It’s back-to-school season, and your student is preparing for college. Living in a small dorm room comes with its set of challenges. Sharing a small space with a roommate, adjusting to life independently, balancing classes, and meeting new people. Here are fifteen dorm room essentials to make the transition easier.
1. Use the space under the bed for storage
You must utilize every little inch of space to keep your small space organized. Space under the bed is precious storage that cannot be overlooked. With the proper storage bins, you can store shoes, snacks, extra bedding, clothing, etc. Here is an idea to make a simple covered rolling storage bin. If your bed is too close to the ground, add bed risers and gain up to 8 extra inches of space!
2. Use the space under a loft bed
If you’re lucky enough to score a dorm room with a loft bed, you’ll have plenty of space for storage, but you can use it for other things too. Add seating underneath with bean bags, small dressers, and stackable bins for shoes, clothes, and extra bedding. A bookshelf is excellent to have for notebooks and textbooks.
3. Shower Caddy
A college student will most likely have to share a bathroom with others. All of their shower supplies will have to be kept in their room, along with all of their other worldly possessions. Make sure they have a shower caddy they can tote back and forth to the shower to make life easier.
4. Use the back of doors for storage
You have to take advantage of every space for storage in a small dorm room. Doors are an excellent place for adding vertical storage. You can store shoes, snacks, shower supplies, clothing accessories, and more. Hanging closet organizers will also help you utilize your closet space efficiently. See more dorm organizing hacks here.
5. 3M command hooks
Be sure to have a good supply of command hooks. You can’t put holes in dorm room walls, so any decor you hang up needs to be hung using 3M hooks or strips. The hooks are also a great way to add a place to hang a backpack, sweatshirt, or jacket. Plus, be sure to add a command center for your day-to-day schedule. Here are some ideas for creating command centers.
6. Laundry dorm room essentials
What will you do with the dirty laundry between trips home to see the parents? Make sure you have a hamper; to keep from taking up precious floor space, you can hang it on the closet door. You could even put it under your loft bed.
7. Roll Clothing for More Space
Dresser space is at a premium in a small dorm room, and you must get creative to ensure all those t-shirts and other clothing fit. Rolling your clothes is the best way to store clothing to give you more space. Learn the Kon Mari way of folding your clothes to make more space.
8. Make sure to have extra bedding
Keep an extra bedding set in case of food or drink spill. It’s also great to have an extra set to make your bed before you go to the laundromat, so you don’t have to worry about making your bed when you return. Store an extra set under the bed or in a basket or bin in the closet.
9. Extra Seating
Extra seating in a dorm room is always a plus whether you have group study sessions or hanging out with friends. Extra seating comes in various forms – poufs, bean bags, folding chairs, or camping stools. Storage ottomans are a great choice; as a bonus, you can store stuff in them.
10. Have a drink/snack station
Be prepared for long study sessions by having a drink/snack station. Have a mini fridge for water, juice, or other cold beverages. Sit a coffee maker or espresso machine on top of the fridge. Have a rolling cart for snacks and paper products. This small station can sit in the corner of the room.
11. Disposable Coffee Cups
Rushing to class with a fresh cup of coffee to wake them up is par for the course for a college student. Stock up on disposable cups with lids to avoid mishaps with spilled coffee. There also won’t be any dishes to do!
12. Mesh Laundry Bag/Hamper
Small dorm rooms are notorious for odors. Don’t add to it with dirty, sweaty clothes. A mesh laundry bag allows dirty clothes to air out and dry if they’re wet, so clothing won’t start to stink up that small dorm room in between trips to the laundry.
13. Have plenty of organizing bins and baskets
Organizing bins can fit anywhere and can store a multitude of things. They can be put under the bed, in the closet, or on a cube storage shelf. They are great for snacks, shower supplies, clothing accessories, and more. You can even turn old cardboard boxes into good-looking canvas bins!
14. Make sure you have plenty of plug-ins
College students have phones, tablets, and laptops that all need to be charged. A small dorm room may have limited outlets for charging. A wireless charging station will allow everything to be charged without fighting over outlets with a roommate.
15. Cube Organizers for Storage
Zippered cube organizers are ideal for a college dorm room. Store extra towels, bedding, or even out-of-season clothing and shoes. They can fit under the bed or in a closet easily.
21 DIY Desk Organizer Ideas
Having an organized work or study space is a must-have when living in a small dorm room. These easy DIY desk organizer ideas are easy to make and help your student keep their study space organized. See all 21 here.
DIY Footrest for Under Desk
Sitting at a desk for long periods of time can be hard on the back and legs. Ergonomics is important and your student will thank you when you make them their own DIY footrest. It’s easy to make and you can make it from scrap wood. See how to make it here.
This DIY lap desk is perfect for doing homework in bed, eating, or reading. It can easily be stored away under the bed when not in use. It’s easy to build and you can paint or stain it or even do a cool epoxy pour. See how to make this lap desk here.
Anika's goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas.
She wants everyone to unlock their creative potential and experience the feeling that comes with making something. Nothing feels better better than seeing something and saying "I can make that!"