Dormify's Karen & Amanda Zuckerman Reveal Secrets To Organizing Small Spaces - Exclusive

Karen and Amanda Zuckerman would like to let you in on a secret: You don't need a lot of space to create a comfortable and visually-appealing living area. As the mother-and-daughter co-founders of Dormify, an online shop for everything related to dorm room organizing and décor, they've become experts at helping students make a big visual impact in small areas -– even on a budget.

In fact, the idea for Dormify was inspired by the difficulties the Zuckermans experienced when shopping for supplies before Amanda's first year in college. "One of the hardest things back then was having one place to get everything that you needed," Amanda recalled. "There was also no guidance or tips around how to make the most of your space." So, Amanda and her mother decided they would become the go-to source for campus gear and expert, dorm-specific decorating advice. In an exclusive interview, they share some of their best tips for getting the most from a small space.

Maximize vertical space

While the square footage in your dorm room may be smaller than what you're used to, Amanda Zuckerman points out that you do, in fact, have more space than you think. For instance, she said, the area under the bed is often overlooked. "So, loft up your bed as high as you can, put as many storage pieces under there. Sometimes you can even move the dresser that's in the room underneath the bed," she suggested. "Then cover it all up with a bed skirt so that it's a very clean and polished-looking room."

Zuckerman added that strategically re-arranging the room's furniture is another easy way to maximize available space. "Something that I really loved doing in my own dorm room was re-imagining how to use the furniture," she continued. "So, instead of having a bookshelf that sits next to your desk, turn it 90 degrees and put it on the back side of the desk so that you can really maximize that vertical height.

Rethink what you bring to campus

One way to ensure your dorm room can accommodate all your stuff is, well, to bring less stuff. Karen Zuckerman points out, for example, that there's no need for students to bring their entire wardrobe to campus. "I think you have to remember that you come home a couple times during the year, and you can switch out your clothing," she revealed. "When you bring too much and there's nowhere to put it, you actually really clutter the space with clothing that you don't need. It's hard to get through it all." Amanda Zuckerman concurs, adding that excess clothing often ends up inaccessible and unused in any case. "It probably just becomes buried anyway at the bottom of an Ottoman or a storage space," she shared.

Smart use of technology can also help you create more room. Switching to digital textbooks instead of hardcover textbooks, for instance, can not only free up a lot of space, but significantly lighten your backpack when moving between classes. "I moved three kids into college, and those heavy textbooks were everywhere, and they took up so much space," Karen added. For this reason, she added, Dormify has partnered with textbook publisher Pearson+, which offers digital textbooks by subscription.

For more stylish, space-saving tips, visit Dormify and Pearson+.