11 Tips for Organizing a Dorm Room

Want to know how to make the most of your shoebox-sized dorm room? Give these space-stretching tips a try.

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Space-Saving Tips for Dorm Life

Spacious isn’t the first word that comes to mind when you think of the typical college dorm room. But you’ve got to fit all your stuff in there somehow. These dorm room organization tips help transform even the most cramped college dorm room into the well-ordered space of your dreams.

Think Vertically

The trick to organizing any small space is to think vertically. You can’t change the footprint of your room, but you can employ tall organization systems for maximum use of your available square footage. For example, go for stacking drawers, cubes or foldable bookshelves. Likewise, opt for a tall laundry hamper over a traditional short laundry basket. Just be sure to store heavy items on low shelves and in bottom drawers so your tall storage units don’t topple.

Keep Out-of-Season Clothes at Home

Skip the items college students don’t need. When you’re working with just a little space, you have to be intentional about what you bring into it. Start the school year with in-season clothing that can be layered when temperatures start to dip. Then do a seasonal swap out when you go home for fall break or the holidays.

Loft Your Bed

If your dorm room is like most, your bed is the biggest item in the space. When you hoist it up with a loft, you’ll free up all the area underneath for living space, storage space or both.

Use Bed Risers With Under-Bed Organizers

If your college doesn’t allow loft beds, you can still stretch your space with bed risers. Then put that freshly created area to good use with under-bed drawers or storage cubes outfitted with fabric bins. If this space is easy to access, store daily-use items like clothing, accessories, dishes or snacks.

Outfit Your Bed With Storage

Store night-time essentials like your phone, alarm clock, water bottle and lip balm on a shelf designed to clamp onto beds. Or use a bedside pocket organizer to conveniently stash reading materials, the TV remote or tissues.

Stretch Dresser Space

Make the most of your school-issued dresser by rolling or folding your clothes and storing them upright, standing on end, instead of flat. Not only does this save space, it makes your clothes easy to see, which prevents the messy aftermath caused by rummaging for favorite items.

Think Multi-Purpose

If you have room for non-school-issued furniture, opt for items with built-in storage. An ottoman, for example, can serve as an extra seat or foot rest, as well as a place to stash towels, bedding or shoes.

Use Space-Saving Hangers

Non-slip velvet hangers stretch precious closet space due to their slim and compact profile. Use them for everything from delicate sweaters and silky tops to blue jeans and heavy coats.

Double Up on Closet Space

A closet rod extender allows you to add a second rod to your closet — a terrific solution if you have short clothes and you’re short on hanging space. Alternatively, put the space below your hanging items to use with an organizer for shoes or a short laundry basket.

Don’t Overlook Your Doors

Put the back of your main door, bathroom door and/or closet door in play for storage. A multi-pocket organizer can hold shoes and cleverly stash toiletries, accessories or extra school supplies. Or go with an over-door mirror or hook for coats or robes — the latter a great option if there isn’t enough hanging space in the closet.

Roll With It

Use a wheeled utility cart to conveniently stow items in just about any unused space. If you have an in-room bathroom, load up your cart with toiletries, makeup, extra towels or toilet paper. In the main room, fill one with books or school supplies.

Aby Garvey
Aby Garvey is an organizing expert who believes organizing can be creative and fun—the more you love an organizing solution, the more likely you are to use it. She offers a variety of online classes that can help you get organized at her website simplify101.com.