MIlk crates can store papers, clothes, books, soda or whatever. Stack them one on top of another. Put boards across 2 or so and put things on top like a dresser.
I bought a rug for my dorm room at an auction for a few dollars. Check yard sales, flea markets, auctions and thrift stores for nice things for the dorm.
Regarding books make sure they have the correct edition when buying it. I once bought a used book for a class and found out it was edition 3, I needed edition 4. Also some teachers require you read a bunch of books for their tests. One teacher let you read 1 out of 3 and test on that book. I saved money by not buying them all so check with the teacher (if possible) prior to buying your books. Kids advertised used books in the dorms and wash rooms, when I went to school.