Skip To Content

    35 Effective And Affordable Storage Solutions For Your Cramped College Apartment Or Dorm

    Getting ready to go to college can be chaotic, but your room doesn't have to be.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Some may have been sent as samples, but all opinions and reviews are our own. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. hanging shoe organizer to organize shoes, toiletries, scarves, socks, bras, and really just anything you need to put away in your dorm! It's a classic but a goodie.

    hanging shoe organizer with pockets on the back of a closet door
    Amazon

    It has 24 pockets and you can even use it to organizer beauty products, kitchen condiments, cleaning supplies, snacks, or even school supplies — it's not just for shoes!

    Promising review: "My son plans to use this to hang off of the edge of his loft bed and fill with snacks, medical supplies, office supplies and other small items that really don't have another practical space while at college. I got the idea off of Pinterest to use one of these for that purpose, and I think it will work very nicely. Who knows? He might actually use some of the pockets for shoes!!" —Ruralakay

    Get it from Amazon for $5+ (available in five colors).

    2. A three-tier rolling utility cart for when you need an excellent spot to store your condiments, sauces, and all the snacks. You can *also* use it for other things like toiletries, college textbooks, or even as a makeup cart! I used one of these in college as my makeshift pantry for my ultra-cramped kitchen!

    a reviewer photo of the cart filled with b eauty supplies and slid between a wall and a dresser
    a reviewer photo of the cart filled with books

    Two of the wheels have a lock so you don't have to worry about the cart rolling around your dorm room!

    Promising review: "Worked great for my college student. It fits in small places and is very sturdy." —Jessica S.

    Get it from Amazon for $38.97 (available in five colors).

    3. Or a slimmer rolling cart if you're *really* cramped for space but still need some extra storage in your dorm. This cart could easily slide next to your fridge or toilet and add storage where there is usually wasted space!

    Promising reviews: "i bought this since I’m going to college in August and put it together today. It seems to be very well made for the material and price. I’m going to be using it for snacks and extra bathroom products underneath my bed."—Ashley

    "Perfect for small spaces! I lack much storage space in my kitchen. This shelf is perfect because it’s so compact but has a good amount of extra storage space, is very easy to assemble, well made, and perfect for spices and cans of food! I think I might purchase another one for my bathroom toiletries and things like that. I'm very happy with this purchase!" —BarbieLee

    Get it from Amazon for $19.49 (available in three colors).

    4. Nifty shoe stackers because shoes take up an unnecessary amount of space without tackling all the vertical space above them, and in college, every area counts. This product solves both issues! It's a win-win!

    Before and after pic of a writer's closet of shoes organized after using the stackers
    Sally Elshorafa / BuzzFeed

    Promising review: "These shoe holders are fantastic. I'm using them for heels, casual shoes, and sneakers. For people with smaller feet (I'm a 7) it doesn't 'double' your space, but you can get three pairs where you had two. For people with larger feet, you really will double the space." —silversong203

    Get a six-pack from Amazon for $20.95 (available in multiple packs).

    5. Or a set of plastic shoe cubbies so your most prized possession, your sneaker collection, can be stored, preserved, *and* displayed even in your dorm room!

    Promising review: "I used to have a two-tier metal rack that was nowhere near enough storage space and there were always shoes all over the floor. I put this together in a rather short while and now my closet is clean! Totally love this because it is so spacious and you can build it in any shape you want." —Mama D

    Get a 15-cube set from Amazon for $47.99+ (available in three colors).

    6. A set of shelf dividers to stack your sweaters and jeans on the top shelf of your ultra-cramped dorm closet without having them topple over constantly.

    reviewer's closet with stacks of sweaters in between the dividers
    reviewer's linen closet with shelf dividers to divide stacks of towels

    They're also great for bulky items like linens and towels! The dividers are 12 inches tall and can slide over any standard shelf up to 7/8 inches thick.

    Promising review: "I love these! They fit snugly over my shelf, so they don't shift or move around. I have a lot of handbags and it's been a mess on my closet shelf for the ones that are floppy. I have limited closet space in a small home so my choices of where/how to store them are limited. This was the perfect solution. I plan on buying more when I get around to rearranging sweaters on shelves." —BarbraGenie

    Get a set of two from Amazon for $14.99.

