This site contains affiliate links, view the disclosure for more information.

This post is all about how to fit everything into your dorm room with so many genius dorm storage ideas! Keep reading for dorm organization ideas that will set you up perfectly for the dorms.

Credit: @briggsmb

Happy dorm season!! Now that it’s the summer after your senior year of high school, it’s time to start focusing on your freshman year of college. If you’re anything like me, you’ve definitely already started looking at dorm room ideas and cute dorm decor, which is SO fun! One of the best parts of freshman year is planning and decorating your dorm room, but it can also be pretty overwhelming. Leaving home and going off to college is a very exciting time and your first new beginning in life. With so much to think about in the next few months and tons of planning to do, I’m here to break down the basics of being a freshman in a dorm room for you.

One of the most important things to remember when living in a small dorm room is that you have very little space and few storage options. Because of this, my biggest tip for college freshmen is to not bring everything you own from home. I bet your dorm is not nearly as big as your room at home, and this one you’re probably now sharing with a roommate too. Because of this, you’ll have to leave a lot of your stuff at home (even though I know that’s hard to do).

With a lot less space and still tons of stuff, knowing small dorm room organization tips is incredibly important. That’s why I’m going to share with you all of my favorite small dorm room storage ideas that kept me insanely organized in my dorm room. This will take all of the guesswork out for you and give you some great ideas to stay organized while keeping your room cute and clutter-free. 😉



Simplify your dorm move with our amazing FREE College Packing List. Fill out the form below to get your College Packing List delivered straight to your inbox!

While You're Packing

While packing your dorm room essentials, it’s important to start organizing right away so that the moving process and living in your dorm are so much easier!

1. Garbage bag hack

If you’re not familiar with the packing trash bag hack, I’m about to blow your mind. All you need for this hack is trash bags.

The first step is to poke a pretty big hole through the bottom of a trash bag. Then you’re going to take a bunch of your hanging clothes (still on the hangers!) and pull the top of the hangers through the hole in the bottom of the garbage bag. Pull the bag over the clothes, tie the garbage bag ties, and you’re done! It’s the easiest way to move your hanging clothes and saves soo much time and energy.

2. Make sure you label all of your boxes

Labeling all of your bins and boxes is the easiest way to find all your dorm essentials and dorm decor when moving. Make sure they’re clearly written and also facing the outside of your car when you pack them up. This way you’ll know exactly what you’re moving into your dorm.

3. Use moving bags instead of bins

Moving bags can make moving a bit easier if you have limited space. They’re more flexible to pack and can typically stretch to fit more as well. Bags can also be stored much more easily in a small dorm room than bins. There will definitely not be any room for bins in a dorm room, but bags will most likely fit. This will make the move easier for everyone involved!

4. Pack an overnight bag

Packing an overnight bag is a good idea if you live farther away from the school you’re going to. If you have to spend a night before or after moving stuff into your dorm room, it’s important to pack a bag so everything you need for that one night is in one place. Otherwise, you’ll be rummaging through all of your stuff.

5. Use vacuum sealed bags

Not that you’ll need *more* stuff, but using vacuum-sealed bags makes it possible to fit more in a box or car. If you’re tight on space I definitely recommend this dorm storage hack. Just remember that you’ll need to seal everything again to bring it home!

6. Use zip ties

I never actually used zip ties for my dorm room, but I know some people who used them for their dorm decor headboard. I wish I had thought of this because it sounds so smart! Using zip ties sounds like the perfect dorm room storage ideas for guys who might not care if you can see them.

Exciting News! 🎉 

The Dorm Room Essentials *for 2024* is officially live!

Click here to read the must-have dorm room essentials for 2024 you need to know about.

During Move In Day

Let’s face it… moving day is STRESSFUL. Tensions are high, everybody’s sweating, and you’re just wanting it to be over. I can guarantee you these dorm storage ideas will help make your moving day way better.

1. Be smart about packing your car

In order to unpack your stuff logically, you have to be strategic about how you pack your car. Pack the things you’ll want to unpack first, last, and vice versa. If that’s confusing, read it again, and you’ll understand how that’s most logical.

2. Pack bedding essentials last

The most important thing to remember with packing your car up is to pack your bedding last. The very first thing I recommend doing in your dorm (after cleaning up a little) is to make the bed. This gets all of your bedding out of the way and lets you put stuff on top of your bed while unpacking.

3. Bring cleaning supplies and other tools

When you get to your dorm, it’ll most likely be pretty dirty. I recommend bringing some cleaning supplies to give it a quick clean before and after you move all your stuff in. I also suggest bringing big trash bags for any random trash, and tools to hang college dorm wall decor.

4. Bring door stoppers

You definitely do *not* want your dorm room door closed while moving in. Not only will you be dripping in sweat, but this is also a great time to meet other people on your floor! The first couple weeks of the year everyone will leave their doors open to meet people, and this starts at move-in.

5. Bring a rolling cart or use one provided

You’ll quickly learn how exhausting it is to lug all your stuff out of your car and up into your dorm room. Most dorms will provide rolling carts to fill with stuff from your car which will minimize trips. If yours doesn’t, though, consider buying a cart online. It’ll make moving day a million times easier!

