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Ten Top Dorm Room Storage Tips

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A Place for Everything

You’ve culled Pinterest for the cutest ideas. You’ve poked your head into every room on your residence hall. But still, it’s tough cramming all those precious items you need into the space you have. Amazingly, the worst part about small spaces is that while everything is physically closer, it can be harder to find what you need in all that clutter. Whether you’re in one of UT Dallas’ residence halls or sharing an apartment with three friends, controlling the clutter not only streamlines your get-out-the-door routine but also means your own room is a welcoming environment when you return after a day spent mastering calculus and chemistry.

Here are some sweet ideas that won’t run roughshod over your budget.

1. Those over-the-door shoe organizers don’t need to stay over the door. Get one (about $12 at Target) and then cut in thirds. One row will anchor under your mattress (use duct tape if you need to), the other will hang down, under your duvet/bedspread to serve as extra storage for shoes, yes, but also scissors, snacks, sewing kit, flashlight, whatever you need handy but hidden.

2. Ice cube trays — Don’t underestimate the power of those little cubes. The Container Store has a 21-cube tray (er, storage system) with a cover for $4. Use those little pockets to store earrings, necklaces, rings, paperclips, thumbtacks, flash drives; the list is pretty endless. One of the keys to living in a small space is keeping everything in its spot. This tray absolutely has a spot for everything small.

3. Get your fridge off the floor. Mini fridges are a college student’s best friend, but setting them on the floor turns them into a space hog. Purchase a sturdy cart (Walmart has a multipurpose kitchen cart for $40) to get your fridge off the floor and open up shelf space underneath.

4. Even if your bed is high off the floor, it could be higher! Get bed lifts to give yourself extra under-bed storage. For an extra dose of smart, buy the $30 USB bed lifts from Bed Bath & Beyond so you can charge your electronics and plug in your desk lamp without stringing extension cords across the room.

5. Shower caddies are great for the shower — but also great for your room. Get a sturdy picture hanger and hang a shower caddy near your desk or bed to corral notebooks, iPads, purses, car keys, wallets and all those other items that can get lost in the detritus of your room. Remember, a place for everything eliminates the time spent hunting for keys or wallet.

6. This is so obvious — why didn’t you think of this already? Nothing says, “I’m away at school,” more than a huge collection of ball caps. Keep them in one place with a sturdy wooden hanger (you might need to “borrow” one from home) and a set of shower curtain rings (12-pack at the Dollar Tree for $1).

7. Don’t overlook the power of Command hooks. These all-purpose, no-holes-in-walls hooks will hang everything from curtain rods by your window to flat irons in your bathroom. Stick a couple on the wall by your bed to hold up your iPad for easy watching.

8. This takes a little more time — as in, this is something that will give you storage AND make your room feel more like home. These storage crates (less than $2 at Walmart) are great for just about everything — from a place to store your Ramen noodle cups to out-of-season T-shirts. Directions to make these stools are simple, but basically add a plywood “lid,” cover with foam and fabric and enjoy a place to prop your feet.

9. Nothing says “eeeww” faster than food all over your room. Keep it cornered in one of the little stools (above) for a classy alternative, but at minimum, put it in an under-the-bed plastic storage box. Your room won’t have that leftover feel, and you’ll know where the box of tea bags is.

10. Get a magnetic board — or make one (Krylon magnetic spray — $8 at Hobby Lobby). And then buy a strip of magnets with self-stick tape ($2.50 at Hobby Lobby). Now, put a piece of that magnet on the back of all your makeup — or whatever else you need to keep nearby. No more eyeshadow in the bottom of your sock drawer. Awesomeness.

Jeanne Spreier

Jeanne is a writer and editor who has worked in JSOM's External Affairs for more than seven years. She is also mother of three college-age kids who were born and raised in Dallas, and gets a lot of her Dallas know-how from them. On any given day, she would rather be outside somewhere. She earned her communications degree from the University of Kentucky. Read more articles

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