college dorm organizing

How to Tackle Dorm Organization

Can you believe it is time to head back to school? Summer is starting to wind down, and it’s time to start preparing for a new year. If you’re a college student, you have more to worry about than which cartoon character you want on your lunchbox, or whether you can convince your mom to buy you the 64-pack of crayons. Your biggest question might be about dorm organization. How in the world will you keep all of your stuff organized in such a tiny space?!

We at AFS love to make the most of even the smallest spaces, and we’ve got your back. It can seem like the challenge of a lifetime to fit your beloved wardrobe into a space the size of a broom closet. You may think it’s impossible to really keep all your books and supplies in order. But with a little creativity and thoughtful planning, even a dorm room can be a highly functional space that feels like a slice of home.

Here are our favorite ways to organize a dorm room.

Max Out Your Closet Space

For starters, use slim profile hangers that take up less space than plastic ones. Shoes can be stored in a simple over the door organizer, or if you have the floor space, use stacking organizers or bins. Keep your jewelry neat and easily accessible with a hanging organizer. Think of your closet as a blank slate, and consider exactly how much you need to have in it. Find furniture and tools such as a small cubby unit or hanging bag that will fit whatever items you need to store. Your dorm closet may be smaller than what you’re used to, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style.

Create a Bathroom Kit

When you oversleep but still desperately need to shower before class, the last thing you need is a 6 AM scramble to find your shampoo. Take a good look at everything you’ll want to take with you to the bathroom in the morning and at night. Find a shower tote that will fit everything nicely, and then designate a space to store it. Installing a shelf or small storage cart right beside the door will make your tote easy to grab on the way out. Over the door hooks are the perfect way to keep your towel nearby, too (your fellow dorm residents might be scarred for life if you forget to take your towel with you to the shower… trust me on that one).

A Tidy Desk is Key

Unfortunately, “My dog ate my homework” is still a completely invalid excuse in college, but “I couldn’t find my homework” is even worse. Once you know your class schedule for the semester, set up binders or folders with dividers to keep your work and notes organized on the go. Find desktop accessories that you love to encourage you to keep paper, writing utensils, and other supplies neatly stored. If your desk surface is tiny, use wall hanging files or a small unit of drawers to keep your surface clear for those late night paper-writing sessions. Keep your most-used essentials tucked away in a drawer with small dividers and trays. Tidy up your charging cords and computer cables with clips or Velcro ties.

Create Zones Based on YOUR Needs

The key to dorm organization is making spaces for different activities. Think about the rooms you use most often in your house or your family’s home. Kitchen? Living room? Now, just make small scale versions of those spaces in your room. Need a place for snacks and coffee? Stock a small storage cart with drawers, and voila! Your very own kitchen area. Use a comfy chair and a storage ottoman to keep a throw blanket and a good book close by. The ottoman, of course, makes a perfect foot rest after a long day. And it doubles as an extra seat when you invite a friend over. You don’t need a bulky couch or a coffee table to create a cozy living room!

Make a list of what you’ll most often be doing in your room. Then use that list to store items in their respective zones around the space. You’ll always have exactly what you need, right where you need it.

Think Vertical

Even though dorm rooms are typically small (and feel even smaller if you have a roommate), you can compensate for the minimal square footage. How? Use your vertical space. Hang hooks on the walls to keep your purse, lunchbox, or backpack out of the way. A corkboard is a classic way to keep notes or photos from covering up your furniture surfaces. But if that’s not your style, don’t be afraid to think creatively and install hanging organizers or even small baskets to capitalize on wall space and store lightweight items. Use stacking storage bins to keep the floor clear. Create even more functional storage space under your bed with a set of handy risers. You might have to jump to get into bed, but you might be surprised how much more you can stash under there with another several inches of space.

Don’t Stress

Even with these helpful tips, organizing your dorm room can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’ve STILL got your back—we’ll do it for you! Contact us today, and we’ll make sure you have an organized, happy “home away from home” this school year.



Photo Credit: The Container Store