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Back to School | Kids/Families

College Dorm Organizing Do’s and Dont’s

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When it comes to college dorm organizing, given that most dorm rooms offer minimal space, you will want to ensure that you have everything you need and nothing that you don’t. 

The following is a list of tips to help you start off the year organized and prepared with a dorm room that supports you and makes you feel at home. 

DO: Plan ahead and talk with your future roommate about dorm room decor and more oversized items.

If you know ahead of time who you are going to be rooming with, you may want to talk with your future roommate about dorm organizing in advance to avoid duplication of larger items such as a dorm refrigerator, microwave, TV, coffee pot, etc. This is also a good time to discuss decorating and come up with a style or theme together so that your choice of decor style and color doesn’t clash with your roommate’s.

DO: Spaceplan when organizing your college dorm room.

If possible, measure the spaces in your dorm room ahead of time and take photos of closets and bathroom spaces to ensure that larger items like futons, dorm refrigerators, and other items will fit into the spaces available. Use your creativity to rearrange the existing furniture to create more space. If you are short on space try stacking the beds or moving a dresser to your closet.

DO: Use a checklist to ensure that nothing is forgotten on move in day.

As you start to think about dorm room organizing, a College Dorm Room Checklist is a must and will ensure that you are not forgetting to bring any important items with you. The Container store also has a great resource called How To Organize Your College Move. This will also help you to avoid bringing items that you don’t need, which ultimately end up cluttering up your small space.

 

DO: Check with the school to see exactly what items they provide.

This way you won’t make the mistake of buying a trash can just to find out that there is already one provided. It is also a good idea to find out what appliances are allowed and what is prohibited. Some colleges allow things like toasters and microwaves and some do not.

DO: Hold off on questionable items and utilize a local store on moving day.

When my older daughter moved into her dorm room, we held off on buying  questionable items until move-in day because we knew we could stop at the store down the street. By the time we had her situated, we were able to buy only what she actually needed and found that we needed much less than expected.

Dorm room organizing

DO: Establish zones while arranging and organizing your college dorm room.

If possible, create small areas for different activities such as studying, sleeping, entertainment, and eating. Store everything that you need for each activity in those zones. For example, for studying, create a place to store pens, pencils, highlighters, a comfy pillow, portable light, glasses, etc. so that you will have everything you need at your fingertips when it is time to study.

DON’T: Bring out of season clothing before you need them.

If you live within reasonable driving distance from your college, leave your winter clothing at home until colder weather arrives. Swap your summer and fall clothes for your winter clothing as the weather changes. You will free up much-needed space in your dorm room closet if you only store the clothing and accessories you actually wear.

DON’T: Forget to take advantage of every inch of space.

Bed risers and under the bed storage bins are a great way to utilize the space underneath your bed for extra storage space. Add storage cubicles to the bottom of your closet if you are short on shelf storage. Consider bringing a small nightstand with open shelves so that it can double as a small bookcase.  Over the door pocket organizers are great for extra closet and bathroom storage. Utilize wall space by adding removable damage-free hooks on doors to hang things like purses, coats, robes, towels, or your backpack.

One last thing, to ensure your comfort and a good night’s sleep I highly recommend a memory foam bed topperCollege dorm beds are not always the most comfortable, and a bed topper will make you feel more at home.

​Taking these steps will help make dorm organizing a piece of cake.  It will also ensure that the things you don’t need, will not be cluttering up your small space. The items below are other great dorm room organizing essentials you may want to consider: 

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