    7. Or a shelf organizer/extra hanging rod combo if you don't have the ~luxury~ of having a shelf on the top of your closet but still need some extra storage for your folded clothes. Plus, the fact that it includes a rod means you won't lose any hanging space!

    Promising review: "I’m basically obsessed with this thing already. I just got it today, so I can’t speak to long term, but it’s amazing how much space this frees up. I have a 1940s house, therefore 1940s tiny closets, and I need to get creative in my space organization. This thing was just what I needed to store sweaters on top and hang all other tops on the bottom. This storage solution makes displaying the sweaters nicer than in drawers of my dresser or hanging. It honestly appears very sturdy and quality to me. The fabric is thick, and the hooks and bar are both metal. All in all one of my favorite purchases from Amazon." —BobbyL

    Get it from Amazon for $26.99 (available in two colors).

    8. helpful caddy you can place on the side of your bed for some extra storage space. This caddy is especially helpful if you have one of those loft beds and don't want to climb down to grab your glasses or book. You can even use it on the couch, side table, or coffee table!

    Model placing magazine in bedside caddy
    Bedside caddy placed on coffee table
    Amazon

    Promising reviews: "I bought this one as a gift for a college student. I've got two of my own that I've had for a few years. Very durable, well made. I can load it up with phone, remotes, pens/small notebook, iPad, tissues, etc. Very handy! Excellent value for this item. Does exactly what it says and what I need. The flat side slides under the mattress to hold it in place. The one on the table by my recliner has books loaded on the flat side it to hold it in place." —S. Allen

    "This works really well for a dorm room. It holds up nicely and has yet to show any wear (I've had it for a good 4-5 months)."—A

    Get it from Amazon for $5.99+ (available in two colors).

    9. Or a tiny bedside shelf that's big enough to fit a laptop so you can write all those unnecessarily long essays the night before they're due. Or, let's be honest, spend all night writing your new fanfiction novel. 

    Bedside laptop table with laptop on top
    Reviewer photo of the side shelf with an Amazon Echo, a candle, and a watch

    This bedside shelf will fit bed rails up to 1 1/2" thick.

    Promising review: "This shelf does exactly what you would want it to do. I bought it to use on my bed in my college dorm, and the extra space it adds is very helpful. Being able to place my phone there, my laptop, lunch, and so much more has been very convenient. The sturdiness and materials are more than satisfactory for what I was looking for. I would definitely recommend this product to people looking to add a little extra space to their bed-space environment. Hope this helps!" —Paul

    Get it from Amazon for $34.99+ (available in two colors).

    10. hanging jewelry organizer if you're low on space but still want to keep your baubles separated and tidy.

    reviewer photo of the organizer on a clothes hanger with lots of clear compartments so you can see the jewelry
    reviewer photo of the opposite side of the organizer with loops for holding necklaces and bracelets without tangling

    It comes with 32 clear vinyl pockets and 18 hook-and-loop closures.

    Promising review: "Bigger than I expected. I love this! I needed to get storage options for a college dorm since I have limited surface area and can't justify having four jewelry boxes. I successfully fit the contents of all four boxes (three small, one large) in this! I stuck it on a swivel top hanger, so I can just flip it over as needed." —Ren

    Get it from Amazon for $9.99 (available in three colors).

    11. Or a bifolding jewelry stand for when you are looking to create a super aesthetic dorm space *and* have cute storage solutions. 

    The gold bi-folding jewelry stand on a counter with baubles hanging off it
    Simple and Neat / Etsy

    Simple and Neat is a small business based out of Seattle, Washington, that specializes in home storage and organization.

    Promising review: "This is way better than throwing all my accessories in my drawer! It looks so neat and makes looking for earrings so much easier. I’ll probably buy another when I run out of room." —Marlena

    Get it from Simple and Neat on Etsy for $25.99

    12. A four-piece drawer organizer set with tiny sections to organize your undergarments instead of having them stuffed in the drawer in a big pile and then having to fish through them in a rush when you're already late to your next class. 

    This set includes a six-cell bin, an eight-cell bin, a seven-cell bin, and a 24-cell bin.

