By Tracy Haney/Accent editor

What does an 11 foot by 17 foot room-for-two spell?F-r-e-e-d-o-m.

And while a room as big as an oversized closet may not seem like the escape from home you’ve always dreamed of, there are ways to make a seemingly unlivable space, well, livable.

Nick Bertram, Eastern dorm veteran and current assistant manager of Wal-Mart, said most people come in looking for “anything they can get to have extra space.

“When students come in they want to be as organized as possible,” he said.

According to Bertram, some of the most popular items include desk organizers and stackable storage containers called Yaffa blocks. He said furniture, housewares, domestic goods and bedding are the departments students hit most this time of year.

Roommates Sarah Ricks and Lauren Mink know all about the process of moving into the dorms. The two sophomores had private rooms next to each other in Todd Hall last fall, but decided to move in together in the spring.

The girls returned this year as roommates, and a little wiser to the tricks of moving into a dorm room.

“We brought less stuff,” Ricks said. “We knew what we really used.”

The roommates left an extra refrigerator and a couch at home and said they have a lot more space.

Mink said the two learned another strategy to moving in. “We arranged first this time. Last time we brought in all our stuff.”

The roommates said experimenting last year with different room arrangements made it much easier to decide what they wanted to do this year.

“It was a lot easier to pack the car this time,” Mink said. “I think we’d do better the next time around.”

To maximize dorm space,, suggests “building up and not out, ” which could include storage shelves on desks or dressers.

The Web site also suggests removing drawers from an old dresser, painting them and putting them under the bed for more storage space.

Another helpful site,, recommends closet organizers as great space savers.

For a more colorful approach, it suggests stringing wire across the ceiling and hanging brightly colored bags to use for storage.

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