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How to maximize dorm room space

Updated on May 7, 2011

The bitter-sweetness of dormitories

Though it was a lot of fun, thankfully I no longer have to endure such torture as living in dorms. Dormitories are a unique little habitat, the inhabitant is normally used to being confined to one room but not used to the extra responsibility, less space, and having a roommate. It can be disastrous. The biggest problem is quite simply the space. Dorms are tiny! Allow me to give you some tips that may help improve your sardine-like experience.


  • Stacking. Though it is far from clean, stacking items is an amazing way to utilize desk space. You will inevitably end up with towers of things, so get used to proper stacking. No fragile items near edges, heavy items go on the bottom of a stack, and always be sure to test it with a few bumps if you're too lazy to actually clean. Whether or not it can withstand a wasted student collapsing on your desk is probably more appropriate, but nonetheless make sure your stacked items and towers of plates, cups, and paperwork, don't fall over in the slightest breeze. Also, never stack expensive items.
  • Bed Risers/Lofting. Loft if you can, bed risers if you can. The space above your bed is almost all entirely wasted. Bed Risers/Lofting will give you an incredible amount of extra space and all new opportunities for stashing things you don't want people to find.
  • Hooks. You can find hooks to hang on your door for incredibly cheap. For a little bit more you can find an entire thing to hang on your door with pockets and hooks. Again, this door space is often wasted, hanging stuff around it will help a lot. And let's be honest, there really is no good place to stick jackets, hoodies, and towels. (Sidenote, if your dorm allows you to use thumbtacks in your walls, the handle part can make a great place to hang small items such as keys, necklaces, etc.)
  • Rearrange. Immediately upon moving into a dorm you should rearrange it to maximize the space. Exactly how this should be done is up to your preferences.  Keep in mind that having a desk against the wall allows you the opportunity to lean things against it. This drastically improves stacking.
  • 2-in-1 for gamers. This one is gold for any geeky college student. Using the proper cords you can hook your gaming console up to your computer monitor (yes, often times even your laptop). This means you do not need a TV!  Check if your computer/laptop has a DVI or VGA input. Then you can purchase the appropriate adapter and play consoles on your monitor.
  • Cardboard? This one is silly but it was incredible for me. I kept a 2 layered piece of cardboard laying around next to my desk. Whenever I ordered food or made a cup of tea, I would pull out the top drawer on my desk and place the cardboard above it, creating a temporary table for my food. My desk really had no space for food, it was either a keyboard/monitor or books/papers. Simply cut the cardboard to the appropriate size. (Watch out for bending or unevenness.)

Hopefully this should help you get some more space from your dorm and maybe get you thinking on your own ideas and methods for improving dorm life. Feel free to post any comments with your own tips!


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