Tips for College Students Living in Small Spaces

From living with peers for the first time to condensing your entire life into a single dorm room, going off to college presents its own unique challenge of limited living space. At first, it can be difficult to get organized and streamline your student life.

No matter if you rent a student apartment with roommates at North Carolina State University in Raleigh or live in a residence hall at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington or Charlotte, it’s crucial to make the most of the room you do have. That’s why the storage experts at Go Store It Self Storage are here to offer up our best small-space storage tips and ideas—as well as affordable student storage units across North Carolina to help keep clutter at bay and out of your way.

7 Ways to Maximize Space in College Dorms or Apartments

Take Advantage of Walls and Vertical Space

Adhesive wall hooks and college living go together like peanut butter and jelly. Not only are they easy to apply and remove, but many university residence halls also require students to use them so as to not leave any damage on the walls. From jewelry and accessory organizers to hangers for bags and coats, these wall hooks allow all the functional flexibility you need to maximize wall space while taming easily cluttered items. You can even use heavy-duty adhesive strips to install certain types of shelves—without putting any holes through the wall.

Walls are one canvas for creating more vertical storage space in your small apartment or dorm room. But don’t forget to put the nooks and crannies of the room to work. Utilizing corners wisely can save you precious space in any room. For example, add shelving that fits snugly into a corner, or get a laundry hamper that stands tall but not wide.

Make the Most of Your Closet Space

College closet space isn’t often at a premium, particularly if you’re in the dorms. However, instead of simply cramming clothes and other belongings in the first spot you find, be strategic about how you store things in your dresser and closets. For instance, rolling pants and shirts—rather than folding them—can help save you valuable dresser space.

Some other ways to put vertical storage to use in your closets include:

  • Shoe organizers
  • Hanging shelves and behind-the-door organizers
  • Adhesive hooks for hanging hats or accessories
  • Stackable drawers
  • Rolling storage chests

Store Stuff Under the Bed

Despite the lack of ideal sleeping space, one big benefit of dorm room beds is their ability to adjust the frames and create a raised, lofted bed. If you decide against stacking your and your roommate’s mattress into bunk beds (another great way to save space!), you can use the space underneath as extra storage or even its own room.

If you’re living off-campus in an apartment or house, consider investing in a bed frame with built-in drawers underneath. You’ll get the equivalent of an entire dresser without losing any floor space. Otherwise, there’s an array of under-the-bed storage solutions such as storage boxes, bins, drawers, and fabric bags.

Keep an Organized Desk (That You’ll Want to Use)

No matter if you prefer to study at a public building on campus or the peace and quiet of your own room, a tidy desk area is key to keeping yourself organized as well as keeping track of notes, textbooks, assignments, and important records and paperwork. Amid the stress and busyness of your semesters, the last thing you want is to be shuffling through your room just to find something you need.

To organize your desk, start simple:

  • Use a mug or cup to hold pens and pencils, keeping them all collected in one place.
  • Separate and categorize your documents into labeled folders.
  • Get desk drawer organizers for office supplies and other items you want to keep handy.
  • Use a laptop stand to immediately open up some surface area on your desk and maximize vertical space.

Set Up a Shower Caddy

Sharing a bathroom with a few peers—or an entire floor of your residence hall? Either way, when you’re sharing toilets, sinks, showers, you might have to carry your personal hygiene items back and forth from your room. You’ll want to keep your toiletries in order and ready to go when you need to use them. Keeping things like your soap, body wash, razor, and shampoo and conditioner arranged in a convenient shower caddy or tote helps ensure a smooth, efficient personal care routine.

Keep the Kitchen Decluttered


Whether you live in a traditional dorm room, a shared suite, or a house with multiple roommates, finding designated cabinet space for your own food, mugs, and pots and pans can be a struggle. Plus, keeping a sparkling-clean kitchen isn’t always necessarily at the top of busy college students’ priorities.

Consider some simple steps for keeping your eating and cooking space organized, such as:

  • Using hooks to hang up pots, pans, and larger utensils
  • Adding vertical shelves or drawers
  • Stacking the mini-fridge and microwave under a lofted bed
  • Getting a rolling island or cart with shelving
  • Hanging an over-the-door spice rack
  • Consolidating duplicate items like utensils, plates, bowls, and appliances
  • Cleaning out the refrigerator weekly for old or forgotten food

Streamline Student Life with a Self Storage Unit

Person with their moving items.

Ultimately, you may find yourself in a bind for space that no amount of real-life Tetris and rearranging your room can solve. In these instances, storing your extra clothes, decorations, duplicate furniture and appliances, and more in a storage unit keeps your college items within reach—but without the hassle of finding a place for them at home. Additionally, many self storage facilities offer extended daily access hours, allowing you to visit your unit anytime from the early morning until late at night.

Need More Space in College? Go Store It!

Focusing on your education doesn’t mean you can’t make your college house a home. In fact, making the space to stay organized can help you better concentrate on your academics!

Offering college student storage solutions in North Carolina and beyond, Go Store It is sure to have the self storage unit you need. From a variety of unit sizes to flexible month-to-month rentals and other convenient features, our facilities are happy to accommodate students seeking storage. Find your nearest location, check out available units, and rent or reserve storage online today!

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