8 Dorm Room Storage Ideas to Go Back to School in Style

Kaitlyn Pacheco
Written by Kaitlyn Pacheco
Updated August 23, 2022
Friends at college dorm room
Photo: svetikd / E+ / Getty Images

Don’t wait until you misplace a textbook to organize your dorm room

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Moving into a new dorm room is a whirlwind event full of excitement, including meeting your roommates, decorating your space, and settling into your new home-away-from-home. But before the school year starts, it’s important to follow a dorm organization system for maximum efficiency so you can keep the small space tidy all semester long. 

Not sure where to start? We've got you covered. Check out our list of eight creative dorm room storage ideas so you’ll have plenty of space for study sessions, late-night hangs, and everything in between.

1. Use Baskets and Bins to Store Clothes

Woman organizing clothes in wardrobe
Photo: Sappheiros / Adobe Stock

Dorm rooms are notorious for having limited closet space, so you’ll need to devise a plan for storing clothes that won’t fit in the school-provided furniture. Luckily, it’s easy to arrange your foldable clothes with a system of baskets and bins, especially those made of soft material that can mold to fit any shelf or drawer. This storage idea for dorm rooms is a great way to organize your dresser so that you can see your outfit options without creating clutter.

2. Utilize Under-the-Bed Storage

Room with storage bed
Photo: Elliott Kaufman / Corbis Documentary / Getty Images

Creating storage space under your dorm bed is the oldest trick in the book for a good reason. Take advantage of the unused space underneath your bed and use it to store less-used items in storage bins, drawers, or boxes. If your dorm bed sits low to the ground, consider adding bed risers so you can utilize some under-bed storage hacks.

3. Keep Up With Food Organization

Storage in the kitchen
Photo: Юлия Ефимова / Adobe Stock

While you’ll likely eat most of your meals at the university dining halls, you’ll still need to make space in your dorm room for snacks, water bottles, travel coffee cups, and other essentials. Organize your cabinets or shelves with tools like shelf risers or sliders to make it easy to grab what you need before rushing off to class.

4. Install Floating Shelves

A cozy bedroom
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If you’re sharing a dorm room with one or a few other people, you may run into the frustrating scenario of running out of space to store your belongings. An easy solution is to install floating shelves to hold and display your go-to items. 

Just a note: You may have to get creative here to make sure you’re following the university’s regulations about creating holes in the wall.

5. Create a Designated Workspace

A girl using her laptop
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While college is the perfect time to make friends, pursue new hobbies, and join clubs and organizations, you also need to focus on your school work. Make studying in your dorm room easier by creating a designated workspace that fits your needs, including a comfortable chair, ample lighting, and minimal distractions. Declutter your desk regularly to maintain a productive study space.

6. Get Creative With Your Windowsill

University dorm room
Photo: svetikd / E+ / Getty Images

The key to maintaining an organized dorm room is to take advantage of every inch of storage space. For example, instead of letting your windowsill sit empty, fill it with books, decor, and other essentials. It’s a win-win idea: This dorm room storage hack allows you to display your favorite knick-knacks and plants while eliminating clutter from the other areas in your room. Don’t forget to clean your windowsill regularly to prevent dust and grime buildup.

7. Add Drawer Organizers

High angle view of toiletries
Photo: Natalia Kostikova / EyeEm / Getty Images

Tired of digging through your drawers to find your hairbrush? Adding drawer organizers lets you know exactly where each item sits, eliminating the frantic rush while you get ready for class. You can also use this organization tool in your desk or dresser drawers to keep things orderly.

8. Reimagine Your Nightstand for Storage

College student using laptop in dorm
Photo: Peathegee Inc / Tetra images / Getty Images

Your nightstand is the perfect place to keep the items you frequently need, including your phone charger, water bottle, and medications. But you can also use your nightstand to its full potential by filling it and topping it with other essentials that don’t fit on your desk or dresser, such as a photo printer, cleaning supplies, and extra school supplies. This tactic will help make the small space work for you by keeping everything within arm’s reach.

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