Sort of (Dorm) Space: Top Tips for College Living and Organization

Back to school is on the horizon and for many that means the beginning of a college career. Heading to college is full of big transitions, not the least of which is a new (probably shared, probably tiny) living space.

Setting up a dorm room can be challenging! This room has to be multi-functional with efficient working and living space. Creating an inviting and homey feel is important to feel comfortable in your new surroundings and maximizing storage is essential for acing your new digs and your first semester!

Under bed storage

In tight spaces you’ve got to make every bit of real estate count. Raise that bed frame baby! If the style of bed in your dorm doesn’t naturally raise, put the frame on risers. Maximize your storage with deep under bed drawers that can stack. Keep clothes, snacks, cleaning supplies or extra school materials in here. *tip: scoot your suitcase all the way to the back if you won’t be reaching for it regularly.

(This setup from the Container Store has bed risers, under bed drawers, and even a hanging caddy for easy to reach items from bed!)

Color code

Keeping all your materials and time for multiple classes is complicated. Color coding will help you keep each subject in order. Whether you like to keep all subjects in one big binder (do people still use binders?) or use individual notebooks and folders, dedicate a color to each class and use the same color on your phone calendar or planner to track assignments and due dates for each class. Plus, the colors will look great all lined up on a shelf!

Over the door racks

If you’ve got a door, use it! Vertical space is your friend in tight quarters. Door racks are a great place to house shoes, vanity items, and daily essentials. Simple shoe pockets can be used for shoes, but also cleaning supplies, hair tools, outwear accessories and pretty much anything that will fit. You can also find more structured options for books, school supplies, and miscellaneous odds and ends!

(Grab this clear pocket organizer from Bed, Bath, and Beyond or get some more structure with customizable baskets from the Container Store.)

Cozy bedding & Ambiance

Being away from home for the first time can be tough and school supplied mattresses don’t always do the trick for a good night sleep. Get yourself a quality mattress pad and extra blankets and pillows to bring a little hygge home into your dorm.

Along with some fun new bedding, put a little thought into the details that will make this space feel like yours. Twinkle lights strung along the ceiling make a stark space feel warm. Big poster size art prints bring color to blank walls. And of course, print out photos of friends and family to personalize your space!

( offers bundles that include sheets, bedding, mattress pads, towels and other dorm living essentials.)

Laundry station

Figuring out how to manage your school responsibilities will be difficult enough, but you are going to have to do find time for domestic responsibilities like laundry. Have a laundry basket that can stand on its own, but also easy to take with to the washer. And not TOO big or you’ll be spending several hours tackling the heap in your free time.

Extra Pro Tip: buy extra socks and undies. This one you won’t find on traditional lists, but take it from someone who lived without an on-site washer/dryer for ten years. You will HAVE to do laundry, but to avoid a panic give yourself a few extra backup basics so if it takes a little longer to tackle the clothing pile, you’re not over using the febreeze.

(This clean line hamper from Target folds up when not in use.)

Need more inspiration or direction setting up your space? Email for in-person help or comprehensive Do-it-Yourself plans!

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