excel in school or on standardized tests.

Discuss ALL of these expenses to plan a budget for college.

Look at the college website. Open all tabs on the website pertaining to costs and scholarships. (Look for all of the fees! There are things like parking fees, technology fees, health insurance fees…) Be open about what you as parents are thinking is a reasonable budget. Listen to and encourage questions from your child. One thing that we have learned is that they don’t know what they don’t know. Spell everything out as clearly as possible.

Don’t wait until they are headed to college. Neither side should have to assume anything! You know what your budget is, so tell your child up front. Your child may have some expectations as well. This is the time to lay it all out on the table. I wrote another blog post on paying for college. Check it out here.

Some sample expenses for freshman year could be: car payment and insurance, gas, cell phone, fun money for going out, groceries (for dorm room, also toiletries as they run out), clothing, student loan payments, credit card… What is your child responsible for now? Will it be the same when they are gone at college? If you would like it to be different than what it is now, then now is the time to change things!

Even the cat says, "Budget for college!"

Talk about future finances!

Are you wondering what you should be teaching your teen about money? Saving? Investing? This knowledge is so important for our kids as they leave for college and/or beyond. I so wish that I had know all of this when I was their age!

I have found this awesome resource. It’s called 5 Things Parents Must Teach Kids About Money. There is also Millionaire by 51. Both of these are from my new friend in the blogging world, John Q. Miller aka. “Daddy401k” He was in our Next Phase Parenting Summit back in January, and had so much great information!

Here is a little bit about John-  ‘…I have a passion for financial literacy for kids. … my wife and I raised our two daughters and taught them lifelong lessons about personal finance. We gave them a head start for financial freedom that we didn’t have when we ventured out into the world as young adults.’

Budget for college|

Need a plan?

Check out my budget planner for you and your soon-to-be college student to fill out together.

As you and your teen plan for this big event, be sure that you have a plan for their next four years. What I mean is, do you all know what the ultimate goal is besides graduating? With a good plan in place, a couple of things can happen. First, your child can graduate in four years, which can be a huge savings! That extra semester or two can be an enormous expense. Second, by having a good plan in place, you and your child can be sure that the degree they have chosen is marketable, and that the chances of getting a job at graduation are greater.

My friend Loren Kelly has a great program which will help your family with some of these choices. She can help you to figure out what degree will match your teen’s interests and make sure that they get on and stay on the right track. Loren has few programs which can really help you all as you make plans.

Apply for scholarships.

One thing that I wish I had known with my oldest son, is that this whole process could be started in middle school. Many scholarships are available starting for students when they are 13! These are good ones to try for, because who knows this? No one that I have spoken with about this process has known.

As a parent, you need to set up a specific email just for scholarships, and so should your child–even if you are the only one checking them. Sign up for scholarship websites, and fill out the profiles. (These can be edited down the road as your child learns more about themselves and their likes and dislikes.)

These websites will start to send lots of emails about different scholarships that are available. They will be organized in many ways. Stay up with them and create a list of ones to try for. Many can and should be deleted. Don’t go crazy with this. Maybe try for one a month, more during the summer or over holidays.

How 2 Win Scholarships
Monica Matthews is a former teacher and a stay-at-home mom of three boys. She’s a mom who worked with her son to earn enough scholarships to attend college for free. I’ve signed up for her newsletters and she’ll let you know when to apply for scholarships. She always has up to date information on her blog. She has a parent guide and student guide as well as a really great online tool for keeping track of scholarship opportunities!

Planning a budget for college is so important!

All things considered, start these discussions SOONER THAN LATER. This can be a fun time to figure things out together, and to make decisions as a team.

Good luck to you all! Let me know how this goes for you!

Related posts:

College Bound: Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School,

Freshman Dorm Necessities,

High School Parent Toolkit, and

The Truth about College and Student Loan Debt

My Teen Is Turning 18! What Are the Legal Implications?

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!


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The Truth About Student Loan Debt: 5 Simple Ways to Prevent It

The Truth About Student Loan Debt: 5 Simple Ways to Prevent It

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Here are some tips to prevent student loan debt.

