Small closets pose a big problem for students

Closet, Organization, fashion
Erica Bevan takes time to sort and organize her closet. Bevan said it is difficult to have limited closet space and maintain a wardrobe with clothing appropriate for various seasons. (Ryan Turner)

BYU students have found a way to make small closet space work.

While Utah’s four distinct seasons provide for some beautiful scenery and a wide variety of outdoor adventure options, many students say it can be difficult to fit four seasons of clothing into the small closets typical of on and off-campus housing.

Living in Heleman Halls, one of BYU’s on-campus housing options, is many students’ first time experiencing limited closet space. According to the BYU On-Campus Housing webpage, a shared dorm room at Helaman Halls is 19 feet 3 inches by 8 feet in size, which leaves little room for a large wardrobe.

BYU graphic design student Erica Bevan said small student closets have been an issue for her since she started college.

“Closet space has always been an issue for me,” Bevan said. “It’s hard because you only have one small closet and four shallow drawers, so anything bulky immediately takes up a lot of space. Winter is especially hard since you have so many jackets and sweaters that take up more room than warmer weather clothing.”

BYU finance student Mallory Christensen said she understands how a small closet could be a problem for many fellow students, especially ones with outdoor hobbies.

“I don’t have a lot of stuff to begin with, but I can see how it would be a problem.” Christensen said. “It’s hard because I like to snowboard a lot, so you have all your snow clothes and gear that take up a lot of room.”

The solution for some Utahns to living with small closet space is to live with less stuff. Salt Lake City native Courtney Carver created a challenge entitled Project 333 in order to help herself and others simplify their lives, starting with their closets.

During a Project 333 challenge, one’s entire wardrobe consists of only 33 items, including shoes and accessories, for a period of three months. BYU alumna Claire Nielsen said current students could benefit from learning how to cull their wardrobe.

“I think minimalist challenges could help students stay organized and focus on things other than appearance.” Nielsen said. “I think it’s a good way to simplify and focus your life on what’s most important.”

Some students like the idea of Project 333, but don’t think it would be practical for their lifestyles. Christensen said she thinks a smaller wardrobe might be a good idea for someone who wants to worry less about space, but it could be hard to make it work in college.

“I would maybe try it, but you have to have clothes for every season here,” Christensen said. “It’s not like California, where you can wear pretty much the same clothes all year.”

Being practical about the wardrobe a student chooses to bring to school is something Bevan thinks is a smart idea.

“Think realistically about what you need and what you really wear,” Bevan said. “There is no point in bringing things that you don’t wear or use. They’ll just take up needed space.”

Nielsen said she thinks organization is essential for any student closet, and taking the time to keep things in order can be a lot of help in the future.

“It’s faster and easier to get ready in the morning when you know where everything is,” Nielsen said. “I just feel like I have my life together when my closet’s clean, whether I actually do (have my life together) or not.”

Christensen said for her, taking advantage of unseen space has provided a lot of extra room.

“I use a lot of bins under my bed so that my closet isn’t too crowed,” Christensen said “That’s definitely my biggest tip.”

Bevan said she has also found that taking advantage of the space she does have and investing in some storage pieces can make things easier to store and keep her wardrobe organized.

“I think a shoe organizer of some sort is absolutely necessary,” Bevan said. “No matter how hard you try, without some sort of organization system your shoes just end up in a pile in your closet.”

Keeping items organized can relieve a lot more stress, something students’ don’t need anymore of, according to Bevan.

“Bring what you need and you’ll be fine,” Bevan said. “Disorganization and clutter makes people stressed out, and we get enough of that from school.”

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