Let’s get organized

Learn how to organize your dorm room and schedule in college!

Let’s get organized

No more curfews. No more parents asking whether you have done your homework and telling you to clean your room. It’s up to you to make sure your papers get written, you get up for class and you have clean underwear. But how can you make sure that you are held accountable for everything you need to get done?


All it takes is a little organization.

Your dorm room
Space will be at a premium in your dorm room, so you will have to be creative in how you store your belongings. Organization can cut down on dorm room chaos so it is a positive environment for socializing and studying.

  • Clothing can take up a lot of space, especially if you bring a year round wardrobe with you at the beginning of the school year. If you will be visiting home between seasons, trade out your warm weather clothing for cold and vice versa.
  • Your closet will probably be tiny, so make the most of the space. Professional organizer Leslie Jacobs suggests using milk crates as shelves for clothing and other items on the floor of the closet. (When stacked they also can make great bookshelves.) Other great space savers are organizing tools that hang over a door. Pocket organizers can hold shoes and other items, while hooks can be used for wet towels and coats.
  • Many college students choose to bunk or loft their beds to make more space in their dorm rooms. Or you could use bed lifters to create more space for storage. Put milk crates on their sides under your bed to store books and other items or use clear plastic storage containers, which make it easy to remember what is inside.

Your study area

A study area that is clear of clutter is the most conducive to getting work done.

  • To keep your dorm room and study space in top shape, follow Leslie Jacobs’ advice. She says, “When you get back from class, don’t drop everything on your bed. Empty your back pack and arrange on your desk which books you will use that night and put the rest on the book shelf.”

Your schedule

Nothing will need more planning in your college life than your schedule. Dr. Robert Neuman, former academic dean for Marquette University (www.marquette.edu) and author of Are You Really Ready for College: A College Dean’s 12 Secrets for Success explains: “college students face the great challenge of organizing and managing all that time when they’re not in class. Students mistakenly consider it ‘free time’ when in reality it’s unstructured time that students have to structure.”

  • When keeping your schedule, it is best to use a method that works best for you. Some students prefer a paper day planner or white board. Others will feel more comfortable using a a device such as Outlook or Google Calendar. Whatever you decide on, just make sure you use it!
  • Olivia Lindquist Bowen, Founder & Director of Education at the Royston Writing Institute  says, “Add assignment benchmarks, office hours and workouts.  Don’t forget to plan time to keep yourself healthy!”  Blocking out your schedule will help you know how much time you have to dedicate to other activities such as socializing, volunteer work, a part time job and clubs. 
  • Your desk can quickly turn into a huge mess if you let the influx of notes, handouts and school supplies take over. Keep your supplies in order by using a drawer organizer and putting everything back in place once you are finished with it. Have a dedicated pocket binder for every class you are taking, with loose-leaf paper for notes. Use a graduated filing system on your desk for papers and receipts that aren’t class related.


Sara Rowe is a freelance writer published in various publications for teens and preteens


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