Does your child’s future include college? One big reason to begin making plans for college is MONEY!!! Something else to think about is that your child’s future will greatly be affected by the choices he or she makes today. These two factors were at the top of the list while our oldest son was deciding on a college. We are trying to help our kids as they go through college, by helping to prevent student loan debt or at least reduce it for them. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Let your teen know about student loan debt.

42 MILLION students owe $1.3 TRILLION in student debt!!!!

This number is astronomical already and is growing with each semester. Make decisions based on the amount of money that you have saved (or not), the choice of a major, and what is the likelihood of earning enough income to make a decent living when college is finished. If you can limit or prevent student loan debt for your child, they will be so much further ahead in life!

Approximately 70% of graduates with Bachelors degrees leave school with some amount of student loan debt…

Be very careful when reading the fine print on the documents that each school provides. If we hadn’t paid attention to our son’s financial package information, we would have accepted a student loan. It was right there in black and white, but if I hadn’t been checking through each item, I would have missed this line item.

I now know to look for it each semester and draw a line through it. Just because something is written down on proposed tuition paperwork does not mean that you, the consumer, need to utilize it. Look everything over very carefully! This is an easy way to help prevent student loan debt.

Prevent student loan debt is challenging!

Loan payments upon graduation can be more than their rent payments…

This is a very depressing reality! Make sure that you know approximately what a starting level employee in your child’s field of study will earn. It may not be enough money to live on when including loan payments.

Find someone who has recently graduated in the field that your child has chosen, and find out this what they get on their paycheck, so that you can discuss this with your student. This way each of you are aware as he or she moves toward their future. Making a good choice in the beginning of college is crucial.

The cost of college skyrockets after the first 4 years, so switching majors can really be a financial setback if done after the sophomore year.

College grads in 2001 earned 10% more than they do now…

This is because the cost of living has increased so much, and many items that were once much more affordable such as healthcare, are now no longer fitting into even a reasonable budget. This can be super frustrating for today’s graduates because how can they get ahead if they are already behind?!

2 out of 3 students graduating won’t find an adequate job, meaning one that would pay for a reasonable living as well as enough extra for loan payments…  This goes along with what was said earlier. The fewer loans, the easier life will be moving forward. Read here.

More than two-thirds of student loan borrowers were surprised by some aspect of their student loan debt…Prevent student loan debt.

Student loan debt amounts are staggering

If loans must be taken out, then really pay attention to the total. Parents may not be paying much attention to this because they know their student will ultimately be responsible for this amount. This is not reasonable or fair.

Please take care to be honest with your child about what you can and cannot afford from the very beginning. That is where the conversation needs to begin.

And, please don’t wait until your student’s senior year! However, if that is where you are, by all means, get started!

31% of students who dropped out of college referred to finances as a reason…

This is, in part, because parents did not want to admit that they couldn’t afford the school that the child wanted to attend. Please know that even though this might be embarrassing to have to admit, it will be so much worse if your child has to drop out because of something that could have been prevented by honesty in the first place.

Real life happens! We had my husband’s student loans to pay off. Then real life happened, as in we had bills to pay… We don’t have that much saved in the way of college funds for our boys, and they know that good grades etc. will really help with getting good financial packages from schools.

It has helped that we have been honest and realistic about their choices about where they can go and what we can afford to pay. We have also been very upfront with them about the fact that they are in charge of all their spending money once they are at school as well.

About half of all college graduates are living paycheck to paycheck and many have had to resort to living with parents or grandparents…

I think back to when I first graduated. I truly lived paycheck to paycheck. I paid a little more in rent than I should have, but it was in a safe neighborhood, and that was important to me living in a big city for the first time in my life.

I literally lived on about $1.00 a day after all my expenses were paid. I lived on pasta and tuna at night, and knew to the ounce how much salad I could put in my container to stay at less than $2.00 each day for lunch in the cafeteria.

