College Life, Home, Lifestyle

Our Favorite Dollar Store Hacks For Your Dorm Room

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Elizabeth Miller. Find them on Instagram at @Lizzy_7979. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

As a college student living away from home for the first time, I’ve noticed it can be a struggle to find affordable ways to furnish your spaces. I’ve always been a crafty person, and occasionally my mom will send me dollar-store hack videos that have tips for taking dollar-store items and making them into other useful items. Luckily, there is a dollar store close to my school, and my roommates and I go there to get cheap cleaning supplies and pull together our DIY skills to make our dorm room a bit less sterile. Here are some dollar store dorm hacks you might find useful.

Organizing Cleaning Supplies

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My roommates and I prefer to get our paper products and some cleaning supplies, like sponges, at dollar stores. With a small room and limited shelving and closet space, it was really hard to store everything. So, we decided to look and see what organization options were at the dollar store. We have a couple of doors, and when we came across some over-the-door shoe organizers, we realized we could fit the cleaning supplies in the compartments. Some shoe organizers come with hooks, otherwise, wreath hangers and command hooks work to hold the organizer on the door. The compartments are great for Clorox wipes, spray bottles, Lysol spray, paper towel rolls and more.

Organizing Kitchen Supplies

One organization hack that looks cute uses baskets, trays, and napkin holders. We have a basket that fits on top of our mini fridge, and we keep our plates, bowls, utensils, and to keep plates and bowls in it. We don’t have a lot of surface space to keep snacks so we recently decided we wanted to try and fit snacks in there too. I came across this hack that uses napkin holders to store Tupperware and realized we could keep the plates leaning similarly so they would take up less space in the basket. We also had enough room to put a utensil holder in to keep our reusable utensils organized. These dollar store dorm hacks use a brownie pan and the napkin holders are glued to it for stability. Pencil cups are another option for storing utensils.

DIY Shelving

One way to maximize surface space is mini shelving. There are tons of designs and tutorials on TikTok and Instagram. A lot of these take some crafty skills, but they look so cute! Two of my favorites are thinner rectangular stands that fit nicely on windowsills and wider shelves for desks that use wire stands and wire baskets. 

The shelves fit for windowsills use 2 craft planks of wood, 2-4 picture frames, small wooden blocks, decorative vinyl and glue. The picture frames act as the supports to make two layers of shelving. Glue the blocks between the picture frames for stability. Cover the planks in the vinyl to make them prettier, and then glue one inside the frames on the bottom to make the lower shelf, and the second plank on top of the frames to make the upper shelf.

The second shelf uses a wire shelf, 2 wire baskets, some foam or cardboard, decorative vinyl and glue. Cut the foam board so it fits nicely into the bottom of the wire baskets and cover the foam board in the vinyl. Glue one basket to the top of the wire shelf, then glue the shelf to the bottom basket.

Earring Holder As Wall Decor

A light, renter and dorm-friendly wall decor hack uses a wire mesh flat strainer, mini mirror, and command hooks. Unscrew the handle from the center of the mesh strainer if it has one and glue the mirror in the center to cover the hole. The mesh is fine enough to hole earrings in. Place two clear command hooks on the wall about five inches apart from each other and rest the strainer on it. If you need a pair of earrings, you can just pick the strainer up to take out the earrings, and then put it back on the wall so you can use the mirror to put them in!

Other Mini Hacks

Dollar store mini mirrors and plastic photo frames and holders can be used as dry-erase boards. They’re great for hanging on the wall and writing quick memos to your roommates. 

Of course, many dollar store organizers are great for what they were meant to do. Desk organizing bins are great for all sorts of knickknacks and fit into most drawers nicely.

There are so many dollar store hacks out there, but these are my favorites because they are not only practical but cute and crafty! 

What are your favorite dollar store dorm hacks? Let us know in the comments below!

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