It’s every college-bound student’s dream to create a comfortable and homey college dorm room – a place where they can relax after a long day of classes, hang out with friends, buckle down for those late-night study sessions and finally sink into a cozy bed for a night of relaxing slumber.
Sounds easy enough, right? Well, let me be the first to admit that although helping my two daughters shop for their dorm rooms tops the list as one of the more exciting experiences as a mom, it also tops the list as one of the more challenging experiences.
Knowing how small the space was that we were working with, (honestly, not that much bigger than a backyard shed), how much “stuff” my daughters wanted to take with them and how important it was to create a multi-functional space that served so many purposes, I knew it was going to put our organizational skills to the test.
Take it from a mom who’s been around the college block a couple of times, when you’re shopping for a dorm, you have to get creative. Thankfully, there’s plenty of awesome space-saving products and smart storage solutions to assist you in taking advantage of every square inch of real estate in your child’s dorm.
To maximize storage and organization space in your child’s little corner on campus and help make their school year a bit more hassle-free, here are 15 super stylish and functional finds to pass along from The Container Store that worked like magic to help my daughters stay organized all year long.
Don’t forget to download our FREE Dorm Checklist! CLICK HERE!
But wait…there’s SO much more!
Visit our FREE Resources Page to get access to THE ULTIMATE DORM BUNDLE! Here’s what you’ll receive:
Stock the Essentials Checklist: A checklist with everything you need to stock your dorm including toiletries, cleaning and laundry supplies, and food!
Medicine Checklist: The next best thing to mom’s tender loving care. We thought of everything!
Simple Dorm Recipes: You’ll get easy recipes you can whip up in a dorm. No stove or oven required!
13 Adorable, Fun and Sassy Frameable Prints You Can Download for Your Dorm
Click HERE! FREE Resources Page
Maxed Out Closet Space
If you thought you didn’t have enough closet space at home, just wait until you get to college. Nothing freaks out college-bound students more than trying to figure out how to cram all their clothes and shoes into one tiny (and, I mean tiny) closet. Don’t fret though, with a few clever tips and tricks you can max out space in even the tiniest dorm closet. Things like this closet rod expander are perfect – it doubles your hanging space to help keep your closet organized all year long.
Rolling Storage for Extras
Give yourself even more closet space by adding in a rolling storage chest (or two) for sweaters, undies, socks or jammies. This 3-Drawer Storage Chest with Wheels, which is incredibly reasonably priced, keeps all your get-ready supplies right where you can see them. Plus, what makes it really functional is that it fits in narrow spaces – perfect for tight dorm closets!
Stock Up on Closet Must-Haves
Life in a dorm is so much easier when everything has its own place! This 3-Compartment Sweater Organizer and 6-Compartment Organizer are perfect for storing sweaters, sweatshirts, leggings, and jeans. And, for that mound of shoes you plan on bringing to college (yeah, I know, every shoe you own), this narrow 10-Compartment Shoe Organizer is a must-have to store all your flip flops, athletic shoes, sandals, and boots.
Bed “Zone” Basics
These Wide Under Bed Drawers definitely pack a powerful space-saving punch. We used several of these in my daughter’s dorms and they worked beautifully to keep everything organized and within easy reach. With wide, clear, easy to pull out drawers, getting quick access to anything you need from clothes and books to blankets and extra shoes is a breeze. Plus, they’re stackable which means you can make functional use of every ounce of space under your bed.
Everything Within Arm’s Reach
After a long of day classes, it sure is nice to crawl into your bed and have everything you need right at your fingertips. This Stackers Bedside Pockets organizer keeps everything from your phone and glasses to your favorite book and earbuds right next to you. With five good-sized pockets and cable loops to keep all your cords tangle-free, this is one of those must-have items that make life in a dorm hassle-free.
