If you’re just starting your first year of college, congratulations, and if you’re returning to campus for another year, welcome back! Whether you’re new in town or a seasoned vet, the beginning of the school year is always stressful. It’s a rush of setting up furniture, going on multiple trips to Target, navigating where your classes will be, and so much more. Space-saving room décor is essential to keeping your dorm room organized. Here’s everything you need to organize your new space to perfection. Keep interests on display as conversation starters; framed family photos, favorite books and movies, and sports memorabilia all let you showcase your tastes and help break the ice. College is about learning, growing, and discovering yourself as an adult, and honing your style and organizing your room are key components of that growth. You and your dorm room (or apartment) are bursting with potential, so let’s get busy organizing with these dorm organizers!
Dorm Room Organization Must-Haves
First things first, you need to make sure your bed is as comfy as possible after long days of back-to-back classes and studying. The Mellanni Sheet Set boasts close to 250,000 reviews on Amazon and is the No. 1 best seller in the sheet & pillowcase section. They’re soft, silky smooth, and a solid addition to your first (or second) dorm room.
The mDesign storage unit works as both a dresser and a side table, which is perfect for dorm rooms since they only include the bare minimum furniture pieces. The removable fabric bins have handles for convenient opening and closing, and the wood top gives you space to keep your phone, lamp, clock, coasters, and anything else you want right next to your bed.
A mini fridge and microwave are essentials when living in a small space, especially if you’re sharing it with another person. You’ll need a dependable stock of popcorn, energy drinks, Gatorade, Ramen noodles, mac and cheese, and Pop-Tarts for when nearby campus cafes and stores are closed at night. Check all your boxes with this BLACK+DECKER bundle that will (hopefully) last all four years.
Get ready for many hot, hot nights ahead of you. Some older dorms don’t have air conditioning, so you need to get creative about staying cool – and a box fan is the easiest! The Hurricane 20-inch model has a quiet but powerful motor with a slim frame, plus a power cord compartment that makes it easy to stow.
Stuck with the top bunk and fretting about where to store your phone at night? The Loghot bedside organizer puts everything within reach when you’re inches from the ceiling. Sling it over the metal bar on the side of your bunk, take advantage of the large main pocket, nets on both sides, roomy outside pockets, and metal hooks. You can also stick it on the back of a chair or the side of a desk.
The Limelights durable desk lamp is the best of both worlds (cue the Hannah Montana soundtrack, please). It has a flexible neck, charging outlet, and space for your trusty pens and highlighters. I had the pink version of this in college, and it lasted me all four years.
Two words: communal bathrooms. Be ready for them. This shower caddy with sturdy handles will hold everything you need to bring with you for morning and nighttime routines. The breathable mesh ensures proper ventilation and features seven roomy pockets. It even has a hook to attach your keys for safekeeping.
Dorm room closets are usually pretty small, so a hangable shoe rock is a great way to save space. The Gorilla Grip organizer can fit up to 12 pairs of shoes and hold up to 40 pounds of weight. No hardware is necessary to set this up – all you need to do is put the included hooks over the door, and you’re good to go.
Geometry is the name of the game with these handy storage cubes. The four-pack of interlocking wire cubes ensures a neat and tidy display that’s easy to put together and take apart. Each cube holds up to 10 pounds, and you can stack it vertically, side-by-side, or horizontally. We recommend using them as snack cubbies or clothing storage in your closet. Some reviewers say they’re a little wobbly, but that problem can be remedied with zip ties.
An ottoman acts as both a place to sit and a convenient storage space. The CoCo Living ottoman is foldable, lightweight, and simple to move around the room. This model comes in three different sizes and a variety of colors to match whatever décor you settle on.
Grab a few command hooks and go to town with this extra large wire basket that can hold anything your heart desires, from toiletries to school supplies to snacks. I’ve got three of these in my apartment now, and I wish I had known about them when I was a college student. They’re inexpensive, durable, and can be stuck on the wall basically anywhere.
Laundry will mount up fast now that you have to pay for it, so a pop-up hamper is a cheap way to store your dirty clothes. The mesh material helps defend against moisture and odor, and the flexible frame can be folded flat whenever you need it.
If you live in a college town and plan ahead, you can buy one of these used when students move out at the end of the school year and save it for August. Otherwise, they’re available year-round online. Great for anyone with food allergies or religious considerations that require them to keep certain foods from mixing, they’re also useful if your roommates keep eating your last snack without asking.
Velvet hangers add a touch of luxury to your closet. These kinds of hangers are incredibly useful because the smooth edges prevent garments from being creased and each one is strong enough to support heavier fabrics. The sets come in a few striking color combinations and you can choose from a 24-pack, 30-pack, 50-pack or 100-pack.
Keep your class materials organized in bright pastel colors and an expanding file folder/document organizer. You can stow worksheets, essays, exams, and notes in five secure, expandable pockets that are always within reach. Your purchase includes tab stickers to label each pocket accordingly. The organizer has over 10,000 reviews on Amazon, with 80% being five stars.
Wondering how you’re going to store big, heavy winter coats and sweaters for the coming months? If you’ve got room under your bed, take advantage of it and use under-bed bags. Each bag has four sturdy handles and is made from breathable, transparent fabric that keeps all items inside fresh. They can be folded flat when not in use.
Go green when eating late-night Ramen noodles with a portable stainless steel flatware set. The eight-piece kit includes a fork, knife, spoon, set of chopsticks, cleaning brush, bent straw, straight straw, and a slim carry case. Each utensil is lightweight, easy to clean, and helps reduce your plastic consumption.
Space-Saving Dorm Decor
A dorm room isn’t complete without twinkle lights! This 66-foot string comes with a remote control that can be used to turn them on and off, change brightness and adjust to one of eight settings: waves, sequential, slogs, chasing/flash, slow fade, twinkle/flash, and steady on. They’re warm, atmospheric and ultra Instagram-worthy.
Not into the lights? That’s fine, here’s an extremely customizable, clip-on collage for your photos, ticket stubs, and other memorabilia onto this easy-to-display photo wall. Though it’s designed to be permanently mounted, plenty of design hackers are out there with ideas for keeping art on display without sacrificing your deposit. Using zip ties, Command hooks, or BluTac, there’s always a way to showcase your aesthetic without your wallet suffering too much for it.
Kick up the cozy factor with a shag rug. The non-slip underside means you won’t be sliding all over the place when rushing to make your 8 a.m. class (pro tip: get those out of the way as SOON as possible). Each one is made from plush microfiber fabric, and you can choose from four different sizes and a wide range of colors. It’ll make movie nights with your pals much more comfortable.
These vintage-inspired travel posters intersect so many interests, from space exploration to art and design and more, that they’re an awesome choice to decorate common areas. The eight-print pack is large enough to create a unifying theme or art wall, whether they’re framed or simply tacked to a wall.