Moving into a college dorm can be exciting, until you realize you've unloaded more boxes than you know what to do with. Your new digs are smaller than you expected, but don't start tossing things into the trash just yet. Our simple DIY storage hacks will have your tiny dorm feeling more spacious and organized than you could have imagined.
Swap Out Your Hangers
Getting free hangers whenever you went shopping for new clothes might have made sense at the time, but now that your closet is virtually a small hole in the wall, they have to go. Invest in slim, velvet hangers and watch how much more you can fit into your closet. As a bonus, they're completely slip-proof—no matter what fabric your clothing is made out of—so feel free to cut those annoying plastic straps off your favorite wide-necked sweater and enjoy the extra space! If your new closet comes without a door, invest in a tension rod and curtain to make your space feel less like a college dorm and more like a chic new apartment.
Get Creative with Shoe Storage
Rather than losing your shoes to the black hole that could become the back of your oh-so-small closet, utilize one of these DIYs to keep your shoes organized. Two cheap tension rods at the bottom of your closet becomes an easy and accessible shoe rack, while an old wine box (for readers over 21) is a simple and stackable way to store your flip-flops and tennis shoes. If you have a little extra shelf space and a few too many pairs of flip-flops or flats, get a cheap magazine holder and use it for extra shoe storage.
File Boxes are Good for More than Mail
The possibilities are pretty endless with file boxes, and thanks to command strips, it's an easy and non-permanent modification to make to any surface of your room. If you like to glam yourself up every morning at your desk, attach a metal file box to the side of your desk and pile all of your favorite makeup products. If you find you're constantly losing your flat iron to the bottom bin under your bed, stick it in a file box for easy access and to avoid losing it.
S-Hooks Will become Your New Best Friend
You might have never had a reason to buy these before, but these cheap hooks are a huge organization asset when it comes to small spaces. If you have already crammed your drawers full of t-shirts, pajamas, and other clothing, hang a few s-hooks in your closet and string up your jeans by one of the belt loops for an easy way to store your pants without wrinkling them in an already-overflowing drawer. They are also great for hanging purses, hats, and other everyday items.
Rain Drop, Drop Top... You're Going to Love these Soda Tops
If somehow your closet is still a tight squeeze, you're one soda away from solving the problem. Pop the soda tab off the can and drop it over the metal loop of one of your hangers. Face the other opening of the soda tab so it's facing the front of your hanger and slip another hanger through the other hole. Now, you have two layers of clothing storage and a lot less to cram into your new dorm drawers.
Turn Your Makeup into Magnets
Magnet boards are a dime a dozen in college towns, and they are a great way to utilize wall space for storage. Purchase a few stick-on magnets (or glue them on yourself) and adhere them to the backs of your favorite makeup products. Adhere your magnet board to the wall near where you do your makeup, pop your magnetized products onto the board, and watch your roommates marvel at your brilliant makeup storage solution. If you decide to use this hack, make sure your magnets and board are strong enough to support the heavier makeup products you plan on magnetizing.
Command Hooks for Anything and Everything
Is the inside of your closet door bare and your floor covered in misplaced scarves? Command hooks. Need a way to keep your necklaces from getting lost or tangled? Command hooks. Somewhere to hang your purse or bag at the end of the day? You guessed it, command hooks. Whether you're trying to store hair styling tools or headphones, the possibilities are pretty endless with these things, and RA's love them because they don't do any damage to the walls when they have to come off at the end of the year.
Shoe-Organizing Snack Holder
A girl's gotta keep her candy stash on hand and hidden from hungry roommates. The best way to do that? Put a shoe organizer with an array of clear, plastic pouches on the inside of your closet door and load it up with snacks. This works great with other must-haves too, like extra hygiene products, jewelry, or seasonal dorm decorations.
Mason Jars for Storage
You probably had pretty high hopes for your desk on day one, but within a week, it's bound to be cluttered with everything from pens, to post-its, to makeup brushes. Avoid the mess with mason jars, a chic and easy storage method you can personalize as much as you want. Clear mason jars are trending right now, but if you prefer blue or sparkly storage, make them your own and craft to your heart's content.
Binder Clips to Avoid Chord Chaos
You brought too many cords to count to school and when you try to unpack them, you find a giant ball of nearly untangleable chargers and cables. To keep this disaster from repeating itself, attach a few binder clips to the side of your desk, flip the metal clasps so they're facing outward, and slide your charging cables right through. Bonus tip: Do the same to your nightstand so you never find yourself hopping out of bed and crawling around in search of your phone charger at 2 a.m.
Shower Organizers Hold More than Shampoo
Shower organizers are relatively small and light, and therefore incredibly easy to hang up on your dorm room wall and make your own. Find one that fits your needs and fill it up with everything from makeup, to cleaning supplies, to notebooks and school supplies. Most wire shower organizers are white, black or gray, so they're easily customizable to match your room's unique style.
Fold Your Clothes... Really
This might seem obvious, but the busy college lifestyle lends itself more to messy drawers and wasted space than organization. Go beyond regular folding and save drawer space by rolling clothes into tight cylinders or by folding them and stacking them as if they're books instead of t-shirts. You'll save space, time, and keep yourself from messing up your drawers all over again because you'll see the shirt you're looking for as soon as you open the drawer.
When your new space is empty except for boxes that are filled to the brim with precious possessions, moving in and finding everything a place can be incredibly daunting. Resist the urge to panic, keep these tips in mind, and by the end of the day you'll be lounging in your new and organized space, more focused on befriending your new roommates than finding a place for your scarves and purses.