Room dividers with storage

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Room dividers usually serve three main purposes: to divide a space, create privacy and/or hide an unsightly area (such as a cluttered desk or a water heater).

But some room dividers do even more–they also offer storage, via shelves or pockets, making them useful for creating a home office, a study space or even a mini crafts room.  And of course they’re also ideal for organizing dorm rooms and other shared spaces.

Here are three different kinds of room dividers with storage:

  • The Walnut Room Divider with Book Shelves features four wooden shelves in a four-panel folding wood frame.  4-Panel Book Shelves Walnut Finish Room Divider by O.R.E. ImageThe shelves simply slide into the panels to create space for books or whatever else you want to store and keep handy. Depending on how you configure the panels, the shelves can be threaded through so that there is shelving on both sides or on just one side. You can also use this room divider without the shelves.
  • The 4-Panel Folding Screen with 2 Display Shelves is a more classic style of room divider but with shelving on both sides.
  • The 3-Panel Fabric Room Divider with Pocket Holders includes 24 fabric pockets (all on one side) attached to cotton canvas suspended on three wood rods at the top, middle and bottom of each panel.  The rods are removable and the canvas is washable.  The pockets are sized well for everything from office supplies to accessories (each is approximately 7 3/4″ tall x 5 3/4″ wide), and they can be labeled, decorated or left unadorned.
    More varieties of room dividers can be found here.
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Dorm Closet Maximizers

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For dorm dwellers, making the most of a small closet isn’t just a challenge–it’s a necessity. A dorm closet needs to function as more than a mere clothes closet.  Dormies also need to stash away laundry, shower supplies and whatever doesn’t fit under the bed.

Utilizing the closet door is one of the best ways to create storage from wasted space. Here are four types of door storage solutions that work well as dorm closet maximizers–and for studio apartment closets, too:

  • The Door Knob Hamper can be hung inside or outside a closet on the door knob (or from a closet bar or over-door hook).Canvas Door Knob Hamper Image  It’s handy for keeping dirty laundry off the floor or storing clean towels or other items. The patented design features a swiveling hook on a steel frame that holds the hamper open for easy access yet is only six inches deep.  The hook also functions as a carrying handle for toting to the laundry room.  Another thoughtful feature is that the large canvas bag (two-load capacity) has a full-length zipper that makes it simple to empty laundry directly into the washing machine or onto a surface for sorting.  The bag is also removable for washing.
  • The Mesh Shower Caddy provides ample storage for shower supplies and toiletries yet takes up little space, since it can also be hung on a door knob or hook.
  • The Over the Door Storage Baskets rack consists of a steel frame with six ventilated plastic basketsOver the Door Storage Baskets Image that are ideal for storing all sorts of supplies.  Tip:  To help keep everything organized, decide what you want to store in the baskets and then use removable labels to label the edge of each basket.
  • Over-the-door hooks and over-the door racks (with multiple hooks) are useful for hanging everything from hats to hoodies, belts and bags.

More over-the-door organizers can be found here.

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Answer: How to begin organizing

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Q. I am hoping you can help because I am at a loss and things are way out of control! I am a college student and I need to be organized. My clothes are very disorganized (even though I have a hamper, ample dresser and wardrobe space in my dorm), my desk is a mess (even though if I organized some my drawers would accommodate everything) and  all of this disorganization is affecting my academics and life. How do I begin organizing?

A. You asked: “How do I begin organizing?”  There’s an old saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” This bit of wisdom applies to almost any big reorganizing project. To organize bite-by-bite, begin by focusing on whichever part of your room bothers you the most. Then decide what is the smallest bite you can take out of that area that will have a visible effect.

Since you mentioned that your desk is a mess, maybe you decide it’s your desk that bothers you the most. So you start by clearing off your desk. Use a box, laundry basket or other large container as a holding station and carefully move everything from the desk top into the container until you have an empty desk top. Then take out one item at a time and decide where it belongs–back on the desk or elsewhere?