You can find ALL the links to my Dorm Storage here!

Dorm Organization Ideas During the School Year

Now that you’ve made it into your dorm room and settled in, there are so many small dorm room storage ideas that will make dorm life much more manageable! So let’s dive into more small dorm storage ideas below.

1. Use bins in your closet

This is one of my favorite storage ideas for college dorm rooms as well as dorm decor ideas! Small bins in your closet keep your clothes organized and looking super cute. If you have an extra shelf in your closet, put some small bins on it for folded clothes.

2. Get a hanging shoe organizer

If you’re a shoe freak like me, you’re probably having a hard time leaving shoes behind. Well this small dorm room storage hack will hopefully make this decision easier for you. With this shoe organizer you can bring so many more shoes that all will have their own place.

Cube organizers are an absolute necessity for the dorms. These kinds of organizers are a perfect example of dorm storage IKEA that will last all year long. They’re cute for the dorms and can be personalized with fabric bins to put inside. They’ll do so much for dorm storage which is key for dorm life.

4. Add shelf dividers for folded clothes

This is such a smart dorm storage idea if you don’t want to get bins for your closet. Instead, try acrylic shelf dividers that will still keep your closet organized, but you’ll be able to see your clothes better. I had this after college and absolutely loved them!

5. Use a rolling storage cart

I think almost every freshman has a rolling cart in their dorm room. It’s super nice to put hair or makeup products on and be able to move around while you get ready. It’s also nice for coffee cups or kitchen essentials. They're super easy to find and come in so many different colors!

These shelves would be perfect for dorm rooms that don’t have much shelving. This organizer provides shelf space for anything you need. I would put sweatshirts or t-shirts on these shelves because they’d be easy to see and reach.

7. Use over-the-door hooks

I swear by over-the-door hooks for any college student! Jackets and robes take up SO much space and they’re so annoying to have in a closet. I always kept my jackets, robes, towels, etc on over-the-door hooks and it saved me so much room.

8. Get over-the-desk storage shelves

If you have the space, these over-the-desk shelves would be so cute for school supplies or any random DIY dorm decor. They definitely take up a bit of space, but they could really help you stay organized.

9. Utilize space with under bed storage bins

Any type of under bed storage bins are soo important to have in college. You can get drawer bins that you can stack if your bed is tall, or flat rolling bins that can slide under any bed. Having storage bins under your bed are some of the best storage bins for college dorm. I also suggest getting a bed skirt so everything you have under your bed is hidden. This way you can get any under bed bins, stuff them with anything you want, and they won’t ruin your dorm aesthetic!

10. Find a desk lamp with storage

This is a really small dorm storage idea, but if you have small desks in your dorm, I love this idea. If you can find a cute lamp with a storage cup built into it for pens, highlighters, etc, this’ll save you more space on your desk.

You can find ALL the links to my Dorm Room Essentials for 2024 here!

Dorm Organization Essentials

Last but not least, these are the dorm organization essentials I couldn’t live without! There are so many things you shouldn't bring to college, but these are absolute must-haves!

Bedside caddy

Getting up and down from a dorm bed is brutal… especially on mornings when you might not be feeling too good ;). This is one reason why a bedside caddy or shelf is so essential for any dorm room. They attach to your bed and keep all your essentials right next to you. I promise you, this will make your life so much easier!

Space-saving hangers

One of the biggest problems with dorms is the size of their closets. I’ve never seen a dorm with a big closet, so if this isn’t a problem for you, I’m jealous! I found these space-saving hangers before my freshman year and absolutely swear by them. This way you don’t have to say goodbye to too many clothes when you’re packing too!

Command Hooks

Command Hooks will be your absolute best friend for hanging anything up. Not just in the dorms, but I used these so much all throughout college for just about everything. They’re especially nice for dorm decor wall because they go on and off so easily, and dorms typically allow them.

Mesh shower caddy

A *mesh* shower caddy to keep all of your shower and bathroom essentials in is so important for dorm storage. I highly recommend a mesh instead of plastic caddy because it won’t hold as much water. Having all of your bathroom stuff in one place is just super important.

Mini fridge organizer

This vertical organizer for your mini fridge is perfect for keeping all of your kitchen utensils and necessities out of the way. It makes it so easy to keep kitchen stuff organized and out of the way since you won’t be using it all the time. I didn’t have one of these for my dorm and I wish I did!!

Storage ottoman

If you have anything to hide in your dorm room, this is the perfect place to do it! Storage ottomans can actually be so cute and can be the perfect catch-all for random stuff in your dorm room. An ottoman would really add to a boys dorm decor as well. We all know they need some help with it 😉

Jewelry organizer

A cute jewelry organizer will keep your jewelry separated and tidy. This is a great thing to find for dorm decor Amazon, and something you can use for years in the future. I got mine from Amazon and loved how it looked in my dorm room.

Makeup organizer

Similar to a jewelry organizer, you’ll need a good way to store your makeup. I’ve always used a spinning organizer that I keep on my desk and it’s perfect for everyday use. It keeps it organized just how I like it, plus it’s fun to use while I get ready!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Where To Next?