Leaving for college can feel freeing for young adults. But once they lay eyes on their dorm room, their wide-open world can start to feel a bit cramped. While being short on space is nothing new to college students, there are some innovative ways to deal with it. Use these tips to maximize your dorm space by storing your belongings in creative ways.
Move Your Furniture
Before you start unloading all of your stuff in your new dorm room, take a look around. If you consider various positions for your furniture before you unpack, you can potentially gain a ton of storage space in your room. For example, many beds can be lofted or bunked in order to create tons of extra floor space.
Buy Items with Built-In Storage
If you’re bringing any type of furniture with you to your dorm, make sure it’s something that doubles as storage space. Examples include TV stands, desks, and ottomans. Rather than choosing something with clean lines, it’s actually better to buy a slightly bulky item that gives you space to stash your stuff. For example, ottomans can double as storage trunks for spare pillows and blankets as well as coffee tables or side tables for your futon. Meanwhile, a desk with lots of drawers gives you plenty of room for all of your pens, pencils, notebooks, and other school necessities.
Speaking of clever storage, a smart way to make more of it in your dorm room is to go underneath some of your furniture. Is there space under your bed? Buy a few shallow tubs and fill them with out-of-season clothes, extra shoes, photo albums or other odds and ends that don’t need to be on display. You can also stash items under a futon, a desk or at the bottom of your closet.
One of the best dorm room storage ideas is to look for furniture “risers.” These are sturdy feet that can go under items like a bed or futon to create extra storage space underneath.
Once you’ve used up the “underneath spaces” in your dorm room, it’s time to work your way up. One glance towards your walls will make it clear that there’s plenty of unused storage space near your ceilings. Fortunately, there are lots of easy ways to maximize your vertical storage in a dorm room.
Add shelves above your bed or bring in a tall, narrow bookcase instead of one that’s short and wide. You can also find shelving units that are made to sit atop desks to give you added storage for your belongings. Finally, add hooks on empty wall spaces so your coats, bags and other hanging items will be organized on the wall rather than strewn on the floor taking up space.
Organize Your Closet
The closet is often underutilized when it comes to dorm room storage. This is a space meant for keeping your stuff out of the way, so use every inch to your advantage. Hang anything that doesn’t hang down low in one area of the closet. This leaves lots of extra space below the clothes for additional storage. Fill in that space with bins or shoe racks that maximize the space. In addition, consider getting hangers with slim lines or hangers that can hang multiple items vertically.
Once you’ve used up the floor space, follow the “go up” rule by adding shelves above the clothing rod. The items you use the least should be place up in these hard-to-reach spaces.
Leave Some Things Out
If you simply have too much stuff to fit in your dorm room, that’s okay. Get a self-storage unit and keep your items nearby. That way, you can still access them when you need them without taking up precious floor space in an already cramped dorm room. If you don’t have enough stuff to fill an entire storage unit, ask around in your dorm to find out if anyone else needs some extra storage space. You may be able to split the cost with someone to get more bang for your buck.
All the hard work you put into creating storage won’t be worth it if you don’t put it to good use. Therefore, it’s important to stay on top of your college dorm organization day after day. Give everything a designated spot in the room, and be sure it returns to that spot after being used. It may take an extra few seconds to put your shoes back in a hanging shoe organizer rather than leaving them on the floor, but it makes your room feel bigger when there’s less clutter lying around.
A dorm room shouldn’t make you feel cramped. With these tips, you should be able to enjoy a comfortable living space throughout the school year.