Boxes, Labels and Files
Crossing over into adulthood, unfortunately, means you'll generate and be responsible for a lot of paper documents. Class work, school records, job-related stuff, tax information, insurance, bills, periodicals and more will build up and can invade your space if you don't put them in their place.
Same goes for knickknacks, tools, college memorabilia and other small items. Without a way to keep it all straight, all this accumulating stuff in your life -- crammed into a tiny dorm room, at that -- can cause unwanted additional stress.
On the other hand, all of the labeling, boxing, filing and stowing things out of sight that comes with having a storage "system" seems like a lot of work. And well, it is. But our organizing expert Ellen Faye advises putting it in perspective: "Do you want to finish projects on time? Do you want to stop spending money on buying things you know you already have, but can't find? Do you want to stop being late all the time? Do you want to be able to find what you want when you need it? Do you want to feel more calm and relaxed in your space? These are all reasons to invest the time, money and energy in getting organized."
In your dorm room you very well might lack space for traditional metal file drawers, which is why you'll want to invest in a few accordion files for important papers, such as school-related documents and maybe even your actual schoolwork.
You'll also want the ability to keep other items out of sight until needed -- sweaters and heavy bed comforters, large boxes and the like.
That's where your under-the-bed space comes to the rescue. In lieu of bunking your beds, there's a good chance you'll be able to put your bed(s) on risers -- extensions that elevate the bed several inches above its normal height (if they're permitted, you can often get risers from your resident life authority just by asking). This elevated bed stature allows you to cram a variety of bulky items underneath: trunks, larger boxes and plastic containers, to name a few.
Finally, think about investing in a labeler to mark your folders, boxes and other storage pieces. It makes for quick identification of where things are when you need them, and where they ought to go when you're done with them. Yeah, you could simply use a Sharpie, but a printed label just looks neater and is usually a lot easier to read at a glance.