I couldn’t afford to buy enough groceries for both dinners and lunches. I ate a lot of oatmeal! I didn’t even have any furniture, and I slept on an air mattress for months.

A fact that is is so sad is that many young adults consider their loans to be a life sentence because it is so hard to get rid of! Please read this sobering article. Help your child now to make a good decision for their future!

Here’s my question… Are kids today willing to do that?

I came from a nice home with most everything I wanted as I was growing up. But, I was READY to grow up and move on. I’m not sure about today’s young graduates when it comes time to move on. Parents make it really easy for them to stay home.

But, here’s the thing. Getting a couple of roommates and striking it out on their own-even if they are super poor– is probably the best thing that we can do for our kids. At the very least, help them out at first, but work out a plan with your child for how they will gradually move out and on:)

I read a story the other day about mother giraffes. As soon as her baby struggles to his feet, the mom knocks him down. The baby struggles up again. Mom knocks him down again. It happens again and again.

Is the mom being mean? No! Because, guess what? Pretty soon the little guy gets stronger and stronger and more sturdy. And, then, he can stand on his own with no struggling or wobbling. He has learned, and she has done her job by preparing him.

Tough love can prevent student loan debt.

24% of millenials who attend college think that their loans will be “forgiven”…

Loan forgiveness is very rare. It is NOT something these kids should be counting on at all. Their plan needs to be to work, work, and work some more maybe at a main job with 2 or 3 side hustles to get their loans paid down.

The real world is manageable, but our kids need to have a plan and be mentally strong and able to handle it by being prepared.

Don’t let these numbers scare you!!

Now is definitely the time to start the process of preparing your child to go to college to get a great education and graduate with little to NO debt. You and your teen have to get into the mindset that this is a challenge that can be met.

Be proactive. You and your child have to be on the same page or at least supportive of each other’s efforts. Take the time to get informed. Do some research. You can start now wherever you are, however old your child is. The sooner the better!

How about you? Are you helping your kids? Do you have any good ideas for the rest of us?

Check out my friend’s post on other strategies to avoid student loan debt!

Related posts: 

High School Parent Toolkit,

How To Find Scholarships -The System We Used to Graduate Our Son Debt-Free!

How Will We Be Able to Afford College Next Year?,

How To Plan a Budget With Your College Bound Teen

My Teen is Turning 18! What Are the Legal Implications?

Have you read my book?

Here is the blog post that I wrote to go along with the book with some great freebies for you to download and print for your own family.

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️

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Let your teen know about student loan debt.

FAFSA: What You Need to Know Right Now!

FAFSA: What You Need to Know Right Now!

Why fill out the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Your child’s college career could hinge on this one form. Do not make the mistake of not filling out the FAFSA! Even if you think you won’t qualify, fill it out. Filling out this form will determine whether or not your student will receive Federal Student Aid, BUT it will also determine any monies he/she will get from the schools that they apply to as well. Most schools will require you to fill this out, so do it right away.

In other words, the information that is provided when filling out this form could help your family to get more money from different colleges! It is very important that you fill this out for many reasons. The due date is October 1, more on that below…

–The main purpose of the FAFSA is to determine your EFC. This is an acronym for the Expected Family Contribution. This is a number determined by your answers on the FAFSA. It is a calculated number that the government thinks that your family should be able to pay towards your child’s college, not the actual number that you will have to pay… 

–It is most likely that the EFC is going away. This is because it is such a misunderstood term. It is still around until about 2023, and I will keep you posted here!

It will probably be replaced a “student aid index” or SAI. In some ways, SAI is just a new term for a similar calculation. The following link is a bunch of gobbledy-gook about the bill that might change things. Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021

The number we received for our EFC would work if both my husband and I each had full time, high paying jobs, and we lived on pork and beans every night, and never did anything that cost any money! In other words, don’t expect for your EFC to be realistic! This is a whole other blog post topic!

When to fill out the FAFSA:

–You do need to fill out the FAFSA–no matter what! And, fill it out in a timely manner. In other words, do this on the due date, again, this date is October 1. Yes, it does determine the need based federal aid money for students who need it. But, it also helps schools determine the money that they give out for merit based aid. This is FREE money for your student. Schools give out the money on a first come, first serve basis, so if you want any chance of merit based aid, fill that puppy out.

