25 dorm essentials for style and organization


Organizing isn’t usually taught in colleges, but honestly, it should be. Because your dorm is more than just a place to sleep – it’s also where you’ll study, eat, socialize, dress, and get ready for day and night. Which means everything you need for these disparate tasks needs a place to go. And to complicate matters, the dorms are usually very, very small.

With these issues and more in mind, we consulted with experts Caroline Moss, host of the popular Product Recommendation Podcast “Thanks, I just bought it!“; Kaylen Fields, Brand Manager at DormCo, a specialty retailer dedicated to finding the best dorm-centric products on the market; and Alex Rush, a professional organizer whose company, New York spruce, specializing in small spaces. We asked these experts to help us pick 20 of the best dorm organizers, all under $25.

$13.99 at Amazon

Typically, dorm beds don’t come with a bedside table, and most rooms aren’t designed to accommodate one. Rush chose this cart to solve this problem. “Whether your dorm is made up of bunk beds or you’re lucky enough to score just one, the reality is there won’t be room for a bedside table,” she says, “so a cart will be your new BFF.”

$19.99 $16.99 at Amazon

Sometimes part of organizing is finding decor solutions that hide things when they’re not in use, especially because visual clutter can make small spaces feel claustrophobic and messy. A dorm-size bed skirt will help hide storage under the bed, allowing you to take advantage of that space without always having to see what’s underneath.

$10 to Amazon

Whitmor Zippered Underbed Bags, 2 Pack

Underbed storage is essential when it comes to maximizing small spaces, especially for storing bulky items like extra bedding or towels. A set of sturdy boxes roomy enough to store almost anything while under your dorm bed will help keep the space under the bed organized.

$23.94 to Amazon

Fields chose this slightly different version of the bedside cart, which attaches to a headboard rather than sliding between the mattress and the bed frame. “It stores all of your bedside necessities without taking up space in your dorm room,” she says, “making it a great choice for smaller dorm rooms that don’t have the space for a nightstand.”

$22 $16.50 to Target

Moss chose this storage ottoman because, as she points out, “dorm seats are hard to come by — and how many people do you really want to sit on your bed, anyway?” This storage ottoman has a padded flat top, so in addition to creating extra storage space, it can be used as a seat or an end table when entertaining in your dorm room.

$12 $9 to Target

This small open crate can be used to store books, craft materials like yarn and knitting needles or even an extra blanket – and its sleek industrial design and copper handles make it look a lot more expensive than it actually is!

$20.99 at Amazon

College dorms aren’t exactly known for their large closet space, which is why investing in a set of slim hangers is such a smart idea. They take up less room on the rod, allowing you to hang more clothes than traditional plastic hangers, and the non-slip velor surface prevents clothes from sliding off the hanger and ending up on the closet floor.

$12 $9 to Target

If switching to slim hangers still doesn’t leave you with enough storage space for all your outfits, a closet rod extender is what you need. Moss chose this adjustable version which she says will “double your closet space”.

$16.99 $12.99 at Amazon

Having a place to toss dirty laundry is crucial in a dorm room, but hampers can take up a lot of space. This hanging basket can be hung on the back of the door, where it won’t take up floor space but is still handy enough to keep you from throwing your dirty pajamas on the floor.

$14.99 $9.97 to Amazon

Simple Household Items 24 Pockets Large Clear Pockets Over The Door Hanging Shoe Organizer

You can use this organizer for your shoes as intended, but it can also be used to store extra toiletries, cleaning supplies, socks, belts, and other accessories or miscellaneous items.

$19.99 $16.99 at Amazon

Amkufo Pack of 10 Space Saving Clothes Hangers

If you have to share a closet with a roommate or just want to maximize your closet space, these closet organizers allow you to take advantage of the vertical space in your overhead closet.

$7.99 to Amazon

Moss urges dorm students to “forget plastic shower baskets, which are ripe for grime, dirt and weird smells” in favor of a quick-drying mesh basket to hold toiletries. This tote-style basket has nine pockets of varying sizes that can hold everything from shampoo and conditioner to a toothbrush and toothpaste.

