Looking for advice on how to make the magic happen? Are you tired of your messy and dirty room? Maybe you have just moved in and you’re taking the initiative to learn about the ways to keep your room squeaky clean. No matter where you are in the dorm lifecycle — newbie or veteran — we have some tips that will help make your room tidy and clean.

10 Tips on How to Keep Your Dorm Room Clean & Tidy

Related: Dorm Room Study Tips

Let’s take a look at some tips that will turn your dorm room into an oasis of cleanliness.

1. Create a cleaning schedule

Create a Cleaning Schedule - Dorm Room Cleaning Tips

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

College students can be a spontaneous bunch. But there are two things that students aren’t usually spontaneous about — studying and cleaning. Your room will never be tidy if you only clean up when “you’re free” because, let’s be honest, nobody is ever free to do the cleaning. Chances are you have other fun things to do during your free time.

So plan ahead. Create some kind of cleaning schedule. The best time to plan the cleaning schedule is at the beginning of the semester after your class schedule is fixed.

Identify your allies. Recruit your roommates if you have any. Discuss with your roommates and see how they feel about sharing the tasks and responsibilities. Split the weekly chores evenly or alternate the person on-duty for weekly cleaning. To avoid conflicts, you should all agree on a solution that works for all of you. Set specific tasks and assign them among yourselves. Create a visual board to make it easier to see who’s doing what and when.

Unfortunately, a good, cooperative roommate is hard to come by. If your roommate isn’t exactly big on keeping things neat, you would simply have to focus on your own space.

Make this a fun activity. Use stickers or take pictures during the cleaning process (before and after photos). Give yourself a little reward at the end of the cleaning session. For example, watch some Youtube videos or enjoy your favorite snack.

2. Focus on small repetitive tasks

It’s easier to keep a room clean if you do it every day. Instead of taking the whole Saturday to clean up the mess from the entire week, you might feel less stressed if you do it daily for 15 minutes. You will feel encouraged to keep the room clean knowing you only have to dust the furniture today and do laundry tomorrow.

Small tasks are also easier to plan for. You can squeeze in a little cleaning work no matter how your class schedule looks like. The other advantage of cleaning daily is the sense of accomplishment it provides.

3. Dust

Dust is the accumulation of fine particles from dirt, dead cells, fabric, etc. To remove dust, use a rag and some mild soap to wipe off the surfaces in your room. For example, your bed frame, containers, chair, and desk. You can also use a feather duster, vacuum, or some wet wipes. Some wet wipes have antibacterial properties so they are ideal for objects or surfaces that you frequently touch, such as your mouse, closet handles, and desktop. However, wet wipes aren’t eco- and cost-friendly, so use them when you have to.

4. Vacuum the floor

Depending on how quickly your room gets dirty, you might have to vacuum your room every few days or every week. Before vacuuming, remove items that are in the way. For example, that laundry basket and your school bag will have to go elsewhere. Another approach if you have the floor space is to just move things around as you vacuum.

5. Clean the bathroom

On-campus dorms don’t usually mandate students to clean the bathroom. However for rare cases, here are some quick tips.

First of all, you’ll need gloves. Gloves help protect your hands from harmful chemicals. Next, you’ll need a scrub brush, a toilet bowl cleaner, a toilet brush, and multi-surface cleaning spray. Of course, you might not need to purchase these items if they are provided. If you have to clean the bathroom yourself, the silver lining is that chances are you’re on rotation with a few other students.

Here are some ideas to help keep your dorm room tidy and organized.

Dorm Room Organization Tips and Tricks

6. Make your bed

Making your bed makes your room looks more pleasant. It is also a psychological hack that makes you feel more accomplished — which snowballs into a productive day.

Even if you don’t get anything else done that particular day, coming back to your room and finding a tidy bed is an irreplaceable feeling of comfort. One that will make everything feel better.

Making your bed is the perfect start to a tidy room. Covering your bed sheets means your sheets are protected against dust. Having said that, if you tend to sweat when you sleep, you might want to leave your bed sheets uncovered to let it dry.

