How to keep a dorm room organized?


After several years of uncertain arrivals and departures from college, students and parents hope this semester’s move will be a return to normal. However, plenty of preparations are needed for a smooth transition. The list of necessities a student needs to live comfortably is long and the room is small.

Start doing your homework. Each school has information available on room sizes and layouts. If this information hasn’t been sent to you, search online for photos and measurements as knowing what you’re running into will help ensure your success.

Here are some ideas for maximizing space and keeping things organized all year round.

Use the space under the bed

Any information you can gather about the beds is essential. A room can have loft beds, captain’s beds (beds with built-in drawers and storage compartments underneath), or beds on standard frames. It is useful to know how much space you need to work with under and above your bed.

How to organize your home without spending a lot on containers and accessories

Any space under even a standard frame can be maximized with plastic bins, such as Sterilite’s 60 liter bins with latches ($24.99, These are great for storing boots and hats, thick sweaters, or extra toiletries. With booster beds, like Everbilt’s six-inch ones ($11.32 for four,, can add extra inches of storage space under the bed.

If your student has a loft bed, a portable nightstand, such as the Folding Cube Nightstand ($40,, where they can place appliances, books, or other small items can be helpful.

When you’ve made the most of the space under the bed, look up. An over-the-door organizer, such as the 24-pocket mesh shoe bag ($21.99,, can be used for shoes, umbrellas, cords, sunscreen, hats and gloves.

Small mirrors have been installed in some dorms, but if you’re looking for something bigger with added functionality, try Pottery Barn Teen’s Metal Grid Mirror ($199,, with hooks and a rack for storage.

Command hooks that attach with adhesive strips and do not damage surfaces are another way to make the most of even the smallest wall spaces. They come in different sizes and can hold jackets, hats, towels, umbrellas, backpacks or sports equipment. There are also Command caddies for office supplies, makeup and sunglasses. For all Command products, follow the directions and do not hang anything until the specified waiting time has elapsed. (Available in multiple locations; prices vary.)

Another option is to add storage space on top of dressers or desks. A small stackable drawer unit, such as the Sterilite Three Drawer Small Countertop Unit ($14.89,, may contain medicines and first aid supplies, cosmetics, jewelry, technical accessories or office supplies.

When furniture meets storage

A storage ottoman can be used to store extra clothes or essentials while also serving as a seat or small table. There are many affordable choices available in a variety of sizes, styles, and colors. The Rump Roost from Scout ($66.50-$74.50 for a large, is lightweight and easy to clean, and can be folded flat when not in use.

Consider installing a cube shelving system, such as Ikea’s Kallax unit ($34.99,, next to the bed for extra storage that is affordable and versatile. You can add bins or leave the spaces open.

And three-level rolling carts like the Lexington cart ($29.99,, are lightweight and affordable options for storing food, books, clothes, laundry supplies, or toiletries.

A handheld vacuum, such as the Brigii mini vacuum, air duster, and hand pump ($38.53,, is useful for small messes. And something that helps students organize their devices and associated chargers is vital. Try Waitiee’s three-in-one wireless charger ($30.59, Make sure students have multiple power strips and an extension cord so they are easily accessible.

Reusable pouches, such as those from Stasher (sizes and prices vary,, are also useful for organizing cords, medicines, credit cards, money, and writing implements. And thin hangers, like the Squared Away Non-Slip Slim Hangers ($35 for 50,, or multi-layer hangers, such as the Chrome Four-Piece Pant Hangers with Swivel Arms ($10.99,, will maximize the limited hanging space in a closet.

Finally, don’t forget to clean up before you go. Having the right storage in a dorm room will go a long way in keeping things orderly, but even the most organized spaces can’t hold a lot of excess. Make smart decisions about what to take with you. Less is more when it comes to college life; you have less to keep track of and your roommates will thank you.

Nicole Anzia is a freelance writer and owner of Neatnik. She can be reached at [email protected].

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