–The FAFSA is NOT JUST for need based aid. We thought about not filling it out because we knew that we would not qualify for the need based aid. But, by just filling out the FAFSA, my son receives $1000 off of his yearly tuition. Even if he qualified for no other scholarships, they reward this amount for filling out the form! Check with your child’s college and see if there is a similar situation. Aid is often determined by the numbers that you put on this form. I will say it again, fill out the FAFSA!

–After the FAFSA is filled out, each college starts rewarding their merit based aid. This is determined by the FAFSA, GPA, and various other factors such as ACT/SAT scores and strength of resumes. This is where hard work during high school both in class and out will really help! Your student will start to hear back from colleges after they have applied. Each school will send out letters of acceptance and denial.

–In acceptance letters, colleges will include their financial aid package. These could just be estimates, so read carefully. Keep track of all offers, and use them to get colleges to compete with each other to get your student to attend their particular school. A financial aid package can be appealed and should be, if your child really wants one school, but got a better package from another, let their favored school know. This is expected and it can work!

–As your child finishes up the first semester of their senior year, send updates of their GPA and resume to each school for which they have applied. It is still early in the game, and this can help with a better financial aid package. If there a life changing experience  has occurred, such as:  divorce, a death in the family or some sort of accident, let the school know. This is information schools need that could make a difference to the bottom line!

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Fill out the FAFSA!

How to fill out the FAFSA:

–FIRST, go to and create a FSA ID for both you and your child. Then, fill out the FAFSA4caster. This will give you an idea of how to fill out the actual form when it is time. It will also give you an idea of all of the information you will need for filling out the dang thing! You will need your federal tax information, social security number, W2s, and any asset information. Filling out the 4caster will give you an idea of aid eligibility for decision making. Do this now, as in after you finish reading this blog post.

–SECOND, when you are ready, log back into the FAFSA website, and get this form filled out so that you can submit it any time after it is released, which is OCTOBER 1. It is a process, and not something that you want to think that you can do quickly some evening! Take your time. You might wait a week or two to complete it, maybe mid-October for the kinks to get worked out the first couple of weeks that it is available.

–DO NOT make any errors on the FAFSA! Triple check and then check again that you have entered everything on the form correctly. Have your spouse or significant other check it as well, a new pair of eyes can catch mistakes that you have overlooked the first 3 times that you checked for mistakes. Mistakes will lead to delays in your child receiving financial aid.

–Your child does not have to decide on a school at the time that you fill out the FAFSA, but fill it out anyway ON TIME. Here is a link with due dates for you to refer to. Once you have filled out the FAFSA for your oldest, then you will have to continue to re-submit yearly. (This is so that the government can check your child’s eligibility status, which will change if your finances change or you have more than one kid in college!)

–You can start the FAFSA and save your progress, if you need to stop for some reason. This is a nice feature. Because it does take a while to fill out!

There is a renewal option with some categories which will be pre-populated, but check all of this information carefully and make sure that it is all up-to-date. Most of the new info needed will be based on taxes paid.

Once the FAFSA is filled out, be sure that the colleges of choice are notified that you have submitted the complete form. This is also a good time to check each college’s website for admissions requirements and scholarship opportunities at the school. You really need to dig for this information sometimes, but is worth the extra effort. Every penny that your child is given is one less out of your pocket, or your child’s.

CSS Profile

Another form you may need to fill out is the CSS Profile, This asks for lots more information than the FAFSA, but is necessary for many private colleges. This is how they decide to distribute their non-federal aid, in other words, merit based aid. It is $25 for the first college you have to submit this to, and $16 for each college after. I will say, we didn’t have to do this for my son who is attending a private school.

He received a much larger financial aid package from this private school than the local state school–many thousands more, so filling this out might be helpful, if they require it. Make sure it’s necessary before filling it out though.)