7. Organize your desk

Some people thrive with a messy desk. Unfortunately, some students think they do but they don’t. A messy desk may help when you’re trying to get creative, but the mess is definitely a distraction when you’re trying to stay focus. And studying is one of those activities that require you to focus.

First off, keep only what is essential on your desktop. Ideally, when you’re trying to focus, everything non-essential should be out of sight. The proverb out of sight, out of mind is true. Your mind is less likely to get distracted by things that you don’t see.

Keep in mind to disinfect the desk because your hands will constantly touch this surface. So it’s important to maintain its cleanliness.

8. Find a home for everything

A home is where an item remains when it’s not being used. For example, the home for your stapler could be in the top drawer of your desk. Every time you’re done using an item, make the effort to put the item back to its home. A homeless item is destined to become part of the mess because there’s simply nowhere to keep it. Designating a home for everything also makes your life so much easier when you need to find something.

9. Storage: containers, drawers, organizers

Dorm Room Storage - Dorm Organization Tips

The typical dorm room only provides the bare necessities. You usually get a bed, a smallish closet, a desk with 1-3 drawers, and a chair. So as much as you’d like to designate a home for all your stuff, there’s simply not enough organized storage space for your items to call home. To overcome this problem, you need to set aside a $50-$200 budget to buy some organizers, containers, and furniture. Here’s what we recommend.


A cheap and perfect way to put that space under the bed to full use. Plastic containers with lids are the way to go. Containers made of other materials work too but they are usually more expensive and don’t always come with a cover. You probably need 2-3 containers to start things off. You can always buy more if you have more stuff to keep. Plastic containers are the ideal storage solution for past-semester class notes, art supplies, shower supplies, letters from your ex, etc. Another advantage of the plastic container is that it’s stackable and extremely friendly to move around — a feat you’ll find useful when it’s time to move out from the dorm.

Trolley / Drawers with Wheels

As mentioned in one of the previous tips, it’s important to keep your desktop uncluttered. For things that you don’t often use, you can store them in the desk drawers. However, for things that you need to access somewhat frequently, opening and closing the drawers can get old fast, for you and your roommates. This is where the trolley shines. While the trolley doesn’t provide great protection against dust (because it’s open), you can put your stuff in it and push it out of your sight when you’re studying at the desk. Some ideas for the things to put on the trolley’s top tier are: complementary notes, calculator, stationery, mug, and phone. Trolleys are also a great way to keep your skincare products.

The trolley’s open-air design is a double-edged sword. You get easy access to the items you store, but you get some amount of dust on them. For closed storage solution, consider drawers on wheels and multi-tiered plastic containers.


Drawers and closet space can become a huge mess themselves. To make these spaces more effective, get yourself some organizers. For organizing your drawers, you can either go for store-bought options or DIY. As for the closet, if it’s a continuous space inside the closet with no drawers, you can stack some plastic containers (or drawers) inside. Another little gadget that will compartmentalize your dorm closet is the hanging shelf. In exchange for a small horizontal space, you gain valuable organized vertical spaces for scarves, socks, underwear, tampons, etc.

10. Do the dishes as soon as possible

This tip is dedicated to dorm dwellers who have access to a full or partial kitchen (lucky you!). A pileup is the worst thing you see when you enter the kitchen. Doing the dishes shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. It wouldn’t take 5 minutes if you’re washing them right after you use them. And you can listen to your favorite music or podcast while doing this. Your near-future self will thank you for being so considerate to her.

Further Reading & Videos

A Dozen Tips for Super Organized Dorm Room – Apartment Therapy

For many people, living in the dorm is one of the first steps into adulthood. You’re the one who sets the rules, the one who has to enforce them, and most importantly, stick to them even when you don’t feel like it. Like many things in life, consistency is crucial in keeping a space clean. Get used to a cleaning routine and you’ll soon discover that being organized is not at all difficult.

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