Moving into the dorm can be a great escape and a chance to start out fresh, independent and confident. There are a couple of things that will help that transition feel like a success: Docking Station from West Elm $49. set up a system for charging your phone, ipod and camera so that you don't find yourself out of battery power and no clue as to where your charger is. It does double duty as a place to set all that stuff down when you come inside. This docking station will keep it all organized and keep you from losing your sh*t when you're late for class.
Hollow Core Bookshelf from Target $99. This makes a great nightstand and book shelf and isn't heinous. Stash books, fold up sweaters, keep things handy since it's open shelving.
Bauhaus table Lamp from CB2 on sale for $39.95. Everyone need s a desk light or a bedside lamp, this one is sleek, modern and durable. And because this one has an opaque shade, you can leave it on while your roommate is sleeping and not light up the entire room.
Nostalgisk Clothes Storage Box from Ikea $12.99. In a small space, you have to stay organized, or you will really pay a price (trust us). The easiest way we've found is to just have lots of boxes to put things in. If you coordinate all your box colors, they won't look overwhelming. We like Ikea's Nostalgisk series because they come in so many shapes and cost between $7.99 and $15.99.
Organic Pin Tuck Duvet Cover and Shams from West Elm $79.99 for twin size. The upside to having a twin sized bed (yes there is an upside) is that bedding can be much less expensive. Like this totally of the moment pin tuck set, which is well below $100 for something that will feel luxurious and stylish.
Ikea Gosa Nava Pillow $59. It's important to have a really comfortable pillow. $59 might seem steep since you probably already have one, but if you're still sleeping on the pillow that you've had your whole childhood, it might be time to invest in a new one (and in some really good sleep, you'll need it).
Invest in some magazine files. Not only can you store magazine and files but you can dedicate a file for each subject or project you're working on to keep it all straight. We like these from the Container Store: $7.99 each (on sale!). Try either getting them all in one color or pick a different color for each subject.
Like in any home, you need to filter the outside world as you walk in the door. Around here we call it a landing strip. This Triple Strip Hook, $20, from See Jane Work gives you a place to hang up your bag and your jacket plus room to pin up notes to yourself or important papers that you need to take with you on your way out. Stash you mail on top of the hooks so it doesn't end up in a pile on the floor, or worse, spread out all over the room.
Shower Caddy from the Container Store, $9.99. Some dorms have bathrooms attached to rooms but most UC schools have a communal bathroom at the end of the hall. Corral all your bath essentials in the caddy and never be stuck in the shower without conditioner again (ahem).
In a dormroom where the instinct is to go cheap and disposable, wooden hangers can feel like a luxury. These from Ikea come in an 8 pack for $3.95 so they're totally affordable, and opening to closet to uniform hangers instantly makes it feel organized.