$20.99 $10.12 to Amazon

For the most part, versatile storage solutions are the name of the game when it comes to choosing products to keep your dorm room organized, but sometimes a specialty item is just what you need. This inexpensive hair dryer caddy uses 3M Command adhesive strips to secure the unit to the wall, allowing you to take advantage of vertical space without damaging walls.

$21.99 at Amazon

Solejazz 3 Tier Storage Cart

Rolling carts are favorites of organizers and small-space design experts who love the small footprint, deep storage compartments, and portability. In a dorm, this cart can be used to store everything from toiletries to clothes to school supplies.

$15 $12.75 to Target

Extra drawer space is so important in a dorm room, and this lightweight plastic three-drawer unit is super versatile. It can be used to store smaller clothes like socks, underwear, and pajamas, freeing up space in larger, dorm-issued drawers for bulkier items like sweats. And it can be turned into a rolling vanity if you are a person with a large collection of hairdressing tools, makeup, nail polish, etc. It can even double as a bedside table to store all those items you like to keep close at hand. the bed.

$17.99 at Amazon

“These babies are great for hanging jewelry, keys, your student ID lanyard, etc.,” says Rush. “They are aesthetically pleasing and also adhesive so no drilling/breaking the rule is necessary.” Rush points out that brackets are a good way to use as much vertical space as possible.

$16.99 $15.99 at Amazon

Using vertical space for organization is key to maximizing a small space. Your dorm does not allow you to drill holes in the wall? No problem! “These sticky floating shelves can save your life,” says Rush. “Since they are adhesive, avoid stuffing them with heavier objects (eg chemistry textbooks). But they’re great for things like organizing cosmetics, lightweight pocket books, photos of your mom, and more.

$14 to Urban outfitters

Lizzy wall hooks

Moss is also a fan of hooks for organization, and if you’re allowed to hang things on the wall, she recommends this inexpensive but very stylish model. “This wall hook (and you’ll definitely want to buy more than one) may seem modest, but it’s perfect for hanging an umbrella, tote bag, or even storing your necklaces,” she says.

$13.49 to Amazon

Okomatch bedside shelf

Perfect for storing your bedtime relaxation essentials like your glasses, journal, ChapStick or headphones, this bedside caddy makes sure nothing falls between the cracks of your bed. Just be sure to mount it with dorm-safe adhesives like Command strips.

$21.99 at The container store

Rush calls this hub “the most crucial and versatile piece for dorm organization.” It has many, many uses, Rush says, offering some ideas. “It’s perfect for both office organization and beauty supply organization, especially if your dorm desk doubles as a vanity.”

$21.99 at Amazon

Even if your dorm has a trash can, this slim wastebasket can be a great organizer. Use it to store oddly shaped items that might otherwise end up on the floor, like exercise mats, umbrellas, or extra tote bags.

$11.99 at Etsy

Drawer under the table EntiretyGoods

“Dorm desks are standard issue, so liven up yours by making it a little more inviting to all your materials,” Moss says of this inexpensive desk accessory that adds storage to otherwise unused space, freeing up valuable office space.

$23.88 to Amazon

If you plan on having a mini-fridge in your dorm, Fields recommends another type of cart to turn the unit into storage space. The Cooking Caddy, which has pockets that can hold plates, utensils and even non-perishable snacks, “saves space by holding everything you need to dine in your dorm while it just fits the above your dorm mini-fridge,” Fields says.

$26.99 $19.99 at Amazon

Power strip with Hanycony surge protector

Sockets wear out quickly in a dorm. From plugging in fridges and coffee makers to finding space to charge your phone, laptop and devices, this surge protector has eight outlets and four USB ports to meet all your needs. Plus, you might even have a space or two left to offer your housemates when they drop by.

$29.99 $22.99 at Amazon

Jerry & Maggie desk organizer

Keep all your textbooks and notes organized and within easy reach with this desk shelf. You’ll free up more space on your desk to work on and, as you can easily see, you’re less likely to forget to throw your textbooks in your campus backpack on the way to class.


Comments are closed.