Organizing Your Dorm Room for a Great Year Ahead

Storage Basics

August 5th, 2022

We know that sending your college student off to school can come with a mixture of emotions. Even though they are an “adult” by the world’s standards, they’re still your child. So, being the good parent that you are, you probably want to help your kid start off on the right foot. One way to do so is by helping them feel at home and settled in their new living space. Which may lead you to wonder: How do I go about organizing a dorm room?

Look no further; we’ve got you covered! We did some research and compiled a list of the top tips, tricks and items that will help you in organizing a dorm room.

Measure and Make a Game Plan

For the best possible outcome, measure everything ahead of time—starting with the room. That’s right, we are suggesting you get the measurements of the space before you do anything else. Look online at the school or apartment’s website, make a phone call to the office, do a Google search, or inquire on a Facebook page or group. Do what you can to find this valuable piece of information and it will be worthwhile! From there, you can plan what furniture or other items to bring.

Speaking of those items, make sure you’re looking at their dimensions as well! There’s nothing worse than hauling a piece of furniture up to a dorm room only to discover it doesn’t fit. No one needs an extra stressor on the big move-in day. So remember: measure, measure, measure!

Utilize Under Bed Storage

Most dorm rooms will provide a bed, desk, and dresser or closet. If you can, lift your bed up as high as possible to create a loft. You can ask the maintenance staff for help with this adjustment. Or, if the bed is not made to lift, you can buy or rent a loft kit. An even more affordable option is to purchase bed risers like these.

The reason raising the bed is so important is that it allows you to use under bed storage solutions to organize your dorm room. Most dorms include a Twin XL as the standard bed, so plan your storage systems accordingly. Yes—you guessed it—that means a little more measuring! As you shop, consider functionality. There are so many options from bins and boxes to drawers and shoe racks that can all hide under the bed. Most of these items even have options with wheels so you can access your things more easily. You can store almost anything under the bed: bulky clothes, cleaning supplies, snacks and more.

Pro tip: If you don’t like the way under bed storage looks, you can always buy a bed skirt or a queen size comforter to drape over and make things look more aesthetically pleasing.

Maximize Vertical Space

No matter what the measurements of the room may be, you can count on the room being tight. So, you’ll need to get creative. Hint: Look up! You might be surprised to discover all you can do with vertical space. So, here are a few vertical storage ideas to keep in mind while organizing a dorm room.
The room will likely provide a desk. One great way to increase your precious storage space is to add a desk hutch. This will also allow you to set up a comfortable, functional workstation to increase productivity. Desk hutches come in a variety of sizes and create a space for books, supplies and other items. We’ve even seen people add a hutch above their bed to create a headboard with storage!
For smaller items that go on the desk or other surfaces, stacking modulars like makeup organizers and little drawers are perfect. Magazine boxes are also a clever way to store your things because they can be placed on shelves and filled with practically anything.
For clothes, towels, bags, belts and shoes, invest in over-the-door organizers. Or, command hooks are another great option. A hook is a perfect place to hang keys by the door. In a small closet, hanging organizers are helpful. In these you can place shoes, rolled up bulky items such as sweatpants or sweatshirts, towels or even a shower caddy. For the ladies, a hanging jewelry organizer is a must-have. Last tip for the closet: Buy velvet or felt hangers. These are wonderfully slim to maximize the amount of clothing you can hang.
For your dresser, be sure to look up the file folding method for folding your clothes. This allows you to fit twice as many clothes within a drawer as other folding methods. Or, you may also want to consider buying cloth drawer bins to keep things organized and tidy.
Pro tip: You don’t have to bring all of your clothes for the whole year. There’s no way it’ll all fit. So, decide what you’ll need for the first few months of the year and then switch things out when home for break.

Find Multi-Use Furniture

While you won’t have room for a lot of extra furniture, you can get creative while organizing a dorm room. One way to do so is to implement pieces that are multi-functional. For example, if you have your bed lifted to a loft, you could buy a 3-cube organizer and set it up vertically as your nightstand. You could also use a rolling cart with multiple shelves. These can be even less bulky but still provide extra storage for things like a charging station, small fan or books. Cube organizers are also a great option for an entertainment station. Place a small television on top and store games, movies, snacks and more all within the cubes.

Another multi-use piece is a storage stool. This provides a little extra seating, another place to hide things and doesn’t take a lot of space. Do a little research and you’ll find a lot of fun pieces like this you could add to your room.

Well, do you feel ready now? We sure hope so! We wish you the best of luck and hope you found some helpful ideas for organizing a dorm room. Have a great year!