I will say that, in my opinion, getting student loans may not be worth it in the end. Is a gap year for better finances an option? Outside scholarships are great, but start looking before senior year. Weigh all of the options and do the math.

Will their major and work experience by the end of college provide your teen with a job that will give them the income needed to pay back their loans?

That is the low down on the FAFSA. It is not something to ignore or forget. It will make a difference to what your family will have to pay.

Fill the FAFSA out every year because financial aid is determined yearly.

Other helpful posts:

How To Plan A College Budget With Your Teen,

Best Tips for Applying to College,

How Will We Pay For College?,

What Will My Teen Really Need in the Dorm?

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles!

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

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Fill out the FAFSA!

Best Small Space Workout Equipment For Dorms: 10 Easy Ideas

Best Small Space Workout Equipment For Dorms: 10 Easy Ideas

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College is a busy time of life. So much time spent studying, participating and socializing. Our students need to remember to fit some sort of exercise into their lives to stay healthy. The problem with dorm rooms and many college apartments is the lack of space. Here are ideas for the best small space workout equipment your student could use.

First, it goes without saying that exercise is so important! It can have a “positive impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD”, plus it can help a person to “feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives.” More great info from this great article.

We know that our kids will be stressed from academics, social situations, and various other activities in their college and/or work lives. One of the first things I always ask my sons is, “Have you exercised lately?” This could mean so many things! Going to the gym. Taking a walk. Going for a swim… 

For me, exercise helps me to clear my mind, and this is a FREE way to exercise! Here are 10 benefits to walking that you might not know about – I totally agree with the creative thinking benefit.

I did some research, and found out that there are many options for exercise equipment for a small space that fit my criteria -low cost, and very little space. A lot of these options are also great for those of us as parents beginning to think about down-sizing!

*This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Best small space exercise equipment

Best small space workout equipment

Stretching and strength

Smaller weights -These are great because different components can be added or removed to adjust the weight -the lowest weight is 2.3 lbs. and the highest weight is 4.5 lbs. per dumbbell.

Yoga mat -This mat is great for ease of storage, and it comes in a variety of colors to match any dorm room. Blocks and a strap would be great additions!

Kettlebell -This one is great because it is also adjustable, and takes up hardly any room!

Pilates ball -I thought this one would be good because it comes with a handy exercise chart! This is only a 9″ ball, so it would fit under most beds.

Pilates bar kit -There are so many to choose from. I liked the options and price for the picture below.

Balance ball -My son who has his personal training certification, swears by this thing. There are so many exercises that will work on this. It weighs only 12 pounds, and when inflated, stands only 10″ high, so again, this will fit under a bed or desk.

Resistance bands set -This is different than the Pilates band set. I like the one below because It includes a carrying case, jump rope and lots of other options.


Under-desk elliptical -I liked that this mentioned low noise. In a dorm room or small apartment situation, that could really be a factor. This can also be used to exercise arms.

Foldable exercise bike -This is a little bit more expensive than the other tools that I have mentioned. However, it can be folded up, and stored in a corner, and is great for cardio. With Zooms, and other online options for class, a student could get a workout in, AND attend class.

Mini-tramp -This was my favorite go-to in college, and still today! I love my mini-tramp: it’s fun, it can be hidden under a bed or behind a door, and it is a great workout!

Ways to exercise in a small space

Exercise cards -There are also exercise dice -who knew? There is also a way to use a regular deck of cards to create a great workout!

Internet videos and apps -These are great for on-the-go schedules! And, here is a BMI calculator to use as well. The image below is one of the newer apps. Most are free to start, which is a great way to check out whether you like it or not. Then you can decide if it is worth it to spend money each month.

Other helpful devices

Fitbit -This is another bigger expense. But, the price range is pretty large, and I found some off-brands for as little as $40. This will help track all areas of fitness, which is helpful when there are so many other things to keep track of in life!

Jug for hydration -The best are the kind with lines for keeping track of the amount to drink, and with some sort of handle for easy transport. The one below has great messages as the day progresses.

