The tassels have been turned and the yearbooks signed – it’s off to college! Whether you are an incoming freshman, or a fifth year senior, living the dorm lifestyle can be a challenge. Most the time, a dorm room serves as the bedroom, living room, study, dining room and kitchen – all in a very small space. The key to living comfortably in a dorm is function and organization. Here are some tips to making the most of your space. (Note: Make sure storage ideas comply with your schools regulations.)

Before you even think about storage options, you must decide what you are taking along.  As your English teacher used to say, edit, edit, edit! It is natural to want to bring all your cherished memories from home, but as you will quickly learn, there isn’t always space for all your photos or the Precious Moments figurine from your sweet 16 birthday party.  Chose a few memories that can be functional, such as a souvenir mug doubling as a place for pens and markers, and your favorite t-shirts made into bed pillows. Instead of lugging a bunch of framed photos up to the room, invest in a digital photo frame.

Now where to put everything you brought; there are tons of great storage products on the market, many specifically designed for dorm living. The trick is to make the most of the limited space you have. Consider:

Slide it and hide it: What’s under your bed? Stackable drawers fit singley, or you can opt for low bins on rollers. Vacuum seal bags slide under pretty easily too, but make sure the contents are not items you will  need on a regular basis. Bed too low? Risers are a great option to gain several inches of much needed space.

Hang it: Did you get stuck with the top bunk? Try using the ceiling to maximize storage space.  Use a few self-adhesive hooks and hang

a three tiered wire fruit basket or a mesh toy hammock.  No more climbing up and down to retrieve the remote, headphones or your journal.

Hang more: Wall and door racks provide a myriad of storage options. Racks with hooks are great for belts, scarves, towels, robes, clothing, and handbags. Racks with pockets take care of shoes, toiletries, jewelry, make-up, and small clothing items.

Stack it: When floor space is limited, look up! Anything stackable makes use of space top to bottom rather than left to right. A desk top is restricted until you add a shelf and some stackable bins and drawers that are available in every conceivable shape and size.  Several bin-type drawers on the floor won’t work; one with more stacked on top will! You get the idea – look up!

The university might provide the bed, desk and dresser, but you will provide the personality.  Whether it’s a soothing color scheme, your favorite posters or extra shelving for your books, make your dorm room functional and fun so it easily becomes your home away from home.

About Alejandra

About Alejandra

Since 2008, organizing expert & certified life coach, Alejandra Costello has taught thousands of students in 132 countries how to get organized through her video-based training programs. Her YouTube videos have been viewed 100+ million times. Named 1 of the 5 most organized people in America by HGTV and “The Decluttering Queen” by Good Morning America, Alejandra’s expertise has been featured in The New York Times,, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Woman’s Day, Parents Magazine, and CBS. 


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