You know you’re going to be living in a small space come September. How? Because you’ve signed up for the experience of a lifetime — living in a dorm room. And whether you were lucky enough to snag a single or will be sharing with another student, chances are you’re going to need some advice on getting the most out of your space. No, we’re not talking a plastic divider so you can keep your pens and your paper clips from having a party in your desk drawer without you, we’re talking about some tricks and tips you may not have time to think of yourself. Sharing a little know-how from our dorm days is the least we can do. We know you’ve got a lot more on your plate than just optimizing your living space, and we also know how much smoother everything will seem when you’ve got that space together. So, check out our best space-saving tricks below.
Buy More Than One Closet Door Shoe Organizer
You can hang one of them on the back of your closet door and store shoes. Then you can hang another on the back of your entry door and store study snacks. Believe us, sometimes you're starving and heading to the commissary (or a vending machine) is just going to take too much time. That's when you want to grab a bag of gummy bears or brew up some ramen without taking a break from the books.
Pinterest User: Jody S.
Mattress Caddies Are Your Best Friend
These little fabric pockets are made to be secured between your mattress and box spring, removing the need for a bedside table. Use it to hold your mail, magazines and even your phone (which should double as your alarm), while you're dreaming of life after college.
Pinterest User: Buzzfeed
Instant Speakers in a Glass
Many a college student has taken up unnecessary space with external speakers. We know, they come pretty small these days, but every little bit of room you can free up on your desk helps. Need to have an impromptu dance party? Put your smart phone in a glass and turn it up. The tunes will be amplified for your listening pleasure. It's physics — just ask your professor.
Pinterest User: rlmcmurray
What a Bulletin Board is Really For
Since you've got important mail going in your mattress caddies, you're free to use those push pins to hang necklaces and bangles from your bulletin board. Hang earrings and rings or give them their own separate spaces via an ice tray.
Pinterest User: anjahj
Double Your Closet Space
No, seriously. All you have to do is start saving the tabs from soda cans now. When you hang up your stuff, put one tab over each hanger using one of its holes. It'll hang at the base of the hanger's hook. Now simply put a second hanger through the second hole of the tab.
Pinterest User: Buzzfeed
Shower Caddies Aren't Just for the Shower
Hang these on your walls with a hook and see all the storage space you just freed up on desk and table surfaces, and in drawers. Storage for what you ask? Notebooks, pens, pads of paper, USB drives — whatever you might need to grab fast on your way to class or a study group.
Pinterest User: Christa Dunn
File Away Dishes
No, you won't have a full-on kitchen, but you may have a microwave, which means you'll have a few plates. And even though you'll be washing them in the bathroom sink, you'll still need somewhere to put them after they're dry. We don't recommend under the bed; instead, use a tilted, vertical file folder rack. It takes up much less room than any dish drying rack.
Pinterest User: chrissypins
Tension Rod Space Savers
Dorm rooms frequently have small areas of wall space that can be utilized for storage. Like that foot between the corner of the room and those wall shelves no one but the university is allowed to move. Put up tension rods and hang belts, scarves or even hangers for some extra space.
Pinterest User: erikalyst
TP Rolls for Cords
Use toilet paper rolls to house wound up cords. Just cut one from end to end to make wrapping it around the cord easier or tape a piece of paper on the bottom to create a container to house thinner cords (like your phone charger). Feel free to scrawl your name on the roll or wrap it in colorful tape to personalize it. You can then tape it to the wall or tape them together in a nifty storage pyramid and never suffer lost cord confusion again.
Pinterest User: Sarah Royer
Use a Spice Rack for Hair Supplies
Any college woman will tell you it's time to master the art of the updo. You just don't have the time (or space) you did in high school to wash, blow dry and flat iron every day. So how do you manage to keep your hair ties, clips, bobby pins and elastic headbands all in one place? An inexpensive wall mounted spice rack, that's how.
Watch: Architect Your Space