    Promising review: "A great organizer! I use it for my underwear drawer in my dorm room, and it really helps with organization. There are plenty of slots of different shapes and sizes, so I can fit socks, underwear, bras, sports bras, etc. They also fold flat, and are easily stored." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $15.97 (available in seven colors).

    13. A genius T-shirt roll holder that'll create some storage in your dorm or college apartment where you'd least expect it while simultaneously giving you a neat way to display your favorite tees. 

    A closet door closed with several shirts hanging from a hook at the top of the door. The shirts are attached by rolling them up and putting them through stretchy loops.
    Mallory Mower / BuzzFeed

    The Roll Keeper is owned by Kelso, Washington's resident crafter, Traci. Traci has been crafting for over 40 years and created her storage design to help organize vinyl, soon realizing that it was the perfect organization solution for much more. Her shop has versions for bottles, wrapping paper, pens, and more.

    Promising review: "We moved recently and I realized — going through my clothes and choosing what to donate — that I had SO MANY T-shirts that I totally loved but that hadn’t seen the light of day in months! It’s so hard to go through a drawer and see what you’ve got to choose from, especially when the images are folded up and hard to see. Let me say. This is fantastic. I finally unpacked my shirts today and rolled them all up and put them in the keeper, and I’ve never been happier! I’m so excited to be able to see my tees and choose based on how I’m feeling for the day. Totally cool and excellent. Would buy again if I ever needed anything else stored — maybe another one for the T-shirts of the future!" —Cassandra Aleman

    Get it from The Roll Keeper on Etsy for $16.99 or from Amazon for $13.99+ (available in three sizes and two colors).

    14. An outlet shelf because in college, every inch of space is invaluable, and being able to create storage *on* your outlet is just genius. It also has a compartment to store extra cords!

    Reviewer showing inside of wall shelf
    Reviewer using wall shelf to hold plant and electronic device

    The shelf can hold up to 10 pounds.

    Promising review: "Wow. I was skeptical at first because there were no pics of the Echo, just the Dot. I’m so glad I purchased this. Not only did it free up counter space, it actually looks good. I will say, though, I had to use the lower plug because there wasn’t enough headroom to use the top. I banded the cord and it fit perfectly inside the cable channel for a clean look. I’d definitely recommend!" —Jill in Houston

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99 (available in two colors).

    15. An over-the-door rack with nine hooks that can hold basically any and everything you need, such as scarves, hats, purses, belts, hoodies, backpacks — you name it! 

    Fits over any standard door up to 1-3/8 inches thick!

    Promising review: "My daughter uses this in her college dorm room. Perfect space saver with all of the hooks to keep things out of the way! She hooked it over the end of her bed. Works great!" —EML

    Get it from Amazon for $16.99+ (available in two finishes and a style with 14 hooks).

    16. clear shower curtain liner designed with pockets on the inside so all of your products have a designated spot to live in your shower instead of the tight corners of your tub.

    BuzzFeed editor Elizabeth's shower shown from the inside, with the clear liner holding her bath products in the several large pockets evenly spaced throughout
    A closeup on one of the mesh pockets holding a razor and large bottle of cleanser
    Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

    BuzzFeed Shopping editor Elizabeth Lilly says: "I couldn’t be happier with my purchase, which seems expensive for a shower curtain liner but is totally worth the price. Its mesh pockets are incredibly sturdy and even *I* can fit all my shower stuff in there. (FYI, I often keep three or four body washes and conditioners each in the shower at all times.) There’s lots of reinforcement where each pocket meets the liner and at the top of the liner, so dropping a weighty bottle of shampoo in a pocket is NBD. Obviously, you want to try for even weight distribution between the pockets and toiletries, but it doesn’t seem to be an issue. And these smooth-gliding hooks I also bought for my new digs make opening and closing my shower curtain as smooth as buttah." Check out her full review here, #7.

    Get it from Amazon for $25.92+ (available in two colors).

    17. nifty shelving unit to add some extra height to your desk, giving you *so* much additional space for your laptop, textbooks, and that late-night bowl of ramen. 

    Desktop shelving unit placed on desk
    Reviewer photo the white shelves on a marble countertop with beauty products on it

    It comes in two pieces, so it's actually really simple to adjust the placement if you need some corner storage on your desk!

