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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How To Survive Your Dorm Room - Closet

Dorm rooms are small…like really small. It was definitely a HUGE adjustment sharing a room the size of my room at home. Thankfully, I had a great roommate. We've been great friends for years, and we got along great. The downside was that we both had a lot of stuff, and when I say a lot, I mean a TON. I wasn't able to find in-depth storage and design solutions when I first moved into my dorm, so I'm sharing my learning experiences with you. Part 1 is how to survive a dorm room closet. Keep checking back for more How To Survive Your Dorm Room posts! Check out How To Survive Your Dorm Room - BathroomHow To Survive Your Dorm Room - Bed, and How To Survive Your Dorm Room - Everything Else.

The hardest spot to find space was probably the closet. After two semesters of sharing a closet that about the size of the one I have to myself at home, I have learned a few tricks to making it work! This picture makes our closet look HUGE! I thought so, too…until both my roommate and I moved all of our stuff in. Once we both had our clothes and shoes in it, there was only enough room to walk in one at a time.

**Note: I somehow have no pictures of my dorm room closet once I moved in. All of the pictures (except for the one at the very top) are taken of my closet at home, but the same idea still applies!**

Before you move, go through your closet and decide what you're going to take to school with you, and what you're going to leave at home. I took wayyyy too many clothes, and looking back I probably didn't wear half of the stuff I brought. If you're like me (and most college girls), you are going to wear Nike shorts and a t-shirt 90% of the time. (Check out my clothing packing list!) Not sure where to start when it comes to cleaning out your closet? Check out An American Girl's guide to closet purging.

2. Leave off-season clothing at home.
Luckily I only live an hour away from home, so it's super easy for me to change out my seasonal clothes. If you're not so lucky, pack up all your off-season clothes (you really don't need your winter coats in your closet if you can wear shorts outside…) and put them under your bed, or in any other area that is out of the way. This frees up sooooo much space in your closet!

Your closet will look so much nicer and possibly even bigger if your clothes are organized. I'm a tad bit OCD, so all of my clothes are arranged by color, then by sleeve length. It seems a bit crazy, but if you're frantically searching for a specific shirt, or even if you're in a rush, you can find the shirt easily! You just have to be motivated to make sure you keep your closet organized. I have been organizing my closet like this for years, so it is just instinct for me to keep it organized.
This is my closet at home, organized by color and sleeve length.

4. Get a shoe rack
…Or any other type of shoe holder. Before I got my shoe rack, my shoes were ALL over the bottom of my closet, and it took me forever to find a matching pair. This isn't really convenient when you're already running late for class. The shoe rack helps me keep all of my shoes organized and within sight. For my flip flops and sandals, I found a hanging shoe organizer specifically made for sandals. I hung these on my closet rod when I shared a closet, but now that I will have my own closet this semester, I am hanging them on an over-the-door hook for easier access. Another good idea if you don't share a closet is an over-the-door shoe organizer (like the kind with the clear pockets). During the winter months, I just lined my boots up on the floor of my closet.
I got these sandal holders for around $10 a piece from Bed Bath & Beyond. 
I use one shoe rack for shoes that I don't wear that often, and I just keep the shoes I wear everyday (like my Chacos and tennis shoes) just on the floor of my closet. NOTE: Don't take all of your shoes to college with you, either. If you have too many shoes, like me, they won't fit!
5. Get a scarf/belt organizer
For my scarves, I got a scarf organizer from a local home goods store for only a few bucks! (Look at this adorable owl scarf organizer from Bed, Bath & Beyond!) I also got a tie organizer for my many, many belts. Both of these hung nicely on my closet rod.
My scarf organize I got from Burlington. Don't laugh, but it broke and I haven't gotten a new one yet.
I used a tie organizer from Bed Bath & Beyond to hang all my belts.

6. Make use of your shelves
I put wooden baskets on the wire shelf above my closet rod to hold things like laundry supplies, hats, extra blankets, purses, duffel bags, and other miscellaneous items. Don't leave your shelves empty! There isn't a lot of space in a dorm room, especially in the closet, so no space needs to be wasted! P.S. If you get the wooden baskets with fabric liners, you can monogram them! ;)
P.S. If you're short, like me, get a collapsable step stool to reach the top of your closet! I found a cute one for super cheap at TJ Maxx.

7. Make use of the dresser provided
Most college dorms provide a dresser for you to use. Don't forget to use this, too! I used my dresser for t-shirts, athletic shorts, leggings, yoga pants, pajamas, undergarments, socks, and swimsuits. I set it up the way my chest of drawers at home is set up, so it wouldn't take me months to figure out where everything was.

