Dorm, Sweet Dorm

Five Boston-area businesses that’ll spoil college students almost as much as their parents do.

Without Mom and Dad around to pick up the slack, the average undergrad is likely to pass the semester toiling away on furniture made of cinder blocks and pizza boxes, recycling a single pair of socks, and dreaming up excuses for lost homework. Fortunately for the 265,000 university students rolling into Boston this month, help in getting organized is close at hand. These local professionals can pave the way for a smooth -—and relatively homey—transition to college life.

Furniture Assembly
Nothing is less fun on move-in day than spending hours cobbling together an Ikea entertainment center. That’s where Dedham professional assembler Paul Dennehy comes in. He has a decade’s worth of experience working with all things assembly-required, and has yet to find a piece of furniture he can’t conquer (with or without instructions). And if a part is missing or damaged, he’ll arrange to have a replacement shipped to you, then return to finish the job. Starting at $45 per hour, 866-539-7285,

Space Planning
Mary Roberts of RoomChi has lectured students at places like UC Berkeley and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, on the relationship of furniture arrangement to general well-being. Locally, the Carlisle-based consultant offers one-on-one advice that aims to make small rooms feel larger, help separate work time and play time, and even encourage roommates to get along better. Among her most important fixes: orienting students’ beds and desks for maximum restfulness and productivity (in that order!). $108 per hour, 617-653-0370,

Go on to the next page for three more dorm room helpers…

Many undergrads waste more time looking for their chemistry homework than actually doing it. Ann Marie Williams of Braintree’s Atmosphere Consulting is out to change that. Her in-depth client interviews reveal how students use their rooms—do they study at their desks or at the library?—and provide her with the raw material to tailor-design an organizing system. If Williams can’t repurpose a client’s existing storage solutions, she’ll hit the stores to find the perfect ones. $80 per hour, 781-356-0140,

Founded in 2003 by three local graduates, College Bellhop addresses the perennial bane of coeds (and their moms) everywhere: laundry day. In the once-a-week program, students simply leave their special laundry bag at a drop-off spot on Tuesdays—the company currently serves dorms at Boston University, MIT, Northeastern, and Tufts—and the bags are returned by Thursday with the clothes professionally laundered and folded. $299.99 for a load per week for one semester, $599.99 for two semesters, 617-600-1067,

Room Cleaning
DormAid’s cleaning service started on the Harvard campus, and now serves most major colleges in the area. The platinum plan provides twice-weekly $60 cleanings for a full semester. And these aren’t cursory dustings: DormAid’s fully insured staffers work through a 21-point checklist, including vacuuming, changing bed linens, cleaning bathrooms, and folding clothes. Incidentally, the company also offers laundry service at most of the schools College Bellhop doesn’t yet serve. $59.95–$65.95 per cleaning, 888-436-7624,