Dorm rooms are notorious for being small, crowded, and in most cases, outdated. To make matters worse, you either end up sharing a dorm room with a complete stranger or living in close quarters with no break from a friend. Dorm life can be stressful! Add clutter into the mix and it’s a recipe for frustration, anxiety, and an overstimulating environment. Most dorm rooms are equipped with a bed, desk, and dresser for each inhabitant, but have minimal open floor space no matter how you lay the room out.
The good news is that there are ways to make your dorm room a more comfortable, livable space by increasing storage and reducing clutter. Here are the top DIYs to keep things neat and tidy in your dorm.
1. Add Shelving: In a dorm room, shelves are your best friend! While many dorms have restrictions on what can and cannot be installed on the walls, there are shelving options you can purchase or DIY that are made to sit on your dorm desk. They are raised enough to not infringe on your workspace while still offering convenient access to things you may need, like books and chargers. Plus, if you have a cat, they’ll love this idea too. Cats always need a space up high to rest and observe.
2. Make Use of Underbed Space: The beds in dorm rooms are usually relatively small and lightweight, making them good candidates for being set onto risers. The higher your bed, the more storage space you open for yourself underneath. The options for shelves, baskets, and tables that can comfortably sit underneath a dorm bed on risers are virtually unlimited.
3. Don’t Waste Door Space: The back of your dorm room door and closet door are perfect spots to add more storage for bulky items, like shoes, and small items, like jewelry and makeup. Over-door storage bags are available with all kinds of different shapes and sizes of cubbies and pouches. There are even shower curtains with storage pockets that you could DIY into back of door storage.
4. Baskets: You can find baskets in all sizes and materials, with some being cute and made to be seen, while others are better kept put away. You can even purchase plain baskets or “ugly” baskets and DIY them into something that suits your aesthetic. Regardless of the kind of basket you choose, you can use baskets for just about anything. Dirty laundry, food, school supplies, and hygiene supplies can all be kept in baskets, making for easy access without adding clutter.
5. Get a Rolling Cart: Rolling carts make great dorm room storage additions because you can use them to keep just about anything out of the way and off the floor, but you can easily scoot them out of the way to access other areas anytime you need to. Hardware stores carry wheels you can attach to furniture items, so you can even DIY your own rolling carts with baskets or shelves.
6. Use Magnets: Magnets are an inexpensive, accessible storage solution. You can attach magnets to just about anything and then store the magnetized items on metallic surfaces. You can use this trick for spices, hygiene supplies, towel hooks, and most lightweight items. If you have a large enough metallic surface, you can even attach magnets to a basket and make use of the storage potential of the exterior of a dorm refrigerator.
7. Pegboards: While pegboards may not be the most attractive items, they are an excellent space-saving solution and can be more chic than you might think. Pegboard hooks can be rearranged to allow space for even oddly shaped or sized items. A pegboard can be rearranged at will to meet your current storage needs, whether you changed to new products or the seasons changed. Pegboards are often lightweight enough to be mounted with sticky strips or magnets, so they can be used for storage in open wall space.
8. Eliminate Excess: You can open up dorm space by doing something as simple as getting rid of items you don’t use or need. Have you moved from your summer wardrobe to your winter wardrobe? See if you can store your warm weather clothes with a family member or friend. Maybe it’s a new semester and you don’t need all your textbooks anymore. Look into textbook buyback programs, selling your textbooks online, or offer them to a friend or underclassman who is entering the course you just completed. Anything you can do to clean up items that do nothing but take up space will help you make your dorm more comfortable.
DIY projects are a great way to make your dorm room your own creation and to unwind after long hours of schoolwork. DIY dorm room storage won’t just add to your aesthetic, either. Increasing storage in your dorm room will improve your mood, decrease your frustration and anxiety, and help you have more pleasant interactions with people, especially your roommate.
Dorm living and college are both stressful enough on their own. A dirty, cluttered, chaotic environment will only increase your stress levels. Imagine how much more relaxed you’ll feel by having an open workspace for studying or enough open floor space to practice yoga or meditation. And of course, don’t forget to protect all of your stuff from the unexpected with renters insurance!