Multi-Functional Stylish Shelving
When it comes to organizing cramped dorm rooms, you need to look for organizational items that are multi-functional. But, let’s face it, no college kid wants anything in their dorm that doesn’t look “cool.” What I love about these Vario Stacking Shelves is that they’re stylish and totally customizable depending on your needs. Positioned next to your bed, near your desk or even as a nifty coffee station, they’ work great to house snacks, books, gadgets or anything else you need room for. Plus, a small partition on the back of each shelf keeps everything in place and allows electronic cord access.
Functional Desktop Shelving
Most dorms offer little (if any) built-in shelving space which is key to maximizing space in a small dorm. Put this portable Solid Wood Folding Hutch on top of your desk for books, binders, computer supplies or fun knickknacks that remind you of home. It fits perfectly on top of most standard-sized dorm desks and offers just enough added shelving to keep everything you need right where you can see it.
Smarter Study Space
It doesn’t take most college kids long to figure out that if they want to survive in college, they need to step up their study game. And, to do that you need a space that’s comfortable, organized and functional. The Container Store’s Stockholm Collection has everything you could ever need from drawer organizers and pencil holders to letter trays and desktop organizers. Plus, you can choose from a bunch of colors and patterns to match your dorm decor!
Savvy Solution for Snacks
Finding a place to store all your snacks in a dorm can be tricky. Most students end up piling them on top of the fridge or on their closet shelf which is a pain to get to when you’re hungry. This super compact and convenient Fridge Cart is the perfect solution! The melamine top and 4 heavy-duty casters support the fridge and the drawers are big enough to hold plates, utensils, dishes and all your go-to snacks. This is one purchase you won’t regret!
Shower & Laundry Essentials
One of the biggest adjustments for most college students is getting accustomed to communal or shared bathrooms. To stay organized, you’ll need a simple, yet durable shower basket to keep all your essentials like shampoo, cream rinse and razor all in one convenient place. I absolutely love this fun Flexible Shower Basket. It’s not only adorable and totally functional, but it’s also priced right! The basket is also roomy enough to store everything you need and the convenient holes let the water drain. Check out the other fun colors they have, too!
Stumped on whether you should buy a drawstring laundry bag or a pop-up hamper for your dorm? You’re not alone! Get the absolute BEST of both worlds with this Poppin Laundry Hamper Bag! It’s the coolest solution in town. It has a sturdy, but completely collapsible, exterior and a liner that doubles as a laundry bag. Just grab the inside bag and go! It doesn’t get much easier than that!
The Extras That Make Dorm Life Easier
This handy Clear Stackable Makeup Storage Container is the absolute bomb for fitting all your favorite makeup products. It has three drawers each with three separate compartments and can be used alone or on top of another container if you’re a girly girl who has tons of makeup. Whether you need a little makeup space or a lot, this will keep everything organized and within easy-to-see reach!
Hanging Jewelry Organizer
Most college girls will agree that keeping jewelry organized in a dorm is a challenge. Most of the time, it’s either sprawled out on the desk or clumped together inside the desk drawer. This sleek Double-Sided 80-Pocket Hanging Jewelry Organizer will keep every ounce of jewelry you own neat, organized and easy to grab on your way out the door. You can easily hang it in the closet or slip it on a Command hook on the wall for easy access.
Stock Up on Storage Bins
Because dorm rooms are so small, having a few extra places to sit or put your feet up are essential. This fun Poppin Box Seat is the perfect multi-functional solution! Underneath the lid is 4,096 cubic-inches of storage space to store extra clothes, a blanket, snacks or anything else you’d like to keep out of the way, but still within easy reach. It’s one of those great little accessories that help with clutter control. Plus, they come in fun colors!
Command Hooks for Everything!
It doesn’t matter whether you’ll be attending a small private college or a large public university, nearly every college won’t allow you to attach or nail anything to the walls that may cause damage. That’s where Command Strips come in. Trust me, you’ll need lots of these, in lots of sizes! Use these to hang everything from towels and hats to your robe or backpack. There are a million uses for them in a dorm. We used these for literally dozens of purposes in my daughter’s dorms.
This post is sponsored by The Container Store although all product suggestions and opinions are my own.