School is back in session. College students are relocating into their first dorm or apartment. Studies show that an organized dorm room promotes productivity and happiness since students won’t spend endless time getting frustrated trying to find their belongings when they’re in a rush. These tips will teach you how to organize a dorm room.

“Dorm rooms need to be organized on the same principle as any other tiny room,” noted Lauren Williams, owner of Casual Uncluttering, LLC in Woodinville, Wash. This involves creating space and then making the most of every inch of the room.

Here, experts offer organization ideas to establish an orderly dorm room that will get you through the whole semester.

dorm stuff

If you can, bring less

Bring only the necessities to college. Don’t bring many books since you can check out anything you’ll need or download it to your E-reader, which takes up much less space. Bring necessities like clothes, bedding, towels, toiletries, and cleaning supplies.

Get in touch with your roommate as you’re preparing for the semester, suggested Dustin Ramsdell, resident director for the Darling Learning Center on the Bangor, Maine campus at Husson University. “It helps make things smoother with getting to know each other, and you can coordinate who is bringing certain supplies.”

Items like irons and ironing boards, hair dryers, TV’s and brooms can be shared.

Also consider the climate and details of the location. “Students moving to Hawaii from Minnesota can probably leave winter clothes behind,” said Williams.

“Generally, if you have the ability to keep anything stored elsewhere while you’re living on campus, do it,” said Ramsdell. “It makes more room in the precious limited space you have for all the other stuff you’ll want and need.”

If you live close enough to the campus that you can return home frequently, leave clothing you won’t need immediately behind. Then, switch jackets and coats for shorts and tank tops during a visit when the season changes.

Rolling Cart with Drawers

Rolling carts with drawers are such a versatile storage item for small spaces. They could be used to hold toiletries, beauty supplies, and towels. You could consider lining it with drawer organizers and storing your underwear and accessories in it. The rolling cart could also be an end table and hold your alarm clock, charging station, and extra storage. The possibilities are endless!

Under the Bed Storage

Using the space under your bed is crucial, especially if sharing a small dorm room. Add bed risers to create more space under your bed. Consider filling clear plastic tubs with your extra sheets and towels or your microwavable kitchen dishes and snacks. This way, you’ll readily see each box’s contents without needing to open it.

Organize Your Closet

For clothes, “hang as much as possible,” said Pfeiffer. If you only have one rod, add another rod such as the Dublet Adjustable Clothing Rod. Look for hangers that allow you to keep various outfits in a slim space. Use hanging shelves to store folded sweaters, sweatshirts, pants, ball caps, handbags and scarves, added Pfeiffer.

For clothes that you’re not wearing often, or are more seasonal, consider storing in space saver bags under your bed.

Over the Door Storage

Hang some hooks over your door. This is the ideal spot to hang your towels or bathrobe and keep them off the floor. You could also hang an over-the-door shoe organizer from those hooks, making it simple to peruse your footwear daily.

Organize Your Desk

Use a mug as a cute way to store your pens and pencils. Add a desk organizer with compartments to sort notepads, extra pencils, and paper clips. Use large binder clips to hold your computer or laptop cords, so it doesn’t become a mess of cords.

Hang with care

If you want to take jewelry, first sort through it and leave the valuable items at home, suggested Pfeiffer. Then, use a bulletin board to hang pieces on the wall. A couple of other options for hanging jewelry: Command Hooks or a hanging jewelry organizer, which has clear pockets for bracelets, earrings, and necklaces.

Create order early on

“Typically college activities start within an hour or two of a new student’s formal admittance to the dorm – that first week of orientation is a critical one,” stated Williams.

The sooner everything is organized, the sooner you can focus on the next events. You’ll also be able to see if you forgot anything at home, or need to purchase extra supplies or storage bins.

Once things are in their place, put them back when you’re done using them, added Ramsdell.

“Having a place where things are supposed to go, and keeping them there, makes things like medicine or cleaning supplies easy to find and allows them to not take up space when they’re not needed,” Ramsdell said.

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