College is back in session and students everywhere are busy creating their dream dorm rooms. Living in a dormitory means that you have the ultimate benefit of being close to your classes while still enjoying the independence that comes from being on your own. On the other hand, it might also mean having to scale back on your belongings.
While you might be eager to start decorating with your favorite wall art and brand-new comforter, the truth is that you need to spend some time getting organized. These dorm room organization ideas will have you ready to start your year with a clutter-free space that shows off your sense of style.
How Do You Organize a Small Dorm Room?
Most dorm rooms are small, meaning that clutter can build up fast. Keeping clutter down is critical for helping you to avoid stimuli that make it harder to focus while studying. So, how do you do it? No worries, as you’ll be able to organize your space in no time with these DIY dorm room storage hacks.
1. Think Strategically
The first thing you need to do is create a game plan that you can follow. Therefore, take a moment to gather information about the size and general layout of the room. Most residential halls provide essentials, such as a bed, desk and closet. But you’ll want to find out about the other amenities, such as whether or not you have storage cabinets in the bathroom.
If possible, reach out to your roommate before you start packing. Finding out if they’re bringing a microwave or stereo system can help you avoid doubling up and wasting space. Plus, it’ll help you start building a good relationship that minimizes conflicts about how you organize the shared parts of your room.
2. Prioritize Necessities
In small dorm rooms, you need to use every inch of space to its fullest capacity, meaning you’ll need to pare down your packing list to the bare essentials. You’ll naturally need bed linens, towels and personal items such as toiletries and medication.
Most college students also need tech equipment to accomplish their schoolwork. Keep in mind that saving space should always be at the forefront of your mind when you create your packing list.
3. Hang On-the-Wall Shelving and Hooks
You also don’t want to leave wall space unfilled. On-the-wall shelving units can hold containers that you can fill with everything from school supplies to snacks. Or you might choose to place items on the shelf that can double as decor. For instance, an over-the-bed shelf leaves space for your headboard, and you can put a potted herb plant or coffee mug on top that looks cute and has a purpose.
On-the-wall shelving is great for solving those little problems that tend to pop up in dorm rooms. For instance, you might like to have a wall shelf hung up high so that you can stash things you might need from the top bunk at night. Being able to reach over for your water bottle rather than having to climb the ladder could make a huge difference in how you feel in the morning.
As you use your vertical wall space, consider adding hooks to your list of supplies. You can find hooks that attach to the wall with special adhesives that won’t remove paint yet are sturdy enough to hold many common dorm room items. In addition to using hooks for obvious reasons, such as to hold your coat or hat. You can hang small baskets from them to place pencils, pens and markers on the wall next to your desk.
4. Use Vertical Space
In most dorms, the bed and desk will take up the bulk of the floor space, but you can bet there will still be plenty of room on the walls. Over-the-door shoe holders are great for storing your favorite footwear, and they can also double for storing other objects.
You can use these to hold accessories, toiletries and other small items that might not fit in your available drawers. If you have a bathroom and closet attached to your room, this gives you three doors to fill with your belongings.
5. A Curtain Wall
If you want to make your dorm feel bigger, hang a curtain over a cinder block wall. Not only will this instantly make your space feel larger, but it will also make your space seem much more sophisticated. Don’t try to drill into the wall, however. Instead, use heavy-duty tape or Command hooks instead.
6. Give Your Room Some Much-Needed Style
As you look at your dorm room, you probably feel a bit of panic at the idea of getting all your stuff inside of it. Instead, get yourself a nice coffee table that has hidden storage inside. This is the ideal place to store extra blankets, which will really tidy up your room.
How Do You Maximize Storage in a Dorm Room?
Now that you’ve got your basics, you might be wondering how to take things even further. After all, you may have a few extras on your list that you don’t want to leave out just because you lack space. Most dorm rooms have even more areas to stash your stuff once you start getting down to the wire. All you have to do is know where to look.
7. Under the Bed Storage
You have multiple options for turning the space under the bed into the perfect storage spot. Some dorms allow you to rent or bring your own loft beds that provide space for a desk or dresser to fit underneath. If you don’t have this option, don’t fret. You still have several ways to transform the space under your bed into an easy place to stash your extra belongings.
First, check to see if you can lift your bed. Bed risers fit underneath the feet of the frame, and they can lift it up by quite a few inches. Once your bed is lifted, you can then measure the space to figure out which storage containers will fill it in while maximizing every inch. Depending upon your bed’s height, you might even be able to place containers with drawers that help you to add an extra layer of organization to your room plan.
If you can’t lift your bed, then most types of frames still sit a couple of inches off the floor. This makes it possible to use under-the-bed containers that may lack height but are relatively wide. These are great places to stash things like sweaters or hoodies that you might only need on cold weather days but take up way too much space in your closet.
8. Multi-Use Furniture
If you do need to bring furniture into your room to make it comfortable, then look at each piece from every angle to make sure it maximizes the use of the space. For example, a storage ottoman gives you a place to stash books and other necessities while also serving as a comfy place to sit when you invite your new best friends to your room.
Cube shelves are another fun piece that might take up space on the floor, but you can alter them slightly to use space vertically. After picking out a shelf that holds your favorite items, you can then put a cushion on top to make a versatile bench seat. These units also tend to be able to be placed on their side or standing vertically, which gives you options for using space in your dorm room.
Rolling carts are another multi-functional piece of furniture to consider bringing along. They can serve as a nightstand, or you might use one to create a makeshift kitchen. Depending upon how much space you have, they can also be used for bathroom necessities, such as towels and styling tools.
