10 Dorm Hacks To Maximize Your Small Space

When you first arrive at your college dorm room, it may not seem like you have a lot of space, especially if you’re used to having a room to yourself. That is certainly something I experienced upon moving into my school freshman year; I went from having a decent amount of space at home to squeezing into a forced triple with two random roommates. (Roommates who ended up becoming some of my best friends, but not everyone is so lucky.) When I first looked around the room, I wondered how the heck we were going to fit everything into the limited area that I had, but with the help of my mother and an extensive trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond, I was able to organize everything and have extra storage space left over.

Stressed about squeezing your twenty pairs of shoes into your room? It can be done. Below are some foolproof dorm hacks to help your dorm seem roomier and to help keep your stuff organized.

1. Command strips are your best friend.


If I could go back to my freshman year self and tell her one thing, this would be it. Most schools are going to charge you a fine for property damage if you nail pictures into the wall and I learned the hard way that off-brand wall-hanging putty has varying degrees of reliability. Let me save you the energy and confirm that command strips are 100% the way to go when hanging decorations on your wall. They’re super easy to use and when you peel them off, they leave behind no trace that they were ever there in the first place. Command hooks are great, too, for hanging purses in the back of your closet or hand towels on the wall by your sink.

2. Store in a shoe hanger.


Shoe hangers can certainly be for your shoes–I have a snazzy teal one for my sandals and sneakers at school–but they don’t necessarily have to be. You can use them to hold gloves, scarves, accessories, hair products, nail polish… Really, anything that you don’t want to sit on top of your desk. Keep one in the back of your closet or hang one on your door to create extra storage space.

3. Actually, organizers of any kind are great.


There are bed organizers for people who don’t want to clutter up their nightstands, bathroom organizers to keep all your stuff together, and even mini fridge organizers for people who want a place to put their silverware. There’s an organizer for everything and you definitely need at least one.


4. Create a bra hanger.


Bras can take up more space than you’d think, but a bra hanger is a simple way to keep them contained to one area. There’s also the added benefit of having all of your options in one place right in front of you so that you can truly choose the best bra for your upcoming occasion. (Or you can just grab one as you grouchily nurse your hangover, put your hair up in a messy bun, and trudge to your nine A.M. No judgment.)

5. Make a magnetic makeup board.


Honestly, this is one of the most brilliant dorm hacks I have ever seen. Get a cute magnetic board (or decorate it to make it cute), glue little magnets to all of your favorite Sephora products, and stick them onto the wall! This is functional because you’ll have all of your makeup in one place so it won’t get lost, while also being decorative and informative. If your friends ask what you want for your birthday, a subtle head nod in the direction of your makeup board is all they need to figure out your style.

6. Don’t forget about that space under the bed.


For things that you don’t necessarily need to have on display–your spare towels and sheets, a first aid kit, your diary with your innermost thoughts, for example–utilize storage bins that are small enough to fit under your bed. There’s more space under there than you think there is and if you get stackable ones, you can fit a bunch of things down there. Pick out some nice ones that are similar in color to your other dorm decor and stow away your stuff!


7. Invest in some seating that folds up.


When you have guests over, it’s nice to have some extra chairs for them to sit in, but it’s nice to have the extra space when it’s just you. If you’re going to get some seating for your dorm room, get a chair that can fold up so that you can hide it away when you aren’t using it. Folding saucer chairs are pretty popular in my dorm and they’re super comfy, too. My suitemate from last year had one and I think I sat in it more often than she did.

8. Charge up with a power strip.


Getting a power strip will help you keep electronics in one place so that you can keep track of all your chargers. They can be simple so that they don’t distract from your decorations or you can decorate them to match the theme of your room. That way, you only need one outlet to give power to all of your devices at once!

9. Loft your bed for the ultimate hideout.


If you don’t mind sleeping up high, lofting your bed will provide a lot more space and you can create your own little space underneath for when you want to be alone. Put your desk under there or throw in a chair and some string lights like this smart college student did. Curtains will give added privacy to introverts who are experiencing college dorm life.


10. Store jewelry in an ice cube tray.


It’s unconventional, but it works. You can keep it out on your desk or you can tuck it away into a drawer easily if you don’t want your earrings sitting out in the open.

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