The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Getting creative with college living

    Aaron Vehling

    When senior Lara Luepke moved into her apartment last month, she was in need of a desk for her laptop. But like many other college students, she didn’t want to go to the store and invest a lot of money into something she didn’t need for a long period of time.

    When Luepke saw a friend had used plastic storage cubes as shelving, she got the idea to make a desk out of four of the same type of cubes and a board.

    So she headed out to a couple of stores and came back with $13 worth of materials and put together her desk, complete with shelves on the sides.

    “I am a big, big fan of my desk,” Luepke said. “My roommate made fun of it and called it a ‘hobo desk,’ but after she saw it, she said she liked it.”

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    With many students moving into houses and apartments off-campus for the first time and several new dorm-dwellers, many seek out creative or cheap ways to find furniture and decorate their apartments or four square feet in the dorms.

    For students looking for cheap furniture, hitting up the thrift stores in Eau Claire may be a successful option.

    According to Scott Turner, store team leader of Goodwill, a variety of household items such as furniture, dressers, couches, end tables, lamps, small appliances, wall decorations, pictures, cleaners, laundry baskets, tools and bedding can be found at Goodwill Industries, 3605 Gateway Dr.

    “The prices are reasonable,” Turner said. “Couches are from $10 on up and average $50 or less, unless they are in exceptional condition.”

    Junior Greta Wagner made a trip to Goodwill while moving in and came back with a deal for her new house.

    For about $20, she purchased a microwave stand and end table, both of which were in reasonably good condition.

    “I would recommend it to college students. It’s the place to look if you don’t care about brand new furniture,” Wagner said. “That’s for when you’re in the real world and you can actually afford it.”

    Turner recommends shopping for furniture on the weekend, because that’s when Goodwill has the most in, and more sales will be going on. Other thrift stores such as Savers, 3015 E Hamilton Ave., and the Salvation Army Thrift Store, 3310 Miller St., offer a variety of second-hand furniture and household items. However, the hardest part is finding what you’re looking for.

    “It goes really fast when we do get (furniture in),” said Jillian Olson, assistant supervisor of Savers. “We have different stuff everyday and about 5,000 new items each day.”

    When it comes to decorating and furnishing a dorm room, making use of every inch of space is important.

    That’s why sophomore Erin Salwasser and three of her friends decided to go for a different living arrangement in Towers Hall South.

    With the four girls living in two rooms across from each other, they decided last year that they would put all four beds in one room and make the other room into a “living room” with two big couches, a TV and desks.

    “It’s fun this way. If people want to watch movies, they can go in one room, and if others want to do homework or sleep, they can go in the other room,” Salwasser said. “It works out pretty good.”

    Salwasser likes what they did with their two dorm rooms and would recommend it to others.

    While students are always looking to save space in their dorm room, yet have a unique look, residence hall rules and restrictions may make it difficult.

    Sophomore Paul Behnke and junior Jordan Spina are trying to find a way to bunk their beds and hang hammocks up in their Towers South room.

    “We want to put a bed on the bottom, the other bed in the middle and hang a hammock on top,” Behnke said. “But we’re just in phase one right now.”

    Because they are not able to pound anything into the walls or ceiling of the dorm rooms, much creativity is needed to pull off unique ideas.

    “We’re not exactly sure how it’s going to work right now,” Spina said. “But I’m sure we can figure it out somehow.”

    When it comes to decorating, roommates who planned ahead over the summer had a head start on a theme for their room.

    Freshmen roommates and high school friends Shannon Spahr and Amanda Krings decided to go with an animal print theme for their Oak Ridge room.

    “It started out with just my bedspread, then we got a rug, and then my roommate got a comforter too,” Spahr said.

    Spahr said she didn’t think it was really that big of a deal, but after living in the dorm for a week, they already had received a lot of compliments.

    Despite the space constraints in the dorms or lack of funds for new apartment furniture, leave it to college students to come up with creative and inexpensive ways to make their living spaces unique.

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