These Dorm Hacks Will Save Your Life

I remember move-in day like it was yesterday -- that’s a testament to how fast my first year at UC Davis has gone by. Walking into a sterile and plain dorm room on September 24th was so whimsical, and I could not fathom that this tiny room would be home to three people for the next nine months. But home it became, and as I’m nearing the end of my time in the dorms, I decided to share some of my dorm hacks that, in my opinion, will make your dorm experience so much better!

Putting up photos

This is my go-to for spicing up the wall space. I cannot stress this enough. Instead of waking up to a massive, blank, and cream-colored wall, wake up and see the smiling faces of the people you love. Photos of your pets, family, significant other, best friends, and drawings from little cousins give tiny dorm rooms a big home feeling.

Make. Your. Bed.

I was the type of person to never make my bed growing up, but that changed overnight when I came to college. There will be so many people walking into your room to say hello, and naturally, they will sit on your bed. If your bed isn’t made, all the germs and dirt from their clothes will soil your clean sheets. Plus, it just makes your room look bigger. Having an unmade bed makes the room feel congested because of the cluttered vibe.

Get a mattress topper AND a mattress pad

I’ll break it down for you: a mattress pad goes directly over the mattress the college (typically) provides and a mattress topper is the layer of thick cushion that goes on top of the mattress pad. My mattress pad is hypoallergenic and has a half inch layer of mattress pad as well. Some mattress pads can get really expensive depending on the material (Tempur-Pedic can get pricey) and the thickness, so stock up on coupons all summer or kindly ask your loved ones for versatile gift cards for your graduation gift!

Brita water filter

Like most college-goers who turn to infinite Pinterest feeds for dorm room advice, I bought a Brita water filter pitcher. It was featured on every single article or list I could find so I thought I had to have one. My advice to you is to not buy a Brita water filter pitcher until after you have moved in, or, at least until you have toured the exact dorm building you are staying in. I say this because with sustainability efforts in place, many colleges have installed filtered water dispensers inside dorm buildings or in nearby classrooms and lecture halls. It just so happens that my housing building has one on my floor. Save yourself $35 and wait to see if you actually need one before you shell out the cash.  

Multiple laundry hampers

I’ve never seen this last one on Pinterest or any other college advice article, but I advise you to purchase two laundry hampers: a sturdy canvas one for dirty laundry and a collapsible one for clean laundry. Most dorm buildings do not have laundry rooms on your floor, so you need something to transport your clean things back to your room. It does not make sense to place your freshly washed clothing back in the soiled hamper it just came from. Over the course of the school year, bacteria, dust, and dirt can build up in your dirty hamper. Save yourself (and your clothes, towels, and linens) and purchase a collapsible laundry hamper that can be easily stored in small spaces. Skip the fancy ones from large home goods stores and get one from the Dollar Store.

I hope these few hacks make dorm living a little easier for you! Living on campus is so convenient, so make the best of it. Those first few weeks of school, leave your door open and mingle with the people on your floor! Dorm living is an experience that you probably won’t get again in your life.