8. Try skirt/shorts hangers
For my shorts (that weren't athletic shorts) and skirts, I used a skirt hanger similar to this one (see link). They also have adjustable ones so you can use as many or as little as you need. All of the shorts/skirts hang vertically, meaning more space for other clothes! Yay! I also hang all of my pants (like jeans, khakis, and slacks) two or three to a hanger. This saves a lot of space as well, just make sure you use heavy-duty coat hangers! If you still need more hanging closet space, use a double hanging rod. These hanging rods allow you to add more hanging space to your closet if needed. I bought one, but did not need it last year; I probably will use it this upcoming semester.
This skirt hanger holds up to 8 skirts if you hang two skirts on each clip!
Same with the shorts hanger, I can hang up to ten pairs of shorts on it, which saves a TON of space!

9. Jewelry displays
For my necklaces, I hung up a picture hanger like this one from PBTeen. I received it as a graduation gift, and it was perfect for my necklaces. It's also a great way to add some decoration to the walls of your dorm room. For long earrings and bracelets, I used a small dress form mannequin similar to this one from Hobby Lobby. It looks too cute on a desk or small side table! Lastly, I put my stud earrings, rings, and other small items in an engraved acrylic jewelry box. I'm a huge fan of displaying jewelry because it is a super inexpensive way to add decorations to your dorm room. Check out Pinterest for other great ways to display your jewelry!
Such a cute way to display your jewelry! (Don't you also just LOVE my owl scensty?!)
Displayed in my dorm room!
9. Get a combo laundry hamper/basket
This great little find at BB&B has been a life saver for me! It stands up like a hamper when you need to use it for dirty clothes, and when it's time to (eventually…) do laundry, there is a zipper on the side to act as a laundry basket! I'm a huge fan of anything that can do double-duty, and this combo hamper eliminated the need to buy a laundry hamper and a huge plastic laundry basket.

For laundry I kept all of my supplies in one super convenient place. I put everything in a small, durable tote from 31 Gifts. All of my supplies were kept in the top shelf of my closet. Here's my list of dorm laundry essentials:
Detergent pods(most colleges have machines that will work with these, but check to be on the safe side)
SHOUT Color Catchers (I finally bought these after I ruined about 3 shirts)
Gain laundry sprinkles (your clothes will smell amazing for weeks!)
Spray on stain remover (I didn't realize that I should have this on hand until I desperately needed it)
Dryer sheets
QUARTERS! (I didn't realize I could load money on my student id for laundry until second semester, but even then not all the machines would accept my card)

You can find super adorable and cheap space-saving solutions at places like Bed Bath & Beyond (and you can always find great coupons!), TJ Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory, Ross, and Target. Comment your favorite space-saving solutions for your closet, and how you survived your dorm closet!

Also, I kept things like my vacuum in my closet as well because there was no space in my dorm room or bathroom. It just got tucked out of the way in a corner.

**Be sure to check out my other How To Survive Your Dorm Room posts!
How To Survive Your Dorm Room - Bathroom
More coming soon!


  1. those exact same shorts hangers are at dollar general for a lot cheaper :)

  2. The hardest spot to find space was probably the closet. ... iclosetshoes.blogspot.com

  3. There are many ways to go about organizing your accessory. Different methods make more sense depending on your space and what you’re storing. No matter which method you choose, these accessory organizer  definitely helps you to reduce the space usage. Once again great post man! Cheers!

  4. TJ Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory, Ross, and Target. Comment your favorite space-saving solutions for your closet, and how you survived your ... burlingtoncoaty.blogspot.com

  5. I've been reading your blog to hype myself up for college and it's great! I did just want to put it out there, however, that when writing things such as calling yourself "a bit OCD" or referring to the weather as bipolar, it can really offend people who have death with mental illness, be it first or second hand, and has a very isolating affect.

    1. I've never thought of it like that! Thanks for pointing this out though, Clarke. I would never intentionally hurt, offend, or isolate anyone and I sincerely apologize if I have! I will definitely be more sensitive to what I say!

      Hayden Lee

  6. Very good tips here, but I have to tell you that your closet (and bathroom from your other post) are both HUGE compared to lots of other dorms. Congratulations on picking a good one!

  7. a great place to look for a lot of easy and cheap or even free, in some cases, ideas and tips about how you can solve your storage problems

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