Cramming for exams is old hat, but cramming everything you own into a tiny dorm room is a brand new challenge for college freshmen.
The only way to fit all your belongings into a room designed for a mouse with one change of clothes is to get clever about storage. Use some of these professional organizer tricks to make room for storage where there isn’t any.
Go Down Low
Under-the-bed storage is one of the prime pieces of dorm room real estate. This area is key for holding everything you don’t know what to do with. There are a couple of options that will give you more floor space or storage. If your dorm rules allow it, you could turn the two twin beds into bunks. Or, you could “loft” your bed, raising it enough to allow a desk and storage underneath it.
For many, the solution is to simply put your bed frame on four risers. These tall feet give you extra room under your bed. Use totes or rolling under-the-bed storage boxes to hold out-of-season clothing, sports equipment, extra shoes and even food. A slide-out tote with a snap-on lid can be used to hold snacks as well as paper plates, a can opener and other essentials for snacking.
Rack Up On Closet Space
Be wise with the tiny closet you are allocated. You probably won’t be able to store everything like you did at home, but you can maximize what you put in there with a few tricks.
- Put off-season clothes in tubs under your bed. Switch when the weather changes.
- Add a second hanging rack. You can buy one rack that hangs from the other, sometimes called a closet doubler, in order to make more bar space.
- Use hangers that hold more than one garment. There are clip hangers and shirt hangers that hold multiples to save space.
- Fold clothes that don’t need to hang. Use every inch of space at the top of the closet or on shelves for folded items.
- Store shoes in a pull-out tote under your bed and use the floor of your closet to stack folded sweaters and sweatshirts.
Close the Door
There is a big blank spot on the back of the door to your room or bathroom—use it to create more storage. There are many over-the-door organizers that can help you cram more of your stuff into the tiny dorm room, such as this shoe keeper. You can also add over-the-door towel racks or coat hooks to hold all your jackets and backpacks.
Even with dorm rules that prohibit you from attaching whiteboards or corkboards to the wall, you can still stay organized. RoomMates Wall Decals peel right off without damaging the wall or paint. There are also removable Dry Erase and CHalk Wall Decals that stick right to the wall. These decals allow you to post deadlines for projects and important reminders and utilize wall space that would otherwise go unused.
Do Double Duty
Some dorm rooms have a tiny bit of space for you to add a nightstand or an end table. If you have the space to bring extra furniture into your dorm room, make sure that it does double duty. A tower of drawers can serve as an end table and hold extra items. Choose something that not only fits that space but gives you plenty of extra storage to use.
The best tip of all is to be careful when packing. If you didn’t wear it or use it back home, you probably won’t start now. Only take clothes you really enjoy wearing and only pack things that you already use.
Organizing expert Lea Schneider provides hacks for tiny dorm room living for The Home Depot. Her tips on storage are designed to help you optimize the space you have and avoid clutter as much as possible. You can research a selection of storage bins and components, including several discussed by Lea, on Home Depot’s website.