21+ Best Dorm Organization Hacks and Tips

Dorm rooms are small and can become unorganized quickly. Keep that dorm room organized with these best dorm organization hacks and tips.

image collage of dorm organization hacks with text overlay

College is a new phase of life for your child, a first go at being independent and living away from home. Their whole life will be contained in one tiny room that they will probably have to share.

Organizing and storage solutions are essential for them to be able to keep it all together and have everything they need.

Dorm Organization Tips

There may not be a lot of room, but the first thing to do is to designate zones. Here are some ideas for dorm room zones:

  • Studying
  • Sleeping
  • Clothing and other storage
  • Seating
  • Eating and food storage

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You may think there is no way you can pack all of this into one tiny dorm room. If you’re lucky enough to have loft beds, you just scored a ton of extra room! You can use that space for extra seating or a place to keep a mini fridge and snack zone.

  • Regular beds can be put on bed risers to gain more storage room underneath if there aren’t loft beds. Like these.
  • Storage bins and baskets will be your student’s best friends. Use them for extra clothing or bedding. Be sure to label them so it’s clear what goes inside. Like these.
  • Buy plenty of binder clips, they make great chip bag clips. Like these.
  • Over-the-door storage for closet doors and the back of the entry door are great places to keep extra shower supplies, snacks, or desk supplies. Like these.
  • Get a hanging laundry hamper to keep dirty laundry off the floor. Like these.
  • Make sure to have plenty of 3M hooks and picture hangers because your college student won’t be allowed to put nails on the wall of their first dorm room. Like these.

Now let’s talk about organization ideas, these dorm organization hacks will help your student get organized and stay that way all school year long.

21 Dorm Room Organization Ideas

1. DIY Under Bed Shoe Storage from Anika’s DIY Life

DIY shoe organizer  made from wood for under the bed

Use the space under a dorm room bed for storage. It’s the perfect place for extra storage space in a small room. This DIY under-the-bed shoe storage is on wheels with a handle to be pulled out and put back quickly. The lid keeps everything clean inside and each section will hold a pair of shoes or even rolled t-shirts, socks, or underwear. 

Tutorial to make your own here.

2. DIY Cedar Underbed Storage from Pretty Handy Girl

Two under bed drawers on wheels for dorm organization

Extra storage for dorm organization helps keep a dorm room neat and tidy. Open under-the-bed storage in a small dorm room is great for extra blankets, clothes, and shoes. These DIY cedar under bed storage drawers are easy to make and the cedar is naturally resistant to insects and they smell great too!

Tutorial to make your own here.

3. Underbed Storage on Wheels – Buy on Amazon

Not into DIY? You can buy similar under-bed storage on wheels. All you have to do is add the wheels, no tools are required to put them together. These are made of metal with a loaded bearing frame to hold your stuff without bending.

4. Dorm Seating and Storage Made from a Plastic Crate from Dukes & Duchesses

plastic crate with fabric top for storage seating cube.

This college dorm room hack is cheap to make and does double duty. It’s an ottoman for extra seating during study sessions and you can lift off the top for storage.

Great for storing snacks, books, or even shoes. It’s perfect for tight spaces and you can tuck it away under the bed when it’s not being used.

Tutorial to make your own here.

5. Wooden Crate Storage Ottoman from Canary Street Crafts

wooden crate turned into storage ottoman for dorm organization

Decorate a wooden crate, add wheels and a cushioned top and you have a great storage ottoman cube when you are in a room with limited space. It’s a great place to store extra blankets, shoes, or books.

It’s a piece of extra furniture for seating that won’t take up a lot of extra space. Paint and decorate the crate to fit your style. Pick some fun fabric for the seat and it’s ready to go.

Tutorial to make your own here.

6. Storage Ottoman Cube with Tray Top from Anika’s DIY Life

DIY storage cube with lid that flips over for a tray

This DIY project will take a little more time to make, but it gives you three functions in one. Extra storage, extra seating, and a tray top so that it can be used as a nightstand or a place to eat.

Use it to store extra blankets, books, or hats. The possibilities are endless. Use any color or pattern material or faux leather to make your own. 

Tutorial and plans here.

7. Storage Ottoman Cube with Tray – Buy on Amazon

storage cube with tray top

You can also buy a storage ottoman cube if you aren’t the DIY type. This one is very similar to the one above and will do all the things college students need it to do in a small dorm room. 

8. Bed Risers – Buy on Amazon

When you aren’t lucky enough to snag a dorm room with a raised loft bed (those are the best!) you can still add extra storage space for organization using bed risers. These are inexpensive and can be made to lift the bed 3″, 5″, or even 8″ higher than it is.

