10 Dorm Space-Savers and Must-Haves

When voicing any concerns over a college dorm, I was usually met with some variation of this one answer: “Don’t worry, in college you’ll rarely be in your dorm anyway.” This is true–between new classes, new friends, and new adventures, your relationship with your dorm may start to resemble a snapchat streak with an acquaintance: friendly contact once a day and nothing more.

I, however, disagree. I believe your dorm should be your home base; when life has been hectic, you deserve a space you can breathe in. Here are 10 items for your dorm that can increase your free space and lessen your stress.

1.) Bedside Pocket

bedside pocket

Photo credit: containerstore.com

As someone who wakes up in the middle of every night without fail with the thirst of 10 marathon runners, I’ve always relied on my bedside table to have resources like water near me. Not having a bedside table in college simply was not going to work for me. Luckily, these bedside pockets provide a cost-friendly solution to my dire first world problem. It’s perfect for holding your charging phone, glasses, a water bottle, chapstick, and anything else you may find yourself needing in the small hours of the morning.

2.) Vanity Organizer

vanity organizer

Photo credit: Target

Clutter, undoubtedly, is a stressor. Perhaps you are one of those people who have been blessed with the gift of organization and discipline. I am not one of those people. In order to make it easier to keep a clutter-free room, I needed to set up my dorm so it was nearly impossible to mess up. These vanity organizers transformed my desk from no man’s land to a proper work space. These can be used for anything you want– makeup, school supplies, or (if you’re feeling extra) small snacks and candies to welcome company.

3.) Overhead Desk Organizer

overhead desk organizer

Photo credit: freshome.com

This simple dorm addition will nearly double the storage space you get out of your desk. By expanding your storage vertically, not horizontally, you utilize extra space without taking away open floor space. The desk organizer is a fantastic place to keep your textbooks, notebooks, and a photo or two! (Personally, I find that putting a small green houseplant in this space adds to a relaxing, comfortable environment).

4.) Under-bed Storage Drawers

underbed storage

Photo credit: Pinterest

Probably the most common dorm space-saver, the under-bed storage drawers have stood the test of time for struggling young college kids. Marist beds are height-adjustable, and students take advantage of this by filling the unused space underneath the bed with storage units. However, if you’re short or, like me, chronically uncoordinated, this brings a subsequent problem– how do I get onto my bed? For this, I give my next recommendation:

5.) Hollow Ottoman

hollow ottoman

Photo credit: Wayfair

Cute and functional? We’re here for it. These ottomans work great as a bed stepstool, an extra place to sit, and a concealed storage space. Whether you want to use it for cheesy home memories, your old Seventeen Magazines featuring High School Musical-era Zac Efron, or even just extra clothes you don’t have space for, this little stool comes in handy during the daily life of a college student.

6.) USB-port Desk Lamp

Desk Lamp

Photo credit: Wayfair

My charging lamp has saved my phone more times than I can count. Extension cords aren’t allowed in the dorms unless they’re surge protectors– so what you’ve got, you’ve got! And trust me, when your phone is on 3% and the last outlet is being used for your roommate’s hair straightener, you’ll be glad you have your lamp option.

7.) Adhesive Dry-Erase Board

dry-erase calendar

Photo credit: Pinterest

Before I came to college, my friend warned me that planners and calendars are a must. If you want to remember project deadlines, special dates, and your daily to-do list, you need a planner! Adhesive dry erase boards are my favorite solution. No extra space is taken up, you have one fewer book to worry about, and you save paper! And let’s be real, wiping it down and recreating it will be the most satisfying part of your month.

8.) Hanging Jewelry Rack

hanging jewelry rack

Photo credit: Walmart

Besides providing a cute way to display your jewelry (so you can remember to wear those cute earrings you always forget about), a jewelry rack can be used for keys, pictures, or anything else you can think of! Best, you won’t have to worry about a jewelry box taking up your desk space.

9.) Fairy Lights

dorm fairy lights example

Photo credit: Lights4fun

I know what you’re probably thinking: fairy lights, the most basic addition to any college dorm. You’re rolling your eyes either because of the “oh-so-typical” recommendation, or because of course you already got fairy lights, you’re not a monster. However, these lights are more than just a trendy way to keep your room well-lit. They soften the ambience of the room, which sounds inconsequential, but trust me; when you’re doing homework at night after a tiring day, you’ll want a study environment free of any harsh light or unavoidable shadows. The best way to ensure that is to hang adorable, colorful lights on your walls!

10.) Essential Oils Diffuser

essential oils diffuser

Photo credit: Best Essential Oils Reviews 2018

I save my favorite item for last. While not technically a space saving appliance, I put it on this list because who doesn’t love small joys? My favorite thing I own in my dorm has to be an essential oil diffuser. Fill it with water and add any essential oil you’d like, and you can have your room smelling anywhere from warm vanilla to an island breeze. Lavender helps with sleep and relaxation, while citrus aids in energy and motivation. No matter what you need,  there’s a scent for it. (Warning: putting them all in at once will not solve your problems. I already tried that.)

So yes, your college experience will be filled with boundless adventures and new experiences, so much so that your dorm hardly matters. However, college is also in the details. So put detail into your dorm! Make it a place where you can feel comfortable, happy, and most importantly, at home!

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