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Sharing a small space with a total stranger might be the most challenging part of going to college. On top of establishing personal boundaries, you must also find room for your personal belongings. Needless to say, you’ll have to be savvy about dorm room storage.
Luckily, there are plenty of organizational hacks and storage solutions out there to help you save space and cut the clutter. That way you can focus on class rather than cleaning.
1. Bedside Caddy
Your bedside table is a catch-all for books, water bottles, chargers and other important items. However, if your dorm room is too small to accommodate this piece of furniture, a bedside caddy will work just as well. Keep your creature comforts close by without sacrificing floor space with this handy hanging pocket. Look for ones with multiple compartments to keep your belongings organized. Others come as a folding shelf with cupholders so you can bring that glass of wine to bed with you.
2. Under-Bed Bins
Lots of college students use the space beneath their beds to store shoes, books and clothes. If you plan to do the same, be sure to use under-bed bins to keep everything neat and organized. Choose clear, plastic bins with lids if you’re worried about bugs or dust. Otherwise, fabric baskets can serve as drawers and hold everything from emergency chocolate to extra bedsheets.
3. Basket Tower
When you don’t have much floor space, you learn to think vertically. Now, instead of one unlidded basket, you have an entire tower of baskets. These wire organizers stack in several different ways and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Stack a few in the bathroom to organize toiletries or arrange a tower against your bedroom wall to act as makeshift, nail-free shelving.
4. Storage Cubes
Yes, storage cubes can take up a fair bit of space in a tiny dorm room. However, if you have a few extra feet to play around with, this piece of furniture can be a total game-changer. Arrange yours vertically or horizontally and fill the cubes with baskets or bins to hold school supplies, food and so much more. You can also leave the cubes empty and use them as open shelving.
5. Hanging File Folder
Your desk has to hold your laptop, phone, books, notepads, planners and all other school supplies. Ironically, these myriad items leave little room for studying or completing schoolwork. Luckily, you can keep handouts, syllabi and other important looseleaf documents off your desk and minimize clutter with a hanging file folder. This storage accessory is sleek and highly functional, leaving you more surface area for doing homework and attending virtual classes.
6. Over-the-Door Shoe Rack
There are a million and one ways to use an over-the-door shoe rack aside from storing shoes. Hang one behind your closet door and use it to organize pens, pencils, markers and other school supplies. Hair accessories, wall adapters, flavor packets and other small items can also fit in the plastic pockets. Plus, the transparent mesh or plastic material will allow you to easily locate whatever you need whenever you need it.
7. Utility Hooks
Storage hooks also have a plethora of uses, especially in dorms where using a nail and hammer is often off-limits. Because they rely on adhesive backing to stay put, utility hooks are the perfect solution to hanging everything from keys to hats. Use them in the shower to hang your loofah or in your closet to store extra scarves, belts and purses. You can even use them to temporarily hang curtains. When you move next year, those hooks won’t even leave a trace.
8. Rolling Storage Cart
If you still have adequate floor space after moving in furniture, add a rolling storage cart to your room. This portable storage solution can hold plants, pens, purses and more, acting as a catch-all for random odds and ends. A rolling cart can also become a bar cart, coffee station or snack shelf depending on your needs, so it never hurts to keep one in a corner.
9. Stackable Makeup Holder
Ladies, does your nail polish collection take up most — if not all — of your bathroom vanity? Maybe it’s your makeup that’s taking up all the space. Either way, you could probably use a stackable holder in which to store everything. Organize your brushes in the top half and keep everything from jewelry to eyeshadow in the bottom.
You probably have a vision for what you want your dorm troom to look like, but small quarters might throw a wrench in your plans. Therefore, it’s best to stay flexible and keep an open mind. Odds are there’s a smart storage solution or hack out there for your dorm room woes. It just might look a little different from what you originally had in mind.