That will give you a more organized room and easy access to what you need to store under your bed. They aren’t the prettiest things around so add a cute bed skirt to cover them up.

9. Over the Bed Storage – Buy it on Amazon

I didn’t know this type of organizing rack even existed until I went searching. Add storage in a small footprint with this over-the-bed storage rack. It has two shelves, a place to hang your backpack, and even a drink holder!

10. Rolling Over Bed Table from Grillo Designs

bed with DIY wood rolling bed table

Great for late-night study sessions when you just can’t sit at the dorm room desk anymore! It can even be used as a table to eat on and roll it to the end of the dorm bed when it’s not being used. It’s a simple DIY project that won’t take up any floor space.

Tutorial to build it yourself here.

11. DIY Desk Shelf Organizer from The Handyman’s Daughter

DIY desktop organizer for dorm organization

Desk organizers are a must-have in a dorm room. The desk, if you’re lucky enough to have one, probably won’t be very big so you’ll need to make the most of the space you have in creative ways.

This DIY desk organizer is easy to make and you can configure it across the back of the desk or in a corner. Great for post-its, pens, and other small deks items you need to keep organized.

Tutorial to make your own here.

12. Bed Pocket Caddy from Hearth and Vine

bed pocket organizer between the mattress and box spring

I love this bed pocket caddy! Keep your phone, notebook, and other small items you need right next to the bed within easy reach. It’s easy to make even if you aren’t an experienced seamstress. Pick out a fun fabric and even make two so you give one to your new roommate!

Tutorial to make a bed pocket caddy here.

13. Rolling Cart Organizer – Buy on Amazon

3 tier rolling storage cart

A rolling utility cart makes a great bedside table or use it as a kitchen station. With three tiers there is plenty of storage room for all your necessities.

14. DIY Student Chair Organizer from Sustain My Craft Habit

chair cover for student storage with pockets

​The back of a chair isn’t just for hanging a jacket. Make this creative DIY student chair organizer for your desk chair. Made with 100% cotton canvas, it’s sturdy and will hold notebooks, pencils, and other small items. You can customize it for the size chair you have.

Tutorial to make your own.

15. DIY Hanging Organizer from The Boondocks Blog

hanging organizer for dorm storage

Hanging organizers are a great way to use vertical space for dorm room storage. This one is easy to make and you can customize the design or even use printed fabric. Hang it on a bookcase or on a closet door for vertical storage. 

See how to make your own here.

16. Device Charging Station from Anika’s DIY Life

DIY device charging station

College students have multiple devices that need to be charged. Phones, tablets, and even laptops. This device charging station is easy to make and will fit on a desk or nightstand for easy access to all their chargeable devices. I love the wireless charging for phones!

Tutorial to make your own

Don’t want to DIY? This multiple-device charging station is a great option.

17. Painted Wood Crate Storage Bins from Ideas for the Home by Kenarry 

black and white painted wooden storage crate

Wood storage crates are great for dorm closet storage. Paint them in designs and colors of your choice. Store snacks, shoes, books, and anything else you need to organize in them. Stack them on the closet floor or on a shelf above the hanging rod.

See the tutorial here.

​More Dorm Room Organizing Must Haves

18. Closet Hanging Rod Extender – Buy it on Amazon

This closet hanging rod extender is GENIUS! You simply hang it on the existing rod and you have double the hanging space in the closet. No tools are required to install it and you won’t put any holes in the walls. 

19. Dresser Drawer Organizers – Buy on Amazon

Keep dresser drawers neat and organized with these drawer organizers. They’re perfect for organizing socks, underwear, and t-shirts. Want to learn how to maximize your drawer space? Learn the easiest way to fold t-shirts to create more space.

20. Shower Caddy – Buy on Amazon

Shower caddies are a necessity for dorm life. Unless you end up with a private bathroom, you’ll be sharing a bathroom with multiple people. Being able to carry your shower supplies back and forth and keeping them organized is easy with this mesh shower caddy.

21. 3M Hooks – Buy on Amazon

Gone are the days of cheap white plastic 3M wall hooks. Check out these heavy-duty modern black hooks. Great for coats, towels, or bags. They are a must-have for dorm life when you aren’t allowed to use nails in the walls of your dorm room.

Your college student will be set up with success when using these dorm organization hacks and tips. Here’s to a great year!

More organizing resources:

Anika Gandhi

Anika Gandhi is on a mission to declutter and organize all the things around her and is here to inspire and encourage you to do the same!

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