Living in a dorm room tests your space-saving and sharing skills like nothing else. One small room serves as a bedroom, study, living room, and kitchenette for you and maybe another person. That’s close quarters.
For roommate harmony and to simply have space to walk around, you need organization and smart storage. Here are seven dorm room essentials to maximize that precious square footage.
1. Store Under the Bed
The bed takes up the most dorm room space, so make the most of the area above and below your mattress. If you can loft the bed, do. You can put a small dresser, storage cubes, and other items underneath.
“If you’re used to tossing your stuff, tossing it into a concealed container will appeal to your habits and will also keep the room from getting messy,” says organizer Felice Cohen, author of “90 Lessons for Living Large in 90 Square Feet (…or more).”
If lofting isn’t an option, then use bed risers to create more storage. You may not be able to fit a dresser under the bed, but the extra height allows you to fit storage bins, cubes, and plastic drawers. Store sweaters, books, and basic kitchen supplies under the bed. Vacuum-seal bags work well for storing things you won’t need anytime soon.
2. Store Above the Bed
“Make the most of the vertical space on the walls with hooks, corkboards, magnetic dry erase boards, or wall pockets,” says Nancy Haworth, founder of On Task Organizing in Raleigh, North Carolina. Wall pockets are hanging storage bags that let you keep your phone, keys, and supplies out of the way.
Don’t have a nightstand? Try a bed butler. These handy products slide under the mattress to stay secure. A pocket hangs by the side of your bed for you to store glasses, your phone, books, and whatever else you need handy.
3. Maximize Desk Space
Second to the bed, the desk takes up lots of space. Give yourself extra room for books by stacking shallow shelves on top.
Instead of stacking shelves, you can buy a hutch to maximize wall space and give you a spot for books, a printer, schoolwork, and even a small lamp. Find one used, and paint it your favorite color.
On the desktop, Haworth recommends laptop risers and monitor stand organizers.
4. Hang From the Doors
Over-the-door shoe racks, shelves, and towel racks are a great way to store lots of smaller items such as toiletries, laundry detergent, socks, scarves, and, well, shoes. Hang one on your main door, your closet door, or both.
Over-the-door hooks give you an easy way to hang towels and bathrobes and that sweater you wear every day. Get an over-the-door hook with multiple prongs so you and your roommate both have hanging space.
5. Use Command Hooks
Command hooks help keep your headphones, towels, bathrobe, laundry bag, and other items off the floor. You can use them just about anywhere for anything: in the closet for scarves, belts, and bags; near your bed for jewelry; near the front door for backpacks, coats, and hats.
Attach small command hooks to your bed frame and desk to keep your phone charger from getting tangled and lost. For cool college room decor, use command hooks to string Christmas lights.
6. Group Similar Things Together
Keep like items together. “Having all your T-shirts in one drawer, all toiletries in one cubby, and all workbooks on one shelf not only looks neat, but like things ‘stack’ better together,” says Cohen. “Also, it keeps you abreast of what you have and helps save money by not buying duplicates.”
7. Find Double-Duty Furniture
Dorm rooms don’t offer much space for extra furniture. If you can add anything, make it functional. Storage ottomans and benches give your friends a place to sit and you extra space for blankets, sheets, towels and other belongings.
A dresser can serve double duty as a nightstand for a lofted bed. Add extra pillows to your bed to give it a sofa appearance for when friends come over. Curtains jazz up the look of a dorm room and hide storage shelves and cubes.
Living in a dorm room not only gives you independence from the family, it’s also a great exercise in paring down your stuff and staying organized. Once you move off campus, maintain your new organizing habits with student packages from CORT Furniture Rental.