How To Tetris Your Dorm Room Into Storage

How To Tetris Your Dorm Room Into Storage

So you’re headed home for the holidays, or maybe spring or summer break. It’s time to pack up the dorm, and you’ve got to put it all somewhere. But where? Do you really have a lot of options?

For most, it either boils down to a self-storage unit, or their parent’s garage. Even if there is room for all of your stuff back home, do you have room in your vehicle to transport it, or will you have to rent a moving van?

What a conundrum. Large storage units can be expensive, and parent’s garages can be cramped, but either way, I’ve got you covered. You’ve already figured out how to make the most of the space in your dorm room, and I can help you make the most of a small storage space. Here are my best tips for tetrising your belongings into the smallest amount of space in the most efficient way possible.

Quality Boxes

The first step is to invest in good boxes of the same size. It’s fine if you need different sizes (small, medium, large) as long as the boxes from each category are all the same. Investing in something that you could pick up for free out back of a fast food restaurant seems counterproductive, but it’s worth the small amount of money it will cost to buy easily stackable boxes. If you just snag up a bunch of leftovers, they’ll all be different shapes and sizes, which means they’ll stack awkwardly and take up more space than needed. On top of that,if you buy boxes from a storage or moving company, you’ll definitely get high quality ones that won’t buckle, tear, or squish when you pile them up. Make sure you don’t overfill your moving boxes by keeping an eye on how much weight you’re putting into them. But, don’t waste space by not filling up a box completely, either. You can always put heavy things on the bottom of the box and lighter things at the top.

Paintings/Wall Art

Any posters should be rolled up into poster tubes, but don’t waste any precious space: you can actually fit several into one single poster tube. If you don’t have tubes, it’s okay. Roll them all up together anyways and secure them with some rubber bands, just be really careful where the roll ends up. For framed pictures and wall art, stack them all together flat on the floor (largest on the bottom to smallest on the top) and then tilt them up toward you and wrap them all together tightly in saran wrap. This will not only take up the least amount of space, it will also keep them safe and lessen the chances of breaking or ripping.


I know it doesn’t sound very tetris-y, but trust me on this: all soft items like clothes and blankets should go into bags. If you can pick up some of those bags that you suck all of the air out with a vacuum, that would be ideal. They’re fairly inexpensive. If you can’t, no worries, just cram everything into trash bags and await further instruction. Oh look, there it is:

Further Instruction

Now it’s time to get down to the actual tetris part. Here’s how to think of your stuff:

  • Square piece: boxes, bins, bedside tables
  • Line piece: bookshelves, dressers, desks, sofas
  • L shaped piece: chairs
  • T shaped piece: tables
  • S/Z shaped pieces: probably everything else or nothing else but screw those pieces anyways, they always come at the worst time.

Now that you’ve got everything categorized, it should be easy to think of it like a game of tetris. Start with the back wall of your storage unit, or whatever space you’re using, and stack things as close and tight as you can. Keep in mind that those line shape pieces can either go horizontal or vertical (like tilting a sofa up on its side,) and L shaped pieces can go upside down to fit into each other without wasting space. Oh yeah, remember all those clothes I had you put into bags? You can throw those bags on top of a high stack, or cram them into all the crevices of leftover space you have from awkwardly shaped objects.

This will be a little more challenging than a real game of tetris, as you’ll need to be careful to put the heaviest things on the bottom and save the lighter things for the top of the stack. It will also be a little less challenging, in that you’ll have plenty of time to figure out the best place to put things (unless you want to spice it up by giving yourself a time limit…)

In the end, us college students are on a tight budget and we don’t have a have a ton of money to throw at a storage unit or a moving van, so hopefully these tips help you make the most of every dollar you do have when you need to pack up your dorm for the break.