You’re not the only one who moved from a medium-sized bedroom to a two-person 12 x 12 dorm, but it may seem like it when you start moving your entire life’s belongings into what feels like a 3×5 index card. Don’t despair; we’ve got your back! There are actually a lot of best practices to organize your small space, fit everything you need, and still have room to live.

Bed Risers

Rule number one of the four-poster bed is to get bed risers. If you’re dealing with bunk beds, this might not be an option, but all other types will accommodate and benefit from the additional six inches of storage space. Once you’ve got bed risers, just about everything you own should fit under your bed. This way you can keep extra supplies from cluttering your desk, next season’s clothes out of the closet, and spare shoes out of sight.

Use Containers, Not Boxes

You might have moved in with cardboard boxes, but you should replace them with organizer-friendly storage containers made from fabric, plastic, metal, or wood. Cardboard boxes are not very durable, and tend to acquire extra junk. If you buy storage containers instead, your extra clothes can stay safe and sealed in their own little home under your bed. You should label these boxes using masking tape and a permanent marker, making it easier to re-label as the years go by.

Utilize Every Space (and Hang it Up)

So you’ve got a shoebox full of jewelry and you can’t imagine how you’ll ever organize it. Head over to IKEA, The Container Store, or even Target, and you’ll be amazed at all of the ideas. These days you can even look for tips on Pinterest. The best way to keep jewelry and other items organized is to hang them up. Buy an over-the-door shoe hanger, or even a combination jewelry-storage-mirror-shoe hanger. (Seriously, they make those.) If you’ve got too much jewelry, you can frame it. Using a large picture frame, remove the glass covering, frame a piece of mesh, and hang your dangly earrings in decorative organization. You can use paper clips to hand bracelets and necklaces.

Only One “Junk” Spot

Designate one drawer or container for your junk. This should include those loose ends that you need to keep, such as batteries, as well as those random rubber bands and scissors. If you have just one place for all of these items, you’re less likely to leave them scattered around your room and shoved in dark corners under your bed. Whenever your junk box gets too full, it’s time to purge some items. Fellow students, teachers, and especially tutoring centers will be all too happy to take those paper clips, pens, and rubber bands off your hands, while the recycling bin can take care of your scraps of paper.

Specific Class Folders

You may not ever want to see that Physics 101 quiz again, but your teacher might in order to record your grade. It’s annoying to save all of our old tests and papers, but there are certain times when they come in handy. Make sure you designate filing folders or standard pocket folders for each class, and store them in an easy-to access spot. File away your extra papers regularly, or even bring the folder to each class to make the filing process easier. This way all items from one class are together, and when your teacher suddenly announces that the final exam will consist entirely of questions from your quizzes, you’ll know exactly what to study.

[Image via Freshome]