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Dorm Room Tips: Making the Most Out of Small Living

dorm room tips

It’s that time of year again! College kids across the country are packing their parents’ minivans and heading back to school. But those who live on campus will be returning to the struggle of living in an itty-bitty dorm room.

Whether it’s the first year you’ve lived in a dorm or the fourth, living in a small, shared space can be tough. Where are you supposed to put all your stuff? How do you stay organized when you only have one half of a very small room?

With these dorm room tips and tricks, you can kiss the mess goodbye and make the most out of your tiny living space.

Raise Your Bed

This is one of the most important dorm room tips. Most colleges provide students with beds that can be raised up, providing a lot of necessary storage space underneath. I recommend raising your bed just high enough to fit the school-issued dresser beneath it. You probably still have a lot of room under there, so add some stackable plastic drawers for even more organized storage. This is also a great place to keep your laundry bag or basket (preferably toward the, uh, foot of the bed).

Change up the Layout

It’s not against the rules to move the school-issued furniture around – but so many students just leave the layout the way they found it! Try different ways of configuring the beds, desks and drawers to give you and your roommate maximum space. A great trick is to try placing the beds against two adjoining walls, instead of against the opposite walls. With your beds at a right angle, you’ve suddenly eliminated the weird, useless corridor between them. It instantly makes the room look a lot bigger and brighter.

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Make the Most of Your Closet Space 

Your assigned closet will probably be quite narrow, but that’s all right. There are many organizational tools on the market for this specific problem. I recommend utilizing an accordionlike cloth set of hanging shelves. You can slide it to the side of your closet and instantly double the amount of clothes you can store in there. This is great for clothes that don’t need to be hung up, like T-shirts, jeans and sweats (aka the college kid uniform). You’ll read a lot of dorm room tips that suggest doing this for shoes as well, but I would only do that if you can find a set of hanging shelves that is very narrow.

Live the Micro-Fridge Lifestyle

A micro-fridge is basically a minifridge with a microwave attached to the top. Many schools rent these out to their students, and I highly recommend taking them up on that offer. It’s not a five-star kitchen, but it’s an efficient way to store some snacks or cook up some emergency ramen. There are tons of microwave meals for college students who waited too long to finish their essay and now they have to do the whole thing the night before it’s due. You’ll thank yourself for the micro-fridge then.

dorm room tips

Organize Your Desk

Your desk is where a lot of your work is going to end up, so you’d better keep it organized. If your desk didn’t already come with one, try picking out a desk hutch for added storage. A desk hutch is a little unit of shelves that you can put on top of your desk. You’ll still have room to work, but you’ll also have a place to store your books. Use little bins or boxes to segment the space inside your desk drawers so you can always find what you’re looking for. Some desk lamps even come with pencil holders attached at the base, which is a cute way to save desk space.

Utilize Your Wall Space

Hey, it’s free real estate. I don’t know of any college that lets students drill holes into walls, but temporary fixtures like Command Hooks can be just as good! Using walls to store your (more attractive) items can double as form and function. Got a huge necklace collection? Use hooks or a corkboard to hang them on instead of hiding them away in a bulky jewelry box. You can use walls to display and store hats, handbags, scarves and more.

Coordinate With Your Roommate

One of the most efficient ways you can make the most out of your dorm room space is to coordinate with your roommate. Before you move in together, make sure each person knows what they’re supposed to bring. You don’t want to wind up with two rugs, two TV sets and two coffee makers. When you coordinate with your roommate to share the space, there’s no limit to what you can do. Well, no limit besides the college’s rules.

Check out our list of top 10 college dorm essentials for more dorm room tips! 

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