14 Best Dorm Closet Organization Hacks

Collage of photos showing clothes hanging in a dorm closet and shoes in a hanging shoe organizer on the side of a dorm closet.
Photo Credit: Mikaela C.

A dorm closet is a tiny space. For many college students, there’s barely enough room to hang clothes, let alone store shoes, accessories, outerwear and other necessities.

Thankfully, there are a lot of really creative college students out there! I’ve rounded up the best dorm closet organization ideas I could find, and I’ll share them with you below. Read on!

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1. Don’t Bring Too Many Clothes

This is typically the first problem a college student has: too many clothes, not enough space.

Most college freshmen discover they didn’t need as many clothes as they thought. (This happened to me back in the day as well!)

A good rule of thumb is to bring enough casual clothes to last a couple of weeks, max. Add one dressy outfit for a formal event and one professional outfit for meetings and interviews.

2. Use Space-Saving Hangers

Clothes hung in a small dorm closet
Photo Credit: Mikaela C.

Space-saving hangers can help you store more in a small dorm closet. You’d be surprised just how much space wooden and plastic hangers take up.

Pro Tip: Hang two pairs of pants on a single hanger to save space!

You might also try these “magic” hangers that save up to 80% more space by cascading down your closet instead of across. They work for pants and tops.

Space Saving Hangers, 10PCS Magic Hangers, 5 Holes Sturdy Plastic Clothes Closet Organizers and Storage, Space Saver Organization, College Dorm Room Essentials (Black)

3. Store Shoes in a Hanging Organizer

Shoes in a hanging organizer on the side of a dorm closet
Source: Mikaela C.

I absolutely love this organizing hack. My son’s girlfriend freed up precious storage space in her dorm closet by hanging shoes on the outside!

Not only does a hanging organizer save space, but it also allows you to protect and easily see and access all of your shoes.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have a lot of shoes, you can use the extra pockets to hold socks, hair accessories, styling tools, toiletries, cosmetics…you name it!

4. Use Storage Baskets on Shelves

I use the same baskets in my laundry room, and they hold a LOT of stuff. I recommend adding some clip-on chalk labels like these:

8 Pack Metal Bin Labels Clip On | Basket Labels Clip On Labels for Storage Bins | Pantry Labels | The Home Edit Labels | Chalkboard Labels for Storage Bins | Basket Tags w/Bonus Stickers+Chalk Marker

5. Add Shelf Dividers for Folded Clothes

Clothes like jeans, t-shirts, sweaters and sweatshirts fold nicely into piles on shelves. However, they can get a little messy. I have a few solutions to this problem:

Hekmaden Acrylic Shelf Dividers for Closet Organization 8PCS,Clear Shelf Divider Fits Shelves of 0.4-1 Inch, Shelf Divider for Wooden Shelving Boxlegend Tshirt Organizer 10 Pieces Closet Organizer Ease of Stacking Stackable Closet Organizer Sturdiness Suitable for Pants Shorts Pajamas Long-Sleeved Shirts T-shirts and Towels

6. Try a Stackable Rack for Vertical Shoe Storage

If your closet has space for shoes, a stackable shoe rack is a GREAT storage solution. Go for an adjustable or customizable option like this, that you can configure to your space:

LGAQCOX Shoe Racks for Bedroom, Plastic Shoe Storage Organizer for Closet, 2 Pcs of 4 Tier Shoe Cubby, Free-Combination Sneaker Storage for Entryway, Free Standing Vertical Shoe Tower, Grey

7. Add Pull-Out Drawer Storage

Not enough shelf space in your dorm closet? Install a pull-out drawer unit under your closet rod. This lightweight fabric option is a great place to store pajamas, underwear and socks.

HAITRAL Fabric Storage Chest, Drawer Clothes Organizer - 4 Drawers Storage Organizer Unit for Closet, Easy Assembly Closet Dresser for Dorm, Bedroom, Hallway, Storage Bins (White)

8. Add a Full-Length Mirror

This is such a great idea: a full-length mirror was added to the back of this dorm closet.

If you have the space, you can lean it up against the wall or even use Command velcro hooks to adhere it to the wall off the ground.

9. Use Command Hooks on Your Dorm Closet Door

Clothes hung in a small dorm closet
Photo Credit: Mikaela C.

The inside of a closet door is a goldmine of storage space! Use Command hooks to hang hats, belts, scarves, jewelry, purses…virtually anything you can think of.

10. Store Makeup and Nail Polish in a Command Caddy

This is another great way to use the inside of your dorm closet door. A small Command caddy adheres to the door (without damage) and easily stores your nail polish and nail tools or cosmetics.

Command Medium Caddy, Holds up to 2 lb, 7.5' x 2.1' x 2.1', 1 Caddy with 4 Command Strips, Damage Free Organization Wall Mount to Cabinet, Kitchen, Pantry, Closet, or Under Sink

11. Add Hanging Fabric Shelves

Hanging fabric shelves offer floor-to-closet-rod storage for folded clothes, blankets, towels, bedding and more. You can choose an open style or one with drawers:

GRANNY SAYS 6-Shelf Hanging Organizer for Closet, Separable to 2 Pack 3-Shelf Hanging Shelves, Organization and Storage with 3 Different Drawers, 4 Side Pockets, White, 1-Pack

12. Install an Adjustable Closet Rod to Add Storage to a Dorm Closet

Many dorm closets have just a single closet rod, leaving valuable empty space beneath hanging clothes.

You can double your available space with an adjustable closet rod. It hangs on your existing rod and adds a lower tier for hanging clothes:

Simple Houseware Adjustable Closet Hanging Rod, Chrome

13. Use a Seasonal Rotation System

A seasonal rotation system for clothes makes your closet more efficient. Store out-of-season clothes or items in bins or boxes on higher shelves. Swap them out as needed to free up space for current-season items.

14. Vacuum Seal Seasonal Items

To maximize storage space in a small dorm closet, use vacuum seal bags to compress bulky seasonal items like coats, blankets and comforters. You’ll be able to fit more of these items in a smaller space, like storage bins on a top shelf.

I hope these organizing hacks have inspired you to tackle your dorm closet. Have a great year!

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Last update on 2024-04-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API