Vapor Fresh -to deodorize equipment, shoes, laundry. It comes in powder, spray and wipes. The picture below is a 3-pack for all uses.

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College and Career Planning: 3 Secrets to Success

College and Career Planning: 3 Secrets to Success

College and career planning starts young. Younger than you think! Start conversations in middle school. Continue them throughout high school, and really start to focus in on what your teen wants to do. Give advice. Find out more information. Work together to make a plan!

Now is the perfect time to have these conversations:)

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This post is written by a new friend that I have met in the blogging world, Loren Kelly. Turns out she is a Missouri girl, so I like her already! She is an expert on this topic. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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College and Career Planning

When it comes to college and career planning, there are a few secrets to success that I wish I could share with every parent and high school student across America. This information will save you time, money, and frustration. What do you need to know about college and career planning? Here are my top three tips.

Choose the career first and the college last

This first tip is vital. It seems logical to choose a college first, then declare a major, and think about the career portion closer to graduation. This is the model that has been followed for several decades in the United States. This approach, however, has led to a large percentage of college graduates experiencing feelings of dissatisfaction when it comes to long-term career fulfillment. Also, many students enter college with an undeclared major and struggle to find an academic program that engages them.

The solution to these issues is to approach the college and career planning process in reverse. To prevent time and money from being wasted, a student should determine a career path before choosing a college or training program. As the image below illustrates, begin with the end goal in mind. When a student comes to me for help with college and career planning, we begin by exploring career fields of interest.

Once we have determined the best-fit career for the student through comprehensive career exploration, then we proceed with identifying the best training and education to prepare for that career. Finally, we finish the process by finding schools and colleges that offer that training and make the decision based on reputation, graduation and employment rates, and cost.

Consider ALL careers and education options available

The second college and career planning secret to success is to consider all career options and all education options. In the early 90s, the myth began to spread that to be successful, one needed to go to college. We slowly started to see vocational and trade programs disappear from America’s schools, and college preparation became the focus.

I want to encourage parents and students across the nation to consider all options. There are very lucrative trade careers that require short-term training and no college degree.

Real life example

Let me tell you a story about my brother. My brother, Jedd, was uncertain about his plan for the future at high school graduation. He enjoyed working with his hands; however, our parents and his teachers encouraged him to go to college. They assured him he would figure it out while at university because he was an intelligent kid with good grades.

Fast forward two years, and he dropped out with no degree, thousands of dollars of student loans, and a lot of frustration. Had he engaged in career planning first, he probably would have determined that a trade was the best fit for him. He is now a maintenance mechanic at a very reputable corporation. He earns a very respectable wage with a one-year vocational certificate!

As you approach college and career planning, consider all career options and then be sure to look at vocational schools, community colleges, colleges, and universities. The integrity of the academic program, completion and employment rates, and costs are significant factors to consider when choosing your education and training.

Begin gaining career-relevant experience early

The final tip is to gain experience in your future career field as early and as often as possible while pursuing your education and training! Gone are the days of a college degree ensuring gainful employment following graduation. To stand out in a pool of applicants, students must gain career-relevant experience while in school. college and career planning|

Most commonly, career-relevant experiences come in the form of internships for degree-seeking students or apprenticeships for trade students. In addition to the benefit of having experience on your resume, internships and apprenticeships also give students the opportunity to try a career.

First-hand experience in a career field can save a student a lot of time and money as they may determine early that a career may not be as fulfilling as he/she originally thought. If an internship or apprenticeship isn’t feasible, volunteer work is just as valuable! As you engage in the college and career planning process, please reach out if you have questions!

More info about Loren

As a College Instructor and Career Coach, empowering young people to pursue the future with confidence and clarity is my passion! If you are interested in more information and ideas to assist your child with college and career planning, visit my website. I share weekly articles and free guides to help parents and students plan for the future!

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Here is my review of Loren and her programs!  Click the link to watch!

Related blog posts:

Middle School: Advice for Success,

College Bound: Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School,

The Truth About to Prevent Student Loan Debt,

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️ 

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