How To Organize Your Dorm, According To A Pro

Make the most of your tiny space.

How To Organize Your Dorm, According To A Pro
Photographed by Jessie Webster.

Most people will tell you college is a great time to make friends and try something new, but they seriously downplay how important it is to stay organized. See, the average dorm room is smaller than 130 square feet, so it’s important to make every inch count.

“Taking the time to keep your dorm room organized will give you a calm, attractive, supportive home base,” says Lisa Zaslow, an organizational partner at storage company MakeSpace. “You won’t be stressed out by clutter and you’ll know exactly where all your things are put away.”

With space at a premium, keeping a dorm room tidy is even a challenge for those who are naturally organized. To help, Zaslow is sharing her tips for organizing like a pro.

How To Organize Your Dorm, According To A Pro
Photographed by Ian Van Veen Shaughnessy.

Defy Gravity

The only way to go is up — especially in your dorm room.

“Nothing makes your place feel smaller and more cluttered than having stuff on the floor,” she says. “A tall pole-styled coat rack takes up almost no space and can hold more than just coats.”

You’ve probably seen hanging jewelry organizers or over-door storage, but a coat rack will make your dorm feel more like a beautiful, grownup bedroom.
But why stop there? The space underneath your bed is also prime real estate, so make sure to pick up some bed risers and slim storage containers.

How To Organize Your Dorm, According To A Pro
Photographed by Heidi's Bridge.

Less Is More

What would Marie Kondo do? She would certainly not pack three sets of sheets, six towels, and two comforters. We’re so used to having duplicates of everything — you know, just in case. Truth is, they just take up a lot of space.

“Limit the number of multiples when it comes to bulky items like bedding, towels, and sweatshirts,” Zaslow says. “You can do laundry!”

You can also apply this mentality to your wardrobe. After all, you really don’t need 14 white tees in your dresser.

How To Organize Your Dorm, According To A Pro
Photographed by Jessie Webster.

Make Space for Must-Haves

There’s nothing worse than misplacing your phone and having to tear apart your entire room, only to find it in your coat pocket. It’s time-consuming and, quite frankly, a headache we’d like to avoid at all costs.

Everything should have its place in your dorm room — especially your student ID, keys, wallet, and other essentials. Zaslow recommends creating a “control center” with a magnetic whiteboard or bulletin board to keep track of small items and important information.

“Use magnetic hooks and small bins to stash essentials,” she adds. “Write down assignment deadlines and test dates – you can never have too many reminders!”

How To Organize Your Dorm, According To A Pro
Photographed by Amy Bartlam.

Get Technical

While most students will bring spacious containers and drawer organizers to school, a power strip is an unsung hero that will keep your space orderly and livable.

“Your computer and phone are your lifelines,” she explains. “After a long, tough day, you may want to curl up on your bed and FaceTime with your family or watch a movie.”

Zaslow says a power strip will keep you connected — and your gadgets fully charged — from any spot in your room.

How To Organize Your Dorm, According To A Pro
Photographed by Julia Robbs.

Tidiness Tops All

Who wouldn’t want to live in an Insta-perfect dorm room? We’re all about creating an aesthetically pleasing place, but it’s also important to keep your space tidy.

“It’s easy to get discouraged if you compare your dorm room to picture-perfect images of organization nirvana you see online,” she says. “Don’t let that be an excuse for letting stuff pile up and not taking the time to put things back where they belong.”

Sure, it’s tempting to shove your sweaters, notebooks, and uncooked ramen noodles into a drawer, but putting things away properly will pay off in the long run.

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