Organizing your dorm room

College dorm life can be rather trying. Here is some advice to share on how to handle life in these tight living quarters.

We agree that it is difficult to keep the small dorm rooms organized and in an uncluttered state. Here are some tips and products to help achieve the nearly impossible task:

  • One of the worst things about dorm life is taking a shower. You have to gather up all of your things and take the walk down the hall to the shower facility. Make sure you have all your products in a basket that you can carry with you. You don’t want to forget anything and have to make that walk again.
  • Next on the list is doing your laundry. Again, you must walk somewhere to do your laundry and you have to make sure you have everything you need to clean your clothes. A tall, plastic laundry basket will hold all your dirty clothes without taking up much floor space and you can easily disinfect it between loads with sanitizing wipes. Use a small basket to carry your laundry soap, fabric softener and the sanitizing wipes.
  • Closet space is at a premium and you can’t really install anything into your space, so go for the hanging organizer that adds six shelves to your tiny closet. Also, try and put normally unused space to use. An overdoor shoe rack with hanging hooks can do the trick behind your door.
  • Under bed storage bags can come in handy. Put them to use by storing out-of-season clothing, extra blankets, and school supplies.
  • Dairy crates are great for storing and stacking books, media, and whatever else you can think of. They also come in handy when you are moving to and from school.
  • Try and pack the bare minimum when you first move into your dorm room. The less you have the better. If you find that you need something, go ahead and have the parents bring it when they come and visit or pick them up when you’re home for a break.

I hope these tips help out. Now let’s just hope your roommate lives an uncluttered lifestyle. Good luck on that one.


This post was originally published in July 2007.

8 Comments for “Organizing your dorm room”

  1. posted by Lamondo on is a great website that has tons of awesome products that help you stay organized in your dorm room. Check them out.

  2. posted by BobbyEsq on

    I didn’t have a fancy tote for my shower stuff, I just used a regular ol’ mop bucket, the cheapest one Wal-Mart had. I also had a few pillowcases full of clean clothes – one for underwear, one for socks (all of my socks were the same), one for t-shirts (plain white undershirts, not the kind you wear on their own). If it went underneath my regular clothes, I didn’t see the point in keeping any of it wrinkle-free.

    Also, leave the TV at home, at least at first. Your roommate likely has one, and if not, you’ve got your laptop, right?

  3. posted by chocolatecrunch on

    i remember my college days. we each have a bucket to store our toiletries and i have a big duffel bag to store my clothes and uniforms. every morning we each rush to the bathroom because there’s only 4 shower stalls in our dorm and i think there’s like 14 of us that has the same schedule. we are not allowed to bring tv so we always watch a movie either in theatres or just study (yeah right).

  4. posted by Ragnarok 2012 on

    I’d throw in something about organizing the vast amount of paper you get at college. A banker’s box, a labeler, and manilla envelopes.

    Y’know, the basic GTD system.

    Also, elastic straps for the fitted sheet will help it to stay firmly in place. Even if you don’t want to make your bed, it’s annoying sleeping on the mattress after the fitted sheet has come off.

  5. posted by amanda lee on

    Some schools have these awesome beds that allow you to adjust the height of the mattress relative to the floor, sometimes lofting it as high at three or four feet off the ground. If you can do this, definitely do! You can store all sorts of things under there.

    I second the “bare minimum” advice–for instance, don’t bring all your winter sweaters to school when you move in in August. They’ll just be in the way.

  6. posted by Chris on

    My tips (finished first year and learned some things)
    1) stiff hamper for laundry
    2) overdoor hanger should have 6 hooks, winter jacket, light jacket, rain jacket, sweatshirt, towels…
    3) some doors (mine) couldn’t fit those hangers, pick up the 3m ones, don’t try to take them off at the end of the year- they’ll damage the wall and that will cost you. If you leave them on you’re only improving the room so they won’t charge you and it’s only a couple of bucks
    4)if you are a real mess (like me) get a shelving unit that sits on the top of the desk, if your desk doesn’t have shelves. All vertical space should be used, since we have so little horizontal space!
    4a) If you want to get really tricky, get some steel wire and tiny rare earth magnets (really tiny- 100 should cost under 10 bucks shipped online). run the wire over your desk shelving unit, and the magnets stick pieces of paper to the wire. Paper assignments, reminders, etc are perfect for this.
    5) Get the bed as high as you can, use the 10inch risers even if you aren’t allowed to, chances are nobody will care
    6) EARPLUGS. Soft ones, from an online retailer. You’ll be used to them fast and they’re a lifesaver. Same goes for white noise.

  7. posted by Anonymous on

    it’s called a shower caddy. they sell nice ones with little compartments for all your toiletries at target and bed bath and beyond….

    and, yes, definitely either bunk or loft your bed (i’m a big fan of lofting- you’ve got plenty of space under there for your desk and everything)

  8. posted by Megan on

    My daughter and my neighbour’s daughter were amazed at how much storage space they had in their dorm rooms and they were at different schools. But, they grew up in small 1000 square foot homes in a downtown neighbourhood and one had shared a bedroom with her sister. Depending on where you go to school don’t take all your summer clothes – Sept might be warm but you will be home at the end of April.

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