9. Don’t Forget to Use Your Windowsill
One area that often gets forgotten is the windowsill. However, you’ve got such a small space to work with that it’s truly a shame if you don’t take advantage of these little spaces. You can set a lamp on the windowsill, along with a mini wicker basket. This is the perfect place to store a few books or other items that you need to have convenient access to!
10. Closet Contraptions
Not having to search your closet for something to wear when you are late for a class can be a load off the mind. And one of the dorm organizing ideas that will make your life easier is closet organizers. Closet organizing systems range from being incredibly complicated to basic shelving units. While you won’t necessarily need a customized unit with lights and moving rails, professional organizers tend to recommend using closet organizers to make more room in this often-underutilized space.
Closet contraptions include shelves that cover more of the wall space from the floor to the ceiling so that you can hang your clothes rather than just stacking up bins. Or you can use shelves that hang directly from the rails to store foldable clothing or shoes. If you share a closet, then using an organizing system also makes it easier for you and your roommate to keep up with whose stuff goes where.
11. Organized Drawers
Taking the time to put together organized drawers will save you so much room in the long run. Using acrylic bins is a great way to turn this idea into a reality! You’ll have a specific place for everything, which is the best way to keep your space clean. Make time at least once a week to tidy up your room so that you can ensure the space stays clean.
12. Cord and Tablet Organization
One of the first things each college student should get is a desk organizer. This makes it simple to keep your desk in better shape. You’ll be able to keep everything much tidier because the cords will go behind the organizer. Now, you’ll have a charging station that won’t scream that it’s a charging station.
13. Use a Floating Bookshelf
Everyone in college needs a bookshelf. Using a more space-efficient option requires you to purchase a floating bookshelf. This particular method of storing books doesn’t take up much space because it only allows one book per level. You can take up every slot if needed, and it’ll take up vertical space. This leaves a lot of horizontal space for everything else you’ll need.
14. Use Several Drawers
Drawers are ideal for dealing with dorm room storage. They keep everything out of your way, but they don’t take up a ton of space. In fact, if you need to, you can even get separate storage cubes and stack them all up. Either way, using several drawers is a fantastic way to store everything.
15. Use a Stool with Storage
You’ll need a place to sit down at your desk. Getting a stool with storage inside it is the best usage of your minimal space. Whether you keep something in it or use it for your curling iron, etc., this space provides another way to keep everything you need handy.
17. Use Your Nightstand as Storage
Again, any way to incorporate extra space into your dorm room is going to be a game-changer. Purchase an ottoman that has storage inside of it. Then, put all the little things you need in it, including extra phone chargers. If you only pull out an item when you need it, you can keep your dorm tidy while also keeping everything with you.
18. Jewelry Storage
The most annoying thing about jewelry is trying to store it properly. After all, jewelry can easily become tangled. You can save yourself from this type of problem by hanging all your jewelry up, though. Hanging your jewelry will also introduce some color into your dorm room, which is a fantastic touch if you don’t have much artwork.
19. Use Space-Saving Folding
There are tons of different ways to fold your laundry, but some take up much more space than others. Fortunately, there are multiple different techniques you can use, so you should be able to find a t-shirt rolling method that frees up a lot of space.
20. Hang Clothes Under Your Bed
This idea may seem weird at first, but it’s actually genius! As long as you have a higher raised bed, you’ll be able to put a tension bar between your bed posts. From there, you can hang up your clothes without touching your closet.
21. Buy Stuff After You Move In
Although this may make sense, it’s not what most college students do. But if you can get yourself to wait for some lesser used items, you’ll be able to see much more clearly whether they’ll fit or not. Taking stuff with you without deciding how it’ll all fit is a disaster in waiting.
22. A Dorm Bed Skirt Helps a Lot
Have you ever wondered whether a bed skirt could help you? If you’re looking for additional ways to create space, then definitely toss a bed skirt into the equation. What does it gain you, you might ask? The entire underneath of your bed can be as messy as you want it to be. No one will be able to see the mess, which means that a bed skirt is a perfect solution!
Dorm Room Storage Hacks
Learning how to organize a dorm room also requires exploring a few hacks that take keeping things straight to an even higher level. In fact, you might soon find yourself thinking about how just about any container might work for an organizer. For instance, magazine holders have slim shapes and come in cute colors that you can use to keep your and your roommate’s notebooks separate, but they can also hold hair styling tools or video games.
23. Collapsible Organizing Tools
Collapsible organizing tools are also helpful. Most dorm rooms don’t have a washer and dryer, and you might not have time to run to the laundry room after getting caught in the rain. A collapsible drying rack can fit in small spaces, and it can be a lifesaver for preventing mildewed clothes and towels when you’re short on time.
24. Under-the-Cabinet Baskets/Shelves
Under-the-cabinet baskets and shelves are another option to explore. These are made to fit around the pipes while giving you a way to double the amount of shelf space underneath the sink. If you share a bathroom, then consider dividing the space in half using the shelves to make it easier to grab what you need.
25. Create a System for Yourself
Finally, the best hack of all is to create a system that works for you. If you know that you’ll remember to rotate your clothes when you go home for the holiday break, then make enough space for just your fall or spring wardrobe. Or you might need to create double the amount of room if you know you’ll forget to swap things out.
Get Help from a Professional Organizer
We hope you enjoyed these dorm room storage ideas and organization pointers we’ve listed here and found them helpful. Conversely, there are so many tips and tricks that go into planning an organized dorm room, and you might find that you lack the time to do it right when you’ve got orientation and other college life events filling up your calendar. If so, then contact our professional organizers today. We’ll help you with new dorm room storage ideas and set up a room that feels more like home, while also setting you up for success.