25 dorm room essentials for style and organization

Organizing isn’t usually taught in colleges, but frankly, it should be. Because your dorm is more than just a place to sleep – it’s also where you study, eat, socialize, get dressed and get ready for the day and night. That means everything you need for those different tasks needs a place. And to make things even harder, dorms tend to be very, very small.

With those issues and more in mind, we consulted experts Caroline Moss, the host of the popular product recommendation podcast “Gee Thanks, Just Bought It!”; Kaylen Fields, a brand manager at DormCo, a specialty retailer dedicated to finding the best dorm-focused products on the market; and Alex Rush, a professional organizer whose company, Spruce NYC, specializes in small spaces. We asked these experts to help us pick 20 of the absolute best dorm room organizers, all priced under $25.

$13.99 at Amazon

Usually dorms don’t have a bedside table, and most rooms are not set up to accommodate one. Rush chose this caddy to solve that problem. “Whether your dorm room is bunk beds, or you’re lucky enough to score one, the reality is there won’t be room for a nightstand,” she says, “so a nightstand will be your new BFF.”

$19.99 $16.99 at Amazon

Sometimes part of organizing is finding decorating solutions that hide items while not in use — especially since visual clutter can make small spaces feel claustrophobic and cluttered. A dorm-sized bed skirt helps hide storage space under the bed, so you can take advantage of that space without always having to see what’s underneath.

$10 at Amazon

Whitmor 2-Pack Zippered Underbed Bags

Under-bed 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 that are roomy enough to store almost anything and still fit under your dorm bed will help keep the space under the bed organized.

$23.94 at Amazon

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

$22 $16.50 at Target

Moss chose this storage ottoman because, as she points out, “dorm chairs are hard to come by—and how many people do you actually want to sit on your bed?” This storage ottoman has a flat upholstered top, so in addition to creating extra storage space, it can also be used as a seating area or as a side table when entertaining people in your dorm room.

$12 $9 at Target

This small open top crate can be used to store books, craft supplies such as yarn and knitting needles or even an extra blanket – and the stylish industrial design and brass handles make it look much more expensive than it actually is!

$20.99 at Amazon

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

$12 $9 at Target

If by switching to slim hangers you still don’t have enough closet space for all your fashions, a closet rod extension is what you need. Moss picked out this adjustable version that she says “doubles your closet space.”

$16.99 $12.99 at Amazon

Having a place to dispose of dirty laundry is crucial in a dorm room, but baskets 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 valuable floor space, yet it’s handy enough to keep you from tossing your dirty pajamas on the floor.

$14.99 $9.97 at Amazon

Simple Houseware 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 10 Pieces Space Saving Hangers

If you need to share a closet with a roommate or just want to maximize your closet space, these closet organizers can help you take advantage of the vertical space in your hanging closet.

$7.99 at Amazon

Moss urges college students to forget “plastic shower caddies, which are ripe for gunk and grime and strange smells,” rather than a quick-drying mesh caddy for storing toiletries. This tote bag style caddy has nine compartments in different sizes that can hold everything from shampoo and conditioner to a toothbrush and toothpaste.

$20.99 $10.12 at Amazon

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

$21.99 at Amazon

Solejazz storage 3-tier trolley

Rolling carts are a favorite of organizers and design experts in small spaces who love the slim footprint, deep storage pockets and portability. In a dorm room, this cart can be used to store everything from toiletries to clothes to school supplies.

$15 $12.75 at Target

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

$17.99 at Amazon

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

$16.99 $15.99 at Amazon

Using vertical space for organization is the key to maximizing a small space. Your dorm doesn’t allow you to drill holes in the wall? No problem! “These adhesive floating shelves could save your life,” says Rush. “Because they are sticky, you should not fill them with heavier objects (like chemistry books). But they’re great for things like organizing beauty products, lightweight paperbacks, photos of your mom, etc.”

$14 at Urban Outfitters

Lizzy Wall Hooks

Moss is also a fan of hooks for organizing, and if you’re allowed to hang items 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 look modest, but it’s perfect for hanging an umbrella, tote bag, or even keeping your necklaces organized,” she says.

$13.49 at Amazon

Okomatch bedside table

Perfect for storing all your relaxation essentials before bed, such as your glasses, journal, ChapStick or earplugs, this nightstand ensures that 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 turntable “the most crucial and versatile piece for dorm room organization.” It has many, many uses, Rush says, offering a few ideas. “It’s perfect for both desktop organization and beauty product organization, especially if your dorm desk doubles as a vanity.”

$21.99 at Amazon

Even if your dorm room has a trash can, this sleek trash can can be a great organizer. Use it to store odd-shaped items that could otherwise end up on the floor, such as exercise mats, umbrellas, or extra tote bags.

$11.99 at Etsy

Whole Goods Under-the-Table Drawer

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

$23.88 at Amazon

If you plan on having a mini-fridge in your dorm room, Fields recommends a different kind of caddy to put the unit into storage. The Cooking Caddy, which has pockets for plates, silverware, and even non-perishable snacks, “save space by keeping everything you need for dinner in your dorm room while it fits snugly over your dorm mini-fridge,” says Fields.

$26.99 $19.99 at Amazon

Hanycony surge protection power strip

Plugs run out quickly in a dorm room. From hooking up fridges and coffee makers to finding a place to charge your phone, laptop and appliances, this surge protector has eight power outlets and four USB ports to meet all your needs. Plus, you might even have a few spots left to offer to your roommates when they come over.

$29.99 $22.99 at Amazon

Jerry & Maggie Desktop Organizer

Keep all your textbooks and notes organized and within reach with this desktop shelf. You’ll free up more desk space for working, and because you can see them easily, you may be less likely to forget to toss your textbooks in your campus backpack on the way to class.

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