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Five Organization Ideas that Work Great for Dorm Rooms

Unless a college student receives a spacious or single occupant dorm room assignment as part of a scholarship, special program, or drawing-style lottery, they're likely going to deal with somewhat small and cramped living space on campus every term. If you're facing this type of living situation, the best way you can make your room as comfortable as possible is by staying organized. When thinking about dorm room organization, it's critical that you focus on using the available space in an efficient manner. Consider the following five organization ideas to improve efficiency:

Invest in a Whiteboard

If you use a sticky note and loose notebook paper reminders, it's time to consider a whiteboard. Many people easily lose or misplace these types of notes. Also, paper increases room clutter and creates unnecessary waste. It doesn't matter if you use paper for grocery lists or tracking a schedule or budget plan: an important sticky note, for example, can fall off your dorm room wall and disappear behind a piece of furniture. Loose sheet paper can fall out of a textbook or blow out of your hand in a strong wind. Worse yet, you might write a reminder in a study notebook and then forget about it because it's in the middle of your study notes. On the other hand, a whiteboard guarantees that you can keep track of important reminders with ease and reduce paper clutter. You can also edit your reminders with the simple swipe of an eraser and use of a dry erase marker. If you don't want to hang a heavy whiteboard, several adhesive whiteboard styles exist. For example, you can quickly and effortlessly attach large peel and stick dry erase whiteboard paper sheets to a wall. For study time, consider a small desktop or easel foldable whiteboard.

Install Portable Cubbyhole Bins

Cubbyhole units are great in general for storing items like shoes, umbrellas and even rolled up exercise or casual clothes. The problem though with these units is that they collect a lot of dust and dirt that makes cleaning them a chore and anything stored within them dusty. Also, they don't perform any dual function unless you place textbooks, knickknacks, picture frames or other items on top of the unit. To create a better storage solution, install portable bins with handle-style lids into the holes. Bins make it possible for you to protect items from dust. You can also clean them quickly by rinsing them off in a sink or wiping them down with a damp cloth. More importantly, you can use these bins as store-and-carry tools. For example, you might decide to store art supplies in one of them. You can then use the supplies as needed in your dorm or carry them with ease in the same bin somewhere else for a class or club project. Instead of investing in a separate shower caddy, you can put your daily health and hygiene supplies in one of these bins and carry it to the dorm bathroom. When you come back, you simply dry the bin and place it and the supplies back into its cubbyhole.

Hang Long Door Racks

Long door racks have been around for a while, but over the years manufacturers have shifted from producing primarily canvas cloth shoe holders to actual long shelving units made of wire, plastic, or wood. These racks make use of the empty space between the interior side of the closet door and the part of the closet where you've stored clothing on hangers. Additionally, you can hang one or more of these racks on your dorm room walls as long as you install strong hooks. A hanging door rack is a useful storage tool for shoes, of course, and socks and underwear. That said, these racks are also great for non-clothing items, such as extra bathroom supplies, laundry detergent, and even meal ingredients, microwaveable foods, beverages, snacks, and spices. If you hang one of these racks on your dorm wall, you can also use it to store jewelry, art supplies, small electronics or textbooks.

Add Under Bed Storage

Many college dorm room bed frames offer little in the way of under-bed storage space. Typically, they're built to rest close to the floor. As a result, students often purchase long under-bed plastic bins that offer a lot of space length- and depth-wise, but not so much in terms of height. You can really make the most use of the area under your bed with ease by simply adding bed risers to the legs of the bed frame so that you can raise it higher off the floor. Once you've added this additional space height-wise underneath the bed, the sky's the limit in regard to storage options. For example, you might add cubbyhole storage with bins. Other options include a tall shoe rack, short lid-style hampers on casters, pull-out drawer units or even a bookcase.

Use Multifunctional Furniture Pieces

You can optimize the space in the room with other types of furniture as well. For example, you might invest in a chair that has under-seat storage. If the room has a large window, you might position a long trunk or window box under it for storage and then add flat pillows to the top of the trunk or box to create a window seat. If you want to have a table for when friends or family visit, forget about folding tables and chairs. As long as your visitors don't mind sitting on pillows on the floor, you can optimize the space and storage by simply investing in four squat storage boxes or ottomans that feature pullout drawers and a loose, lightweight tabletop. Stack the boxes and use the drawers when you don't have company or use them as a footrest at your desk. When you have visitors, arrange the boxes on the floor so that they serve as supports under the four corners of your tabletop. With this arrangement, you can easily seat four people for a card game, study session or a meal.

These are only a few of the many ways that you can make your dorm room more organized. Other popular organization tools include adhesive wall hooks, stackable drawer dividers for deep drawers and thin vertical cart racks for storage in narrow spaces between furniture. It's important to keep in mind that when you create a well-organized dorm room, you can do more than take advantage of the available space. You can also make the area feel like a larger, less cramped room.