Organize your dorm room in 7 easy steps

Organization, or lack thereof, is something that plagues college students. Nowhere is this issue more apparent than in cramped, shared dorm rooms. Disorganization breeds distraction, tension with roommates, and even poor grades. Do yourself a favor and get ahead of chaos by setting up your dorm room, and by extension, your college life so that you’re organized and in control from the start.

Here are seven tips for organizing your dorm room.

1. Double your closet space by using double hanging racks.

Dorm room closets are small. But you can effectively double the size of yours simply by adding a double hanging rack. This simple device hooks on to the rack that is already in place, adding a whole new row for storing clothes. has them for $6.49 or you can find one for less than $15 at most home goods stores.

2. Set up an organizational system to minimize the distractions & mess on your desk.

Clutter on your desk constantly distracts you from the work you really need to do. And it’s not like you can just close the door and pretend it doesn’t exist. Your dorm room is where you spend a good portion of your collegiate life, and desks typically occupy a central spot, so you’re constantly reminded of your general state of disorganization and your lack of gumption in tackling it. Maintain order by minimizing the number of desk accessories you bring with you to school. In addition, recycle useless advertisements gathered from campus clubs and local businesses along with unusable scrap paper once a day. Pack graded assignments away in an organized portfolio for the whole semester, just in case there is an error on the professor’s part—it happens more than we’d like to think. Finally, keep book clutter to a minimum by organizing yours alphabetically or by the class they are required for. For ease, color code the binding of your books with a corresponding day in the week they need to be taken to class, for example you could put a blue sticker on the books you use on Tuesday, “Blue Tuesdays.”

3. Set up a laundry station, set a laundry day & stick to it.

Ask graduating seniors what they consider to be their biggest dorm room headache and you’ll be greeted with a chorus of “laundry!” If you’re not organized when it comes to staying on top of this chore, you will most certainly waste hours of time unnecessarily. Set up a system. Keep a lightweight, portable laundry bag in your closet or in a corner and before your head hits the pillow each night, toss all dirty laundry from the day in it. Pick the one day you will do your laundry (hint: avoid Sunday afternoons and evenings as laundry rooms are packed with procrastinators at that time) and fix that into your routine from the beginning of the school year. Make your weekly laundry appointment the time you catch up on your favorite shows or watch a movie.

4. Establish Cleaning Routines for Fridges & Kitchenettes

Refrigerators can quickly turn into a moldy mess. Package leftovers in zipable bags and wipe spills immediately. Throw out all items that are out of date, and make sure your roommates do the same if the fridge is shared. If your dorm room has a communal kitchen, establish a rule for cleaning so that there is never a pile of dirty bug-attracting dishes in the sink. Disposable kitchenware is always a good choice if you lack the time or equipment to wash dishes consistently. {image via: The Office Stylist}

5. Make your bed.

When you live in a small space, the slightest visual mess can have an outsized impact on your overall sense of organization. Get in the habit of making your bed every day before you leave your room – even if that means simply pulling up the duvet cover and arranging a pillow. Swap sheets weekly or, at the very least, every other week. Buy a short plastic drawer to hold the extra sheets and slide it under your bed for storage.

6. Think before you pack.

Is your room going to be big enough for a guitar? If you have a smaller room, save yourself the inevitable headache and don’t bring large, unnecessary items. If you feel the itch to play piano, head to a piano room on campus and jam there. Otherwise, learn to play the harmonica.

7. Go for a walk in the other person’s shoes.

Remember, unless you’ve won the housing lottery, you aren’t going to be the only one living in your dorm room. Think about what it would be like having you as a roommate. What steps could you take to tame your chaos before you even step foot in your room? A future friendship might just depend on it.

{Feature photo via: Ikea}

What is your biggest organizational challenge at college?