While I didn’t live in residence when I was a university student, I had many friends who did, and I must say that to define a dorm room as “small” is a bit generous. Given the average dorm room measures 12’ x 19’, or 228 square feet and is often shared by two people, you can see why it is important to have some sort of organizational system in place. With that in mind, here are my tips for keeping your dorm room organized and functional.


hutch.jpgThink vertically

Most dorm rooms come equipped with a twin size bed, desk, armoire, and mini fridge, leaving your with very little floor space to add things like bookshelves and cabinets–so think vertically and put those walls to work. Consider placing a tall, narrow bookcase or hutch directly on your desk, or a floating hutch above your desk for much needed storage space. Use the shelves for books, school supplies, to display framed photos, or even to organize your makeup.


file.jpgKeep things out of sight

Even if you don’t have a lot of clutter, even a few too many books in a small space can make it feel untidy. Magazine files are a great way to stash everything from textbooks and note pads to stationery and magazines. Simply put a label on the front so you know what’s inside and all your “clutter” will be kept neat, organized, and out of sight.


bins.jpgLift the bed

The space under your bed is a goldmine–so make the most of it by putting your bed on risers. That way you can Depending on how high you can raise your bed, you can stash tall or short storage bins to house spare bedding, shoes, bulkier clothing like winter jackets and sweatshirts, and anything else you may not be able to fit in your armoire or desk.


hooks.jpgHook it up

Use hooks wherever you can. Over the door hooks are particularly useful since they can hang over the door of your armoire or back of your dorm room door itself. Hooks are great for keeping scarves, jewelry, jackets, hoodies, and purses nicely organized and readily available.


bulletin.jpgPin it up

Bulletin boards–especially ones with built in hooks–are a great way to display photos, class schedules, and other keepsakes in a way that will make use of vertical space without damaging the walls. Whiteboards are also great for keeping track of assignments, writing notes to yourself or your roommate, and otherwise staying on top of your busy life as a student. If you can’t decide on a cork board or whiteboard, opt for one that serves double duty!


canister.jpgEmbrace jars

Jars and canisters are a fantastic way to keep all sorts of odds and ends organized in a fun way. Use them to stash packs of gum, hair ties, candies, snacks, or even tea bags. Opt for clear canisters if you want the contents to be on display and add a pop of colour to your room.


hanger.jpgGo slim

Slim-line hangers are an absolute must for any space. You may think that wooden hangers look nice, but you can get so much more in your closet or armoire with slim-line hangers. Trust me on that–I recently purged all my old hangers in favour of the more streamlined ones and my closet is once again a functioning oasis of clothing and accessories, and there is now room for even more!

Keeping your dorm room neat, tidy, and organized won’t just make your parents proud, but it will keep you sane in what might possibly be one of the busiest times of your life. When everything has a place, you’re perfectly positioned to study hard, and make the most of your life on campus.

Main image courtesy of College Confidential

Stacey McGregor is a marketing and communications professional based in Vancouver, BC. She has a passion for the written word, loves learning about new technology and gadgets, and enjoys sharing what she learns through Best Buy's Plug In blog.