Dorm Room to Shared Apartment: 15 Easy Organizing Tips for Students

Moving from a college dorm room to your first shared apartment is a huge deal, especially when it comes to how you choose to organize your space.

When you’re going from a small one-room place to a multi-room house or apartment, you want to be smart about how you store your belongings and keep your things separate from your roommates.

Even though your apartment is much bigger than the dorm room you once had, you’ve got at least one (if not several) other people sharing common spaces, like the kitchen, bathrooms and living areas.  Follow these organization tips to improve the quality of your living situation.

1. Roommate station

A roommate station is a great organization hack. It’s a dedicated area where you can hang a chalkboard or whiteboard for schedules and notes, keeping your roomies updated at a glance. It’s also a place to put all the important things you need to keep track of like gas and electric bills, rent checks and keys.

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2. Kitchen coffee cart

Student apartments often have kitchens that are very small with minimal storage. You’ll need to be creative on how you can fit everything without losing counter space and overloading cabinets.A bar cart is a great place to store not just alcohol but your Keurig and coffee supplies. In fact, this may well become the focal point of your kitchen!

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3. Labeled food containers



There’s nothing worse than a bunch of open food boxes at the back of the cabinet that no one’s eating. It’s a waste of money and an invitation for insects. Sealed food containers may seem unnecessary but they can actually save you money in the long run.

Plus, how satisfying is it when you open your cabinet and everything is in its proper place AND labeled?! You can even put the purchase and best before dates on your labels.

Pssst….also, a label maker is a game changer on keeping your apartment organized. When I first got one I swear I walked around my whole apartment labeling everything, it’s amazing!

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4. Fridge food storage containers


With several people living in the same apartment and likely not all sharing the same food, you need to find a way to organize your produce, meats, snacks, drinks and condiments.

The most success I ever had with this was by getting multi-use plastic bin organizers (and labeling them with my new fancy label maker). I kept my food in my own storage containers and never had to worry if I was eating someone else’s groceries.

They also keep your fridge neat and in order AND they’ll help you not overbuy food since the containers can only fit so much.

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5. Kitchen cabinet storage

With limited kitchen cabinet space, you must be resourceful in how you organize your dishes, dry foods and that all-important snack selection.

Cabinet racks are an easy solution, nearly doubling the space you have by giving you extra shelves to put spices and smaller item stuff without having so much wasted space.

These also work well on your counters if you need extra space there!

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6. Cleaning supplies over-door organizer

Even students have cleaning supplies, and using an over-door organizer is an affordable way to keep them easily accessible and all in one place.

If you don’t have a closet dedicated to your cleaning supplies, hang the organizer on the bathroom door. It’ll serve double-duty there, as a place to keep toiletry items.

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7. Under-sink/cabinet turntable organizer

A shared bathroom gets out of control fast. Trying to quickly locate your face cream, makeup, razors, or hair products you keep under your bathroom sink is nearly impossible.

Baskets and turntable organizers to the rescue! Keep larger items in the baskets, which you can pull out easily, and smaller items on the turntable at the front of the cabinet. If that isn’t enough storage, add an over-the-door basket for hairdryers and styling tools. If you have an enclosed shower, you can use a similar hanging organizer for shampoos and conditioners.

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8. Under-sink drawer organizer

If several people are sharing the bathroom, a turntable may not work. In that case, you might find under-sink drawer organizers more useful. These small, stackable drawers can give you more space and help keep your makeup, first-aid supplies, and other smaller products in one spot.

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9. Over-toilet shelving system



Another great way to organize your shared bathroom is to use the space above the toilet with a full shelving unit or some floating shelves.You’re creating more room for storage by using this dead space. The shelves can hold everything from towels to tissue boxes and toilet paper, freeing up floor and counter area.

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10. Drawer containers


You have them at home, but didn’t think to get a set of kitchen drawer organizers when you moved into your shared accommodations.

They’re interlocking, so easy to install, and can actually be used in any drawer that needs a little organizing. Apartment organization isn’t hard when you’ve got products that are this simple to implement.

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11. Rolling cart as a bedside table

Bedside tables can be expensive. If you need a little extra storage in your bedroom, a rolling cart pulling double-duty as your bedside table can be a cost-effective solution.They can look super cute if you design them right. Plus if you ever need to repurpose it down the road, you can easily do that since these carts are great just about anywhere.

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12. On desk organizer


There’s nothing worse than a messy desk, especially when your desk top is cluttered with open books while you’re writing an essay or studying for exams. An on-desk organizer gives everything a home. There’s space for your notebooks, papers, and your electronics, so you can spread out more easily.

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13. Floating shelves above your bed

Floating shelves above your bed give your things a place to live without overcrowding your dresser or can be purely decorative.

You can use bookends and treat them as a bookshelf. Put any framed photographs on them. Get some plants. They can totally match your style no matter what you’re trying to do.

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14. Clothes rack

Some shared living spaces don’t have enough closets. When your closet space is small or nonexistent, a clothes rack can be a perfect solution.

Clothes racks aren’t just trendy — they’re also are incredibly useful, especially when you and your roommates are trying to hang up your fall jackets and winter coats. Look for one with shelf to keep boots and shoes organized.

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15. Shoe rack

We recommended a hanging shoe organizer over the door as a solution for cleaning products. Of course, you can use it for shoes, but the traditional one doesn’t quite cut it in my opinion for actual shoes.

However, a shoe rack can actually fit more shoes, and you don’t have to worry about it falling apart or even off the door! Win!

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