two young men in a small dorm roomBack-to-school ads are full of products that you need to be cool at school, but how many of these products can you realistically fit into your shared, jail cell-sized dorm room? What's the key to picking out the dorm room necessities from the things that will make your space look like an episode of Hoarders?

"Organization is key," said Andrew Skipper, an interior designer and two-year dorm veteran at Bethal College. When you live in a shared, small, temporary space, anything that helps your room look and stay organized is a dorm room necessity.

Finding out the quirks of your space will help you focus on things to keep organized and eliminate things you don't need or that won't fit. When Skipper found out that his dorm room closet didn't have a door, his dorm room necessities became items that made his closet eye pleasing instead of an eyesore. "I wanted the closet to look appealing and stay organized," he said. "So, I bought all matching hangers and baskets for shoes and hats, and a taller hamper for dirty clothes."

When picking your dorm necessities think space saving.The fewer things you have, the easier it will be be keep it all in order. Skipper coordinated with his roommates to make sure they didn't bring overlapping items. Skipper was in charge of kitchen appliances and tried to buy things that could serve more than one purpose. "I brought a combination microwave and toaster that was very space saving," he said.

Folding chairs can also be space saving dorm room necessities. "There is not much space for big furniture in dorm rooms," Skipper said. "Folding chairs are good because you can take them out when entertaining and then store them under the bed or beside your desk when you're not." Stylish folding chairs can be found at Target and Ikea.

Personal touches are also dorm room necessities. "Color is a great way to show your personality without taking up any space," Skipper said. You can display that color in the curtains, rugs, pillows and bedding in your room. Framed pictures of your friends and family are also a must. Use them to decorate your desk and walls and alleviate any homesickness.

When it comes down to figuring out your dorm room necessities remind yourself why you are living in a dorm in the first place -- to study! "If I could take one thing with me," Skipper said, "it would be a good lamp." The most important dorm room items aren't sexy or showy, but practical.

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