How to Keep Your Dorm Room Clean (Without Annoying Your Roommate)

Problem: The Clutter

Every inch of wall space in this dorm room has been used. Note all the hanging shelves.
Every inch of wall space in this dorm room has been used. Note all the hanging shelves.
Greg Friedler/Workbook Stock/Getty Images

Two things are going to get you most of the way to a tidy dorm room: organization skills and smart storage choices. Together, they pretty much mean that almost all your stuff is tucked away, and it's tucked away logically. Throwing all your junk in the closet and pushing the door shut doesn't count.

Once you see your dorm room, make a plan. The objectives here are twofold: Keeping it out of sight, and organizing it logically to make it easy as possible to keep it that way.

Start by dividing what you own into categories, and then assess the volume of your stuff and the storage options in your room. Next, determine the best containment strategies.

Study stuff: Is the desk a table, or are there drawers and shelves, too? If there aren't, or if the drawers and shelves aren't enough, invest in a file box, a desktop organizer, and a set of stacking drawers you can fit right next to or underneath the desk. A shelf over the desk can hold textbooks, computer peripherals and other larger items.

Apparel: You probably have a closet and a dresser. If your stuff doesn't fit, try an over-the-door hanging shoe rack, closet organizers with extra shelving, and over-the-door hooks for jackets, scarves and hats. Shallow under-bed boxes are lifesavers, too, especially for bulky winter sweaters.

Bed and bath belongings: Put all of your bathing supplies in a shower caddy, any makeup in a makeup bag or box, and designate a spot for them. Stacking drawers, a wall shelf, or a crate can hold these neatly.

Whenever possible, go double-duty and/or off-the-floor. Anything you can attach to a wall, hang from a ceiling or use for multiple purposes are space savers. Stacking crates and trunks can double as tables and seating, and a light you can hang from the ceiling frees up surface space for jewelry boxes, tissues and other miscellaneous items.

Once you've got the means to tuck everything neatly away where you can easily find it and return it, all that's left is actually using the system – all the time, every day. If you don't take the two seconds to put your books back on the shelf, you might as well have no system at all.

Now, the harder part: You're probably not your dorm room's only keeper.