Six Ways to Save Space in an Awkwardly Shaped Dorm Room

Prior to move-in day, some colleges provide a map with the dimensions and general features of each student’s dorm room to make packing easier.

These maps can be seen on the college’s website, or the housing information that is mailed to your home. Unfortunately, not all colleges provide this information, and some sites only list one map of a dorm room, which isn’t always true to every single room in a residence hall.

As a result, students are left to guess which items they should bring, and others wait to buy some of their stuff until they’re on campus.

I fell into the latter category this past year when I had a single room within a five-person suite and discovered that my room was rather awkwardly shaped. The closet space took up about one-third of my room, making the closet doors so wide that when I opened them halfway, they’d bump into my bed. No matter where I put my mini fridge and microwave, they were always in the way.

It took about three times of me moving my furniture around before I was able to find a layout that worked for me. However, that still didn’t leave me with a lot of space to work with. That’s when I made a trip to the nearest big-box stores and purchased these items that were not only space savers but life savers.

  • Wavefront Extra Large Dorm Space Saver

Available at Bed Bath & Beyond, this contraption provides storage above your bed, as well as on the side of it. The storage space on the side can be used as a nightstand, bookshelf, or whatever you please. I used mine to hold my alarm clock and other odds and ends. Using screws, a hex wrench, and an open-end wrench (all provided in the box), this space saver is simple to put together, easy to take apart, and the parts take up little space. The Dorm Space Saver is similar, but it doesn’t include the extra side space.

  •  Sterilite 3 Drawer Storage Cart 

Available at Target, Wal-Mart, and K-Mart, this storage unit contains three separate slide-out drawers. Wheels can be attached to the bottom for easier maneuverability. I took two of these containers and stacked them on top of each other for storage space in my closet. I used the drawers to store toiletries, hair accessories, small electronics, jewelry, and other items. Many sizes and shapes of these types of drawer storage units are available, so feel free to pick the one that best suits you and the room you’re in.

  •  Safavieh Natalie Low Bookcase 

Available at Bed Bath & Beyond, this bookcase requires no assembly whatsoever, and folds up for easy transportation. It can be used to store textbooks and other pieces of literature, or other items, and is perfect for a little extra storage if you have a nook or cranny that is vacant. My dorm room this past year had a small area of space right by the door that this fit in perfectly. Using four canvas drawers with two on the top shelf and two on the bottom, I stored school papers, books, and snack items.

  •  Sterilite Plum Under-Bed Storage Box 

Available at Target, this container is the perfect way to take advantage of the space underneath a dorm room bed. The attached wheels and handle also make it easy to pull the container out from underneath the bed. Whether it’s clothes, shoes, or other belongings, this container saves space while also staying out of the way. Since I own so many shoes, I used this container to store them. To keep my shoes smelling fresh, I snuck in some odor neutralizing gel beads.

  • Room Essentials Black 3-Tier Wire Shelving 

Available at Target, this lightweight shelving unit is easy to construct with screws and hammers, and it can easily be disassembled. Made out of metal, the shelves can store up to 150 pounds. They can be used to store items in a closet, or even towels in a bathroom. I pushed this shelving unit against one of my dorm room walls near an outlet. I used the top shelf as a TV stand, and the middle shelf to hold my printer. The third shelf was used to store a container with printer paper, blank notebooks, and folders.

  • Sterilite Ultra Latch Storage Box 

Available at Target, this 74-quart container has a large lid that bends in the middle so you can lift part of it to get to the items you need, without going to the hassle of lifting the entire thing. The lid also has a latch on each side to keep items more securely stored. The storage box can be easily stored underneath a bed or on a closet shelf. I used this container to store out-of-season clothing and extra clothes that didn’t fit in my dresser.

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Britni Roberts

Britni Roberts

Britni Roberts is a senior at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois pursuing a degree in English Writing. She has been an Editor for the North Central Kindling humor magazine, Assistant News and Arts Editor for the North Central Chronicle newspaper, as well as a DJ and Rock News Reporter for WONC-FM 89.1, her college’s radio station. She enjoys listening to music and spending time with her friends, boyfriend, and his cat Willow.