Cute College Dorm Organizing Ideas

Are you (or your kiddo) heading off to college this fall? As you’re making your packing checklist (you’re doing that, right?), be sure to consider some handy organizing tools to help maximize tiny dorm rooms and apartments! I’ve compiled my list of favorites, all of which are conveniently available on Amazon, with free Prime shipping. (Bonus: I’ve also listed a tip to stay on top of assignments and activities, plus a final tip for a yummy care package at a cost-effective price!)
bedside storage made easy
Most dorms won’t supply bedside tables/nightstands (goodbye, luxuries of home!) But you can create a handy place to store your sleepy-time essentials with the Bedshelfie.

It easily (and sturdily) clamps onto the side of any bed and is the perfect place for keeping a cell phone, lip balm, and water bottle handy at night. It even has two wire slots for chargers.
a rolling cart for beautifying or nourishing
Need a little extra storage space? Try a rolling cart! These handy little guys come in a variety of sizes and materials, but they all function as a place to hold items you need to access frequently. I really like this metal one by EZOWare. I’ve seen girls use these for all their getting-ready essentials such as make-up, hair products, and the like. Or try using one for school supplies, or create a handy snack station. The possibilities are endless!
closet space maximizer
If you have more folded clothing rather than hanging items, it’s easy to create more space in the closet with a hanging closet organizer. While sometimes called a “sweater organizer,” these can hold so much more! Fold and stack t-shirts, jeans, pj’s or whatever you’d like! You can also think beyond clothing and use one to hold snacks, school supplies, or anything else you want to keep up and off the floor.

They come in a variety of sizes, but I especially like this 6-shelf one from MustQ. The canvas fabric is sturdy, and the two mesh side pockets are handy for accessories. The loop-top straps securely fit over any hanging rod. These also come in a narrower version for shoe storage. Some versions come with pull-out “drawers,” if you prefer to hide unmentionables or smaller items.
underbed storage solutions for sweaters (and more!)
Every college student has space under her bed, so don’t waste this precious storage area! I recommend clear-top, zippered organizers like these. Most beds will easily fit two large bags.

Select bags that have handles so they are easy to pull in and out, plus sturdy zippers and clear tops so you can see what’s inside. This is the perfect place to store seasonal items, such as the bulky sweaters and jackets during the warmer months of early fall and spring until the weather brings a chill. Or store shoes, extra linens/towels, or anything you don’t need to access daily. If you need to boost your bed just a few inches so the boxes fit, grab some bed risers for under $10.
wall space (without making holes)
You’re going to want to make your space your own. That means adding artwork/posters to the walls! Remember that the dorm folks don’t want holes in the walls, so opt for poster putty or Command Poster Strips. Both will remove cleanly when you move out in May. 

I recommend picking up a variety of sizes of Command hooks before you move in since you won’t know what you need until you get there. In addition to the basic white plastic option, I like the metal-look hooks for a prettier look. (Cute, right? These are even waterproof!) This brushed-nickel finish hook holds up to three pounds! Think outside the box when it comes to hanging stuff… hang necklaces, purses, headphones, wet towels… You can even “hang” curtains by resting a simple curtain rod between two sturdy hooks.
cr(e)ate space
Crates… they’re basic, but often overlooked for their inexpensive storage potential. Plastic ones come in a variety of sizes and colors for less than $10 each. But I prefer wooden ones for a more Pinterest-worthy look. Use them in their natural wood color like this one from Amazon, or paint them your favorite hue to match the room’s decor. 

A few fun ways to use them: Turn one on its side and put the microwave on top of it. It can then hold plates, mugs, and cutlery. Put the bed on risers and store off-season clothing or supplies under the bed in crates. Stack 2-4 vertically (tipped on their sides) to create a bookshelf or nightstand. Or use them instead of baskets for sturdy, attractive storage. The possibilities are endless.
the prettiest, most perfect planner
Not all organizing is limited to space within the dorm room. College students have to organize tasks and time as well. I’ve used planners since my very first day of high school to keep track of assignments, upcoming tests, projects, work schedules, sports, and the like. I’m not sure if I utilized them because I was organized, or if I was organized because I used them. No matter, if you want to get and stay organized throughout college, you need a planner.

True, today’s college students could opt for some version of an online calendar or app-based list. But as a professional organizer, mom, and life-long organized person ;), I will tell you that there is no better system than a paper planner! When we write (rather than type or tap), our brains absorb and retain the info more easily. And when something is beautiful, we are more likely to enjoy using it. So find one that you LOVE so that you’ll use it every day. There are a variety of sizes and layouts, and of course, styles.  I personally LOVE Amy Knapp’s The Very Busy Planner. In addition to both weekly and monthly calendar pages, you’ll find fun stuff like areas for bullet journaling (so hot right now!), stickers, inspirational quotes, and the cutest illustrations. (She also has a fabulous wall calendar that is perfect for busy moms that I have used for the past 10 years. Check that out here.) If you’re not currently a planner user, try one this school year for 30 days. I guarantee you’ll be converted (and eternally organized)!
BONUS TIP: send ’em some (food) love
Once you’ve helped your kiddos move into the dorm or apartment, (and you’ve used up a box of tissues on the way home), you feel a little helpless. How will they survive without you? (Rest assured, they will!) But sending a care package always makes mom feel better. I love this easy option to send snacks. This box of 45 treats is under $20 with FREE shipping. Click here to see what’s inside. (You won’t believe you can get all this for this price!) Send one. Today.

I hope these ideas are helpful as you shop for dorm essentials. Want a few more ideas? Check out my Dorm Life Pinterest board here! Want more tips to help prepare your student for leaving the nest? Check out Off You Go! Success Cards by clicking here.
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