Heading off to college is a huge milestone in life. It’s usually filled with a mixture of emotions for both parents and children, but at the forefront of emotions is excitement and happiness. Having a whole new space just for you, meeting new people, and taking that last step into becoming independent. It’s all fun and games, until you see the size of your dorm room.
While some colleges boast unbelievably large rooms, most of them are pretty small. Imagine a studio apartment where not 1, but 2 people are living, eating, and sleeping. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of clever storage opportunities and organizational hacks to optimize each and every square foot of your room. In order to get the most out of your experience, we’ve put together the top 10 tips to help you organize your dorm room.
Take Back Vertical Space
Vertical space is amazing. It’s usually unused for storage and doesn’t take up any added space of your living areas or floor room. In your college dorm room, take back every inch of vertical space that you can. Here are some of our favorites.
Over the Door Organizers
It doesn’t matter if you use an over the door organizer for your shoes, scarves, socks, bathroom essentials, towels, garbage bags, kitchenette accessories, snacks, etc. The important thing is that you use one! It can be one of those plastic hook hangers or you can get elaborate basket storage like the ones here. This will save you more room than you could imagine.
Tension rods are great for making an extra row of space in your closet to hang things. You can also create a curtain for your closet if your dorm room didn’t come with one or doesn’t have a door. This isn’t organization per se, but it will hide your closet interior which can give off a much more calming vibe.
In college, your laundry will pile up. It’d be nice to say it won’t, but given all of the new responsibilities that come with a college freshman, your laundry will be the last thing on your mind. Keep it off the floor and out of the way by utilizing a hanging hamper.
These are cooler than you’d think and are way more efficient than using up all of your precious drawer space. Most of them come with adhesives that won’t damage the wall and you can get them in tons of different styles. Store everything from school supplies to hair and makeup accessories.
Stock up on Command Hooks
It’s nearly impossible to get through college without a collection of command hooks. They don’t damage your walls and can be used for just about everything. Put one by your door so you never forget your keys, hang towels, sweatshirts, or umbrellas, decorate your room with art or framed pictures, and keep your backpack or purse out of the way.
Get a Desk Hutch
Each dorm room comes standard with a few things: a bed, a dresser, and a desk. The desks aren’t exactly optimized for storage, but you can increase their potential tenfold by getting a desk hutch. There are huge ones that you can get that will store all of your books or there are smaller ones just to give you a little extra space. Browse your options and pick one that is right for you, but definitely get one. They utilize that vertical space we talked about earlier and won’t make your desk feel cramped and unusable.
Side note: try using binder clips attached to the edge of your desk for effortless cord storage.
In addition to a hutch for your desk, look into getting a headboard for your bed that has added storage space. This gives you ample amount of room for any reading material, lamps, tissues, eyewear, or other items you like to keep close while sleeping (like your phone). There are tons of options for simple or elaborate headboards to choose from.
Raise Your Bed
If your college allows it, see if you can have your bed lofted. You’ll need to talk to someone ahead of time, as this is something that the schools will usually control, but it’s a great option to increase floor space if it’s available. If it’s not, purchase bed risers to boost your under-bed storage at least a little.
You can even find risers that have a built in power bank! Perfect for dorms with limited outlets. Regardless of how much you lift your bed, optimize your storage space by using every extra inch of space that it created. Measure underneath the bed and head off to Target or Walmart to find storage bins that compliment the space.
Get a Storage Footstool
If you raise your bed, even just a little, you might find that it’s not as easy to jump into as before. That’s where a footstool comes in. When shopping for footstools, find one that doubles as a storage bin. This will give you a ton of extra storage space for things like water bottles, movies, CDs, extra school supplies, socks, or anything else you can think of.
Buy a Shower Caddy
Unless you get lucky, most dorm rooms come with community bathrooms. That means you’ll have to carry all of your shower stuff in and out of the bathroom each time you take a shower. Purchase a shower caddy to make this journey much easier and to keep everything in one place in your room.
Create a “Kitchen Zone”
Most dorm rooms have a space for you to create your own mini kitchenette. This is a good time to coordinate with your future roommate. Maybe one of you will bring a microwave and some kitchen accessories and the other will bring a small refrigerator.
Whatever you do, include some type of adjustable shelving here. You can easily put a refrigerator underneath and then optimize otherwise unused vertical space to store coffee makers, paper towels, food items, cups, bowls, etc. Keeping your food in your room rather than a communal kitchen will save you a lot of frustration over the year.
Optimize Your Closet
If you’re used to having a large closet, the transition can be tough. In order to maximize the space in your closet, consider hanging closet shelves. This will give you way more room to fold your pants, pajamas, shirts, underwear, etc. and keep them organized and easy to grab. If you’re the type of person that likes to hang things, use soda can tabs over hangers to double your hanging space. You might need to play around with it a bit, but once you find something that works for you, stick to it.
Store Unnecessary Items
Finally, while you’ll likely want to bring everything you own into your college dorm room, it’s just not feasible. They’re too small to have non-essential items floating around and you (and your roommate) will quickly get annoyed of things taking up floor space.
Instead, rent a storage unit and store any unnecessary items. You can put any unused decorations, out-of-season clothing items, bulky sports equipment, suitcases, books, winter boots or coats, or anything that you might need later on in the year but don’t want in your room. You’ll be glad you did this once you see just how small your new space is.
Now comes the fun part… move in day! In addition to focusing on organization and storage, don’t forget to make your room your own. Print out pictures of family and friends, get comfortable pillows to make your bed the perfect reading nook, consider an accent rug and/or curtains, and bring any décor you want to have (that can be hung by command hooks). Making your college dorm room yours is a fun and creative experience so enjoy it!
Heading off to college is an exciting time. Don’t let the size of the rooms impact your life; instead, follow these 10 tips to help you organize your dorm room. If you do, you’ll optimize your living space while making the most out of those often unused nooks and crannies. Just remember, you don’t have to take everything with you to college. While you’re packing, create a few boxes of things that you’ll want to have near you, but that might not be easy to cram in your room. That’s what self storage units are for! The Lock Up Self Storage has storage units for everyone, regardless of your budget. Plus, all of our units are climate controlled and 100% secure with CCTV. Visit www.thelockup.com today to browse all of the available units in your area.