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5 Ways to Declutter Your Dorm Room

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Summer vacation, here we come! Aka, it’s time for that annual spring cleaning that well, most of us probably don’t even do. Let’s be honest, keeping our dorm room clean can be a real challenge.

From the beginning of the year until now, our rooms have accumulated numbers of unnecessary stuff, like that obnoxious neon shirt you bought for your “80s in Aspen” themed party, or the stash of glitter tattoos you thought you were going to use every time you went out. Ditch the vacuum and duster (for now) because you’re going to need a lot more than that to clean out your desk that probably isn’t even filled with books. Lucky for you, I’ve created a super helpful, five step system to get rid of those unnecessary things and keep your room looking like a Pinterest perfect photo:

1. Throw it Out

This step is probably the most important of the five. In order to efficiently organize your stuff, you have to first get rid of everything you don’t need or want anymore. Start with your closet and pull out clothes you don’t wear anymore and donate them! At the same time, pull out clothes you don’t wear during this current season and store them somewhere else like under your bed or take them home. When decluttering your desk, go drawer by drawer and throw everything out that is useless to your life. Whether it’s receipts, pens with no ink, or maybe even those glitter tattoos – just throw them out. Start thinking like a minimalist and keep only the things that bring value and meaning to your life.

2. Take Advantage of Under the Bed

Below the best place on earth, aka our beds, is super valuable storage space. Take everything out from under your bed and, like my last step, throw unneeded stuff out. Next, start putting stuff back under there, but this time make sure everything is purposely placed. Invest in cheap storage bins and put things like your bath towels, sheets, and cleaning products in one. Use another one solely for food. Make sure each bin is relevant to what’s inside of it – make it cohesive. Another thing I found helpful for under the bed is cube storage bins. You can buy these for cheap at target for no more than five dollars. Put these on the open side of your bed and store underwear, bras, socks, and anything else small so you can fit more things in your closet drawers. These bins come in so many cute designs and colors that at the same time hide everything else under your bed. So even if you’re not an organized person, you can at least look like one!

3. Use Command Hooks

This may seem like a small step into getting your room back in order, but let me tell you – it does wonders! With the jail cell-sized rooms we’re given, we have to learn to take advantage of the walls to get the most floor space possible. Take your shower caddy off the floor and command hook it. Keep losing your charger behind your bed? Command hook it. Always kicking your backpack when you walk into your room? Command hook it. Don’t have room for hats in your closet? Command hook them. The list could go on from jackets, umbrellas, decorations, purses, even for artwork with command strips (my favorite type.) Get creative and get things off the floor!

4. Create as Much Desk Space as Possible

With the limited storage space, we also have very limited surface space. To get the most space out of your desks, the best thing to do is declutter and organize. Your desk is where you’re going to most likely store your books, beauty products, office supplies, hygiene products, and probably some kind of decoration – so it’s important to find a home for everything. Invest in a small 3-drawer storage container for your makeup or hygiene products like tweezers, nail files, Chapstick or face creams. I also bought a small basket for my hair products and another container for my medicine and band-aids. Keep in mind to keep throwing out! Don’t keep something if you haven’t used it all semester. For jewelry, use small command hooks and put necklaces on the wall – it adds for a decoration as well! Have one drawer for books and notebooks, and another drawer for small miscellaneous stuff, but still make sure those random things are going to be used. I used the top small drawer of my desk for office supplies like a stapler and tape. However you want to organize your desk is up to you, but keeping it simple and efficient is the best way to utilize small space.

5. Closet Clean-Out

If you’re anything like me, you brought way too many clothes to college. Odds are you only wear half of them, and odds are again, that you only wear the leggings-and-sweatshirt half of your closet. If that’s the case, it’s time to bring your “fancy” clothes on your next trip home and organize your closet to what you’re regularly wearing every day. Make a drawer for T-shirts, a drawer for leggings and sweats, a drawer for sweatshirts, and another one for undershirts and tank tops. As for hanging things up, hang up all your jackets, sweaters, and a few nice shirts. If you have more than ten nice shirts, take them home – unless you really do wear them a lot. I organized my rack by section. First, there’s the “going out shirts”, then my nicer shirts, then my flannels, my sweaters, my jackets, and finally some nice things for certain occasions like an interview outfit. I brought my shorts and summer tops back home during winter break, and I also made a drawer for my workout clothes so they were all in one section, and did the same with my pajamas. By organizing by section, it’s easier to find your clothes and know where each and every one is. I also bought a bin to store all my shoes. Again, if you’re not using a certain shoe, bring it home! Keep sectioning out your clothes until they all have a home!

There may not be a clean freak in all of us, but we all certainly carry the feeling of satisfaction. Whether it’s the satisfaction of doing a job right, finally throwing something out, or learning how to organize, we all feel a sense of relief when the space we live in is clean. Keeping up with your organizational habits can be difficult, but once you figure out a system, you’re never going to want to be unorganized again. Spring is in the air, so start clearing the clutter!


GIFs via Giphy

I am currently a student at Penn State University studying Advertising with minors in Photography and Global & International Studies. I love to write, tell stories and capture the world in a frame. HerCampus is a fun outlet for me to ultilize my creative energy and enhance my skills!
Allie Maniglia served as the Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at Penn State from 2017-2018. She majored in public relations with minors in international studies and communication arts and sciences. If she's not busy writing away, you can find her planning her next adventure (probably back to the U.K.), feeding an unhealthy addiction to HGTV or watching dog videos on YouTube.