Dorm rooms aren't exactly known for their size.
When you're in college, sharing space with other college students and trying to keep your stuff organized, it can be hard to get everything in. And over the course of your time in school you tend to pick up a lot of random stuff—recreational gear, books, game consoles, shoes, you name it. All of it has to go somewhere.
So how do you get it all in? What steps can you take to maximize your cramped quarters and make sure everything has a place?
1) Use Verticality
This is one of the easiest and most all-encompassing tips you can use …
Space isn't just limited to the horizontal dimension—according to Extra Space Storage, a national self-storage facility headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, taking advantage of vertical spaceis thekey to maximizing a small space.
Over-the-door racks for shoes and towels, hanging baskets, shower caddies … even the small wire organizational cubes that you can assemble into shelving units. There are plenty of solutions out there, and they all revolve around making the most of your vertical space.
When you go up with your space, you'll find that your horizontal space is freer.
For example, when your shoes are hanging over the back of the door, that little chunk of real estate that was a graveyard of flip flops and Jordans will suddenly be free. Add that up across the room and you're freeing up swathes of valuable floor real estate. Every little bit helps.
2) Organize the closet
Instead of only using the floor, the hanging rods, and the top shelf, you can utilize the extra space in between. Consider moving a dresser into the closet itself instead of having it sit out in the room and take up space—that can open up a lot of room that you didn't know you had.
Over-the-door organizers and hanging clothing shelves can be other options, too, as can storage cubes. This is space that isn't part of the room at all—cram every inch.
It's never going to be used any other way.
3) Use a rolling cart
A tiered cart can be a great way to keep commonly-used things both out of the way and conveniently available. One of the most innovative ways you can use it is as a nightstand or table that sits by your bed.
All the detritus that builds up by your bed—that novel you've been reading, the cell phone, the charger, all the coins and keys—can slide into a handy tray at the top of the cart.
And it allows you to move it around the room whenever you need a flat surface somewhere else. Because it's tiered, too, you can keep commonly-used items in there and maximize your vertical space, as opposed to a table, which creates a vacuum of space underneath it.
It's the smart way to hold your common items.
4) Add a desk hutch
That space above your desk? Yeah, that can be used too.
Put a hutch on top of your desk and you suddenly have space for all your books, notebooks, paper and other items that may have been kicking around the room.
It also makes it easy to attach a clip lamp or under-hutch light, which can help save your eyes during those late-night study sessions (and, bonus: you don't have to keep the overhead light on and bother your roommate if you have one)
A lot of desks come with these already, so if you're buying a desk, consider buying one that's already got a hutch in place. It'll help you save space and organize your homework at the same time. What's not to like?
5) Utilize the bed area
The space under the bed isn't just where the monsters and dust bunnies live …
It's a spot where you can easily stash things that aren't used as much—old class notes, seasonal clothes, that broken game console you've been holding onto and promising yourself you'll fix one of these days.
One of the best ways to make use of this space is with bed risers—put them under the four corners of your bed and you suddenly have a huge storage area that doesn't infringe on any other real estate in your room. Under-bed carts are a great way to make use of this space too, if you don't want to spring for risers.
6) Use command hooks
Hanging stuff up is an easy way to save space, and a cheap one.
You don't have to buy a bunch of organizers or anything, just hooks. If you had a home of your own you could screw hooks into the walls, but most colleges don't let you hammer or screw things into the walls.
That means command hooks.
These adhesive hooks stick to the wall and hold a decent amount of weight, allowing you to get your stuff up and off the floor without running afoul of college administration. They're a perfect solution for small storage needs.
Dorm rooms aren't known for their space, but maximizing what you have will help you make your college experience a little less cramped. Use these tips and you'll be well on your way to a more organized, spacious dorm.