College Advice Blog

Dec 21, 2012

Keeping a Dorm Room Organized When at School

You may find that heading off to college and getting to live in a dorm room can be the first taste of life on your own.  This means that there aren’t likely to be parents around to tell you to pick up your stuff.  There won’t be someone to tell you when to make your bed or do your laundry.  And there won’t be someone there to buy the supplies and items you need to help you get – and stay – organized.

Therefore, it may be up to you – and possibly a roommate – to keep your dorm room at least somewhat organized.  Here are a few relatively simple tips that might help you in your efforts to keep your dorm room from becoming a complete wreck.

Discuss Area Boundaries with a Roommate
It can be important to keeping roommate relations positive that you speak with your roommate regarding room and possession boundaries soon after moving in.  Even seemingly simple arrangements like not eating one another’s food, how the freezer and refrigerator space will be divided, who will clean what and when, or who gets how much closet space can lead to larger issues down the road if they are not cleared up early on.  Clothes spilling out of the closet area, rotting food stinking up the refrigerator, or the trash piling up and overflowing because no one has taken it out can lead to bigger issues and make your dorm room look, smell and feel terrible to be in.

Bedding Arrangements
Getting the bedding arrangements squared away early on can make keeping a dorm room organized much simpler.  Deciding whether you’re going to go the bunk bed/loft route, or just do the two single bed arrangement can give you a better idea of what the storage situation will look like in your room.  Not doing the bunk bed style sleeping arrangement could mean that there is less storage space as you’ll have two beds to work around rather than just one stacked bed sleeping area.  However, consider that even with two beds there may still be ample storage space beneath these beds, which with the right boxes or storage containers could make for a great place to stash stuff such as extra towels, bedding, winter/summer clothing, dried or canned food, etc. to keep such items out of the way until needed.

Stackable Crates
If you’re looking to keep your dorm room organized in an economical fashion, you might consider using stackable crates.  Personally, I found that the empty plastic milk crates came in handy while away at school.  They’re typically quite sturdy and can be filled with books, clothing, or whatever, and then stacked to form table bases, night stands, or just neatly stacked in corners or closets.  While they might not always be the prettiest or most stylish storage items, you can often disguise them with a table cloth or blanket if you’re feeling slightly embarrassed about them.

Shower Caddy
Having a shower caddy might sound simple, but sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ideas.  If you don’t have a bathroom in your dorm room or a space in your bathroom area for personal belongings, being able to load your shower and bathroom supplies into an easily transportable caddy (that can get wet) and that can be taken with you into the shower area can make things much more convenient.  Not only this, but it can help you keep toiletries organized in one space and from being scatter around your dorm room when not in use.

About the Author
This article was written by KW Calhoun for the team at


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