    Promising reviews: "Easy for my college daughter to assemble, and it fit perfectly in her dorm desk!"—GC

    "I am so glad I purchased this shelf! I was surprised by the quality. It doesn't feel flimsy or like it will break. It was super easy to put together, very sturdy and holds a lot. You're able to adjust the length of the shelf because the two parts aren't connected, which is nice. It's not too big or bulky that it takes up too much space, but still reasonably sized to fit pretty much everything you need. Overall, I just love it and am happy with my purchase!" —Desiree Weatherly

    Get it from Amazon for $24.99 (available in two colors).

    18. Or a three-tiered shelf so you can take advantage of that awkward corner on your desk and have even *more* storage space for all of your school supplies. It also works well on your bathroom counter, if you need more room for toiletries.

    a three-tiered shelf with kitchen essentials on it
    Reviewer pic of the shelf on their bathroom counter with toiletries on top

    You can adjust the three tiers to fit your counter's specific height.

    Promising reviews: "I love this stand! It’s so perfect for my coffee corner. I am able to get everything organized and utilize the space on my counter. The shelves are really sturdy and not wobbly at all. They easily support everything I want to put on each shelf." —McKenna's Mommy

    "We used this on my daughters desk in her dorm room. She loves it. Easy to assemble." —Lifesgood

    Get it from Amazon for $27.99+ (available in four colors).

    19. K-Cup organizer that'll display all of your favorite flavors while making sure you know if your roommates have been stealing your cups. 👀 Don't they know how important your caffeine intake is right before an exam?!

    It has openings on both sides, for a total of 50 holes for all your K-Cups!

    Promising reviews: "I love how this organizer fits nicely under the cabinets. While I like the drawer under K-Cup machine, it wouldn't fit since it would raise the machine by inches and therefore cause the handle to bump the cabinet. This one works perfectly for my counter." —Idalia

    "This looks great on my counter. Holds tons of pods. I use one side for coffee and the other for tea and hot cocoa. My daughter tried to steal it for college, so I guess I'll order another for Christmas."—Anonymous

    Get it from Amazon for $11.98.

    20. Or a Mickey K-Cup holder to add a bit of ✨magic ✨to your dorm space. 

    a silver mickey-shaped k-cup holder next to a keurig machine
    PKDecor / Etsy

    Can hold up to 20 pods!

    PK Decor is a small business based out of Oakwood, Georgia, that sells primarily metal yard decor.

    Promising review: "The best finishing touch to my Disney kitchen. I absolutely love it. Material is great and it’s the perfect size. Also it shipped and got here immediately! Thank you!!!" —yaddyliese

    Get it from PK Decor on Etsy for $38.67 (originally $45.49; available in eight colors and two styles).

    21. Or! A drawer you can place your coffee maker on top of, saving you TONS of space in your already tiny dorm or on your kitchen counter. 

    Holds 36 cups!

    Promising reviews: "I am so glad I got this. It makes for such great streamlined storage. Keeps things tidy and neat, and also helps me keep track of how many cups I have left to determine whether or not I need to add to my grocery list. It is very sturdy, and I fit my machine on top. The top is very durable, hard plastic and does not buckle with the weight of the machine filled with water on top." —tunisianswife

    "This holder fits perfect in my dorm kitchen!"—Sujeid Manzanares

    Get it from Amazon for $17.87+ (available in nine colors and styles).

    22. spinning cosmetics organizer that'll keep your daily before-class beauty products neat and organized, minimizing all those petty fights between you and your roomie about who is using whose makeup. It has a whopping 14,000 5-star reviews, so you KNOW it's good.

    A gif of a reviewer spinning the organizer
    Reviewer's cosmetics before using spinning organizer
    Reviewer after pic of the makeup organized

    This bad boy can hold up to 30 makeup brushes, 20 skincare products, and other accessories like lipsticks, nail polish, eyeliner and so much more.

    Promising review: "It's easy to set up, rotates easily, and was at a really good price. I'm a college kid, so I can't afford much, but I do have a bit of makeup lying around, and this really helps keep it all in one place. Overall, it's really nice!!" —Kaitlyn

    Get it from Amazon for $15.39+ (available in five colors).