Storage Tips

How to Transform Your Dorm from Pit to Paradise

August 13, 2019 in Storage Tips

Messy dorm room transformed into a clean dorm room.

The first year of college is an exciting time for everyone, full of new experiences both academic and personal. However, it can also be a stressful one. For many students, it’s their first significant time away from home, their first time living with a roommate, and their first time sharing a tiny room.

Organizing a dorm room is one of the biggest challenges incoming college students face. It’s not easy, but creating a cozy, welcoming, and well-organized space to come home to is one of the best things students can do to make their first year of college a great one.

Ready Yourself for Roommate Life

One of the hardest parts of dorm life is sharing a few hundred square feet with a roommate. An overwhelming majority of first-year students – 87%, in fact – have at least one roommate. Every organized dorm starts with a positive relationship and ample communication between roommates.

Come to an Agreement on the Basics

While it sounds trite, a good relationship with your roommate is founded on communication. After you’ve set up an open dialogue, it’s important to come to an agreement on the basics, making compromises when necessary.

An illustration of two college students conversing in a hallway. The title reads "roommate communication is key."

There are a lot of things to think about with a roommate. When should bedtime be? How quiet does it need to be? Who gets to visit the room and when? What movie should be shown on Friday night?

But physical boundaries are important, too. How should you arrange the room? Who gets what side of the room? How messy is too messy? Who has control over what spaces in the room? These questions can help forge a strong relationship – or destroy one. Try to come to an agreement on the basics as much as possible.

Don’t Avoid Conflict

It can seem like a good idea to avoid conflict. It is initially more pleasant, and it comes with the hope that something changes and you might never need to enter conflict.

But the fact of the matter is that humans tend to disagree with each other. It’s OK; it happens to everyone! The trick, though, is to make sure that conflict doesn’t spiral out of control. And one of the ways it can spiral out of control is by not addressing it.

By not avoiding conflict, and instead dealing with it when it happens, you can minimize the overall damage of the disagreement as well as potential secondary consequences. “Nip it in the bud” is a common phrase for a reason. It works!

This is especially true when it involves belongings and organization. It’s hard to ignore your roommate’s pants splayed on the middle of the floor. If you want that to stop, bring it up.

Organize Your Clothing Like an Adult

For college students, clothing is of particular importance. It’s a way to establish personal style at the same time that it must function in numerous circumstances. And in dorms, clothing has an odd tendency to get strewn about the room. As a result, organizing your clothing is vital for a clean room.

An illustration of a clean wardrobe. The title says "organize your clothing like an adult."

Don’t Overpack

It’s easy to want to take your entire wardrobe with you to college, especially if you’re going to a school with hot summers as well as cold winters. Comfy clothes, formal clothes, business/work clothes, party clothes … there’s a lot of different types to think about.

Unfortunately, that makes it easy to fall into the easiest trap of all: bringing too many clothes in the first place. Overpacking happens faster than you think – dorms are small, after all – and the result of bringing too many clothes is all too often a cluttered room. Even if your clothes are really neatly arranged, the sheer volume may make it look like your room is a mess.

Make the Effort to Put Clothes Away

We get it. School is hard! There’s homework to do, friends to make, free time to spend, classes to attend. A full schedule can make dorm organization seem like a distant goal. Still, that’s no excuse to leave clothes in random piles in your room.

While being careless with your clothes may seem easy, the added clutter builds up. Putting your clothes back on the hanger or in the hamper only takes a little more effort, but you’ll enjoy the benefits every day.

An Ordered Desk, an Ordered Self

There’s a reason why every dorm room includes a desk: school has schoolwork, after all. While messy desks are often seen as signs of genius – Albert Einstein famously stated that an empty desk is the sign of an empty mind – there are clear benefits to having an ordered desk. Scientific studies and surveys have shown that tidiness helps reduce stress, replenish mental energy, and even helps us sleep better.

An illustration of a student sitting at a clean desk. The title says "an ordered desk, an ordered self."

So, how can you get there? The key is not to get rid of stuff, but to use it more effectively.

Store Your Supplies Consistently

One of the ways you can use your things more effectively is by keeping them in the same place. Where that place is doesn’t quite matter; everyone has different organizational structures and thought processes, so be sure to do something that works for you. The main idea is that, when reaching for something, you don’t have to think. You just get it. Here are a few ways you can organize your desk and the items within it:

  • Alphabetically: If you have a lot of books on similar subjects, organizing alphabetically is a tried-and-true way to sort them
  • By subject: First-year students often take a wide variety of classes, and keeping your items separated by those different subjects can work wonders
  • By item type: Books go in one drawer, notes in another, and supplies in another

Of course, the key is keeping this organization consistent. Swapping between organizational systems (or a lack thereof) is a sure recipe for confusion.

Out of Sight and Out of Mind

Every college student forgets about a homework assignment at some point in their college career. While sometimes it’s not really preventable, there are steps you can take to stay organized so that doesn’t happen as much as possible.

Namely, one of the best organizational practices you can take part in is making sure important items are visible so that you don’t forget them. It’s the adage “out of sight, out of mind” at play here.

Important homework assignment due? Keep it on your desk rather than in a drawer. Have a few projects with multiple deadlines? Get a cork board and pin it up so that you can easily see it. Need to go to your digital calendar ten times a day? Print it out for the week and put it in your notebook.

By designating which items you want to keep visible, you will naturally deem certain items good to store in out-of-sight places. Half the battle about organizing is deciding where to put things, so by doing this you’re helping yourself twice!

For Extra Space, Self Storage Can Assist

Organizing your dorm is a great way to start your first year of college and step with your best foot forward. But sometimes no amount of organizing will satisfy you with a particularly tiny dorm, and perhaps you might need a space for your items over the summer. For your unique storage needs, choose a self storage facility managed by Absolute Storage Management. Our storage units can hold those extra clothes, school supplies, and more whenever you need it. Contact us today!