Updated Oct 19, 2022
Moving into your college dorm – whether it’s your first year or your fourth one – is an exciting time. This transition can also be stressful, especially when you realize how many belongings you’d like to bring to campus.
Your college dorm is likely small, meaning you’ll be strapped for space to store all your clothes, shoes, books, supplies, and grocery items. With less room for these essential belongings, organization and storage maximization are musts.
To help you prepare for the upcoming school year, we’ve compiled some storage tips and tricks every college student needs to know. We’ll discuss college student storage hacks to make moving in, unpacking, and organizing a breeze.
Keeping your space organized is the best way to maximize your storage. Give each of your personal belongings a designated spot so you’ll be less likely to shove piles of clothes, books, and knickknacks into every empty corner. Luckily for the less-than-tidy student, countless products are available to keep everything in check.
A desk organizer like this one from Amazon is the perfect solution for a messy workspace. It provides vertical shelving for essays, homework, utensils, and note cards, freeing up drawer space for bulkier items like textbooks and calculators.
Drawer dividers are another helpful tool for maximizing your storage space. These handy organizers come in multiple shapes and sizes to transform your drawers into sections. You can then maximize the storage space further by stacking the organizers. Use them to keep your school supplies tidy or separate small clothing items like socks and undergarments.
You’ll likely dedicate most of your dorm space to bedroom items, clothing storage, and a desk, leaving little room for your “kitchen.” For this reason, keeping your refrigerator and pantry items organized is a must. You can use organization tools in your kitchen area to maximize the usable space.
We suggest stocking your mini fridge with stackable storage containers or shelves to utilize vertical space. You can also invest in snack organizers to avoid having dozens of food boxes eating up shelf space elsewhere.
Your tiny dorm room may leave you feeling like there’s no way to go but up. Thankfully, vertical space is the perfect storage solution.
Hanging shoe shelves are fantastic tools for vertically organizing your footwear. These shelves have a cubby for each pair of shoes, making it easy to see your choices while getting dressed. Vertical shoe shelves are also excellent for storing bulky clothing items like sweaters and pants. Roll the items up and stick them into the cubbies to save drawer space for smaller items.
Just as stackable shelves in your fridge can maximize storage, so can shelving over your fridge. Place shelving over your mini fridge for a vertical pantry area. You’ll save space around the appliance and have all your kitchen items in one convenient spot.
If you’re especially cramped for space, consider lofting your bed and placing a desk underneath. A loft bed is raised on a high frame that allows for the use of the space below. Lofted beds are perfect for dorm rooms because they double the space a bed would occupy while simultaneously creating a cozy study area below.
You can still maximize your storage space if you don’t loft your bed. In fact, underneath your bed is a great place to keep rarely used items or those too bulky to fit in dresser drawers.
Fill plastic storage containers with out-of-season clothes and slide them under the bed. They’ll be at your fingertips when you need them but out of sight when you don’t. Many retailers sell under the bed storage bins with wheels to make access as easy as opening a drawer.
You can also store items you don’t want lying around – such as your laundry hamper or toilet paper supply – under your bed for a cleaner-looking dorm room.
No matter how well you organize and maximize your dorm’s space, you might still need some extra storage. In this case, you should consider renting a student self-storage unit.
If you’re concerned about the affordability of keeping your items in a storage facility, look around your area for student discounts. Many storage companies near college campuses offer sweet deals to help students simplify the storage and moving process.
While you may not need an additional storage unit during the school year, you might need one once summer break comes around. Storing your items in a facility is the best way to avoid hauling them away each time you move out. Cumbersome items like mattresses and heaps of out-of-season clothes can stay in storage for the summer months, eliminating the hassle of moving them from place to place.
Consider these factors before selecting a storage unit:
Make sure to rent a climate-controlled unit if you plan to store items like bedding, linens, clothing, and electronics. Without climate control, your items will be exposed to humidity and temperature fluctuations, putting them at risk of mold and mildew.
Unlimited access is especially important if you use the unit for year-round storage. The last thing you want is to be locked out of a facility holding your personal belongings; 24-hour access guarantees you’ll have your items right when you need them. On the other hand, if you’re renting a unit for summer storage, you likely won’t need full-time access. In this case, you can save big by renting a unit without this feature.
Drive-up access makes item pickup a breeze. This feature is especially useful if you use your storage unit for large, hard-to-move items like furniture, mattresses, and appliances. You’ll be able to back up to a garage door and load your items instead of toting them from the unit to your car.
Choosing a storage option close to campus is typically your best bet. You’ll likely come across student discounts and experience less hassle moving items to and from your residence hall or apartment. This factor is especially important for students without vehicles; hiring movers will cost less if the trip between locations is shorter.
Size is a critical factor to consider when deciding on your storage unit. You should measure the items you plan to store before booking a unit. This simple task can eliminate the struggle of fitting bulky items into a smaller unit or paying more for a larger unit you won’t use. If you know you’ll need a little extra space to store items like clothing and books, consider renting a short-term storage locker instead of a full unit. This size guide from EZ Storage provides visual examples of what you can fit in different standard unit sizes.
The best way to maximize your college dorm storage is to utilize vertical space, store items under the bed, and ensure thorough organization. You’ll find countless products and tools online that can help you successfully store your items without cluttering your space.
Even if your dorm is too small to hold your belongings, you can always find a storage facility with the necessary amenities. With this in mind, you’ll be able to fit more of the things that matter most in your home away from home.