It’s helpful to have holders for the papers, books and other items you want to keep on your desk.  Looking at some desktop organizers can give you some ideas of what you might need.

If you have a tendency to get distracted or lose track of time during the process, try setting a ticking timer for 15 minutes to give you a sense of urgency; when the buzzer sounds, step back to evaluate–then re-set and keep going until you’re satisfied with your progress.

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Dorm Room Storage Solutions

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It’s that time of year when it seems like half the country is moving into dorms and the other half is helping them–or at least advising them on how to organize the often less-than-spacious accommodations.

In most dorm rooms the only over-sized furnishing is the bed. Dorm beds are usually 80 inches long, about six inches longer than a standard twin. You can put that extra half-foot to work by using these dorm-friendly storage solutions:

  • The Storage Pod Bed Riser Set maximizes under-bed storage space via two separate functions, utilizing four bed risers and a multi-compartment storage pod. The bed risers raise a bed six inches so you Storage Pod Bed Riser (Set of 5) Imagecan store more stuff underneath, while the pod, which attaches to any of the risers, has a large compartment for notebooks, books and papers as well as smaller compartments with slits to accommodate chargers and cables. The pod is cleverly designed to spin 360 degrees for easy access to whatever you put in it–keys, remotes, cell phones, snacks, magazines, etc.
  • Under-bed storage drawers are another way to make the most of the space down under while also keeping stored items dust-free.  The Iris Stackable Under Bed Storage Drawer features a low 6-1/2 inch high frame enclosing a clear removable drawer; if you use bed risers you may be able to stack two drawers and create a mini dresser under your bed.
  • The Bed Caddy is like a condensed nightstand that hangs from the side of your bed,  with a tissue holder and six pockets in various sizes for storing almost anything you like to keep close at hand.  Dorm beds are long enough to allow you to comfortably fit more than one bed caddy along the bedside.Bedside Storage Caddy - Black Denier Image
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Organizing dorms and other small living spaces

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If you live in a small home–whether it’s a dorm room, a studio apartment, a cramped condo or a “cozy” cottage–it’s a challenge to find effective ways to store what you already have, not to mention what you’ll accumulate as time goes on.

In small spaces there’s often nowhere to go but up, so utilizing vertical space is essential. (This does not mean piling up stuff to mountainous heights.)  Dorm or apartment restrictions on making holes in walls and ceilings may prevent you from installing wall-mounted shelving and rack systems, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of your vertical space. Here are three vertically oriented storage solutions that will stop you from climbing the walls:

Baker’s Rack.   Despite the name, baker’s racks aren’t just for kitchens–they can be useful anywhere you need a combination of multipurpose surface and storage.  Urban Baker's Rack by Honey Can Do Image

The shallow upper shelf can hold everything from tech gear to grooming supplies, while the wood-slab work surface and larger lower shelves are handy for storing bulkier stuff such as books, storage baskets and file boxes.  Detachable wire hooks that hang from a bar or grid are good for keeping a variety of frequently used items accessible: caps, keys, scissors and anything else hangable that tends to get lost underneath other stuff left on horizontal surfaces.

Over-Bed Shelving.  For some people, a nightstand is merely a nicety; for others, it’s a necessity. It does make sense to have a bedside spot for keeping within easy reach things like an alarm clock, a box of tissues and various personal items. But dorms and other small bedroom spaces rarely have room for a nightstand. Fortunately there’s another option that goes over the bed instead of beside it:  the InterMetro Over Bed Storage Shelf fits over a standard twin bed and features two adjustable-height shelves, each with a 100-pound capacity (although you won’t want to store anything that heavy on it in case of an earthquake).

Hanging Closet Organizers. Vertical storage isn’t limited to stand-alone units. There’s a whole range of hanging closet accessories that utilize vertical space inside closets and on closet doors. These organizers are designed to accommodate everything from sweaters to shoes.  The 6-Shelf Hanging Closet Organizer is a good choice for storing folded clothes; to store smaller items such as underwear and socks, just add these canvas drawers.

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