5 Ways to Stay Organized, Tidy, and Happy in a College Dorm

College dorm rooms across the U.S. average about 228 square feet in size. Add a roommate to the equation and a student’s personal living space decreases down to 114 square feet.

As a parent, providing your child with tips and tools to keep their dorm rooms clean and organized will go a long way. With a little guidance, your child can maximize their space and feel comfortable and right at home while they’re away at school.

Here are five ways to help your child stay organized—and happy—in a college dorm: 

Create Organization Kits for Everyday Tasks

Living in a small dorm space means coming up with smart ways to store everyday items. TheSpruce.com recommends putting together kits, which can be buckets or plastic storage containers, for studying, laundry, cleaning, and personal hygiene. For example, a laundry kit can include Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Detergent Packs, dryer sheets, paper towels, and quarters for the washing machine.  A cleaning kit can include sponges, Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid or Seventh Generation All-Purpose Natural Cleaner.

Do a Wardrobe Overhaul Before Leaving for College

If dorm rooms are small, then dorm closets are downright tiny. While there are plenty of organizing hacks for closet space, another option is for your child to take only what they need to college. Ask your child to go through their closet at home and not pack any piece of clothing they haven’t worn in a year.  If it’s too overwhelming to go through their closet all at once, suggest that they sort things they don’t need by collection, such as sweaters, sweatshirts, socks, dresses, shoes, jeans.  If there are items they’re unsure about parting with, your child can always set it aside and decide later when they’re back home during Thanksgiving break.

Remember the Comforts of Home

Aside from all of the necessities your child will need—from bedding and towels to a mini-fridge and computer—little reminders of home help your child feel reassured and comforted during this new chapter. Make sure your child has some family photographs, favorite books, or a beloved stuffed animal to help ease the transition of living away from home.

Consider the Needs of Your Roommate

Living with a roommate is one of the foundations of college life. Your child’s relationship with their roommate can get off to a smooth start by the two of them communicating early on about study habits and sleep needs. As dorm rooms are small spaces, it’s also important to keep in mind a roommate’s allergies and sensitivities. Those that have skin and scent sensitives can suffer in a communal environment, so it’s important to have tried-and-trusted products available for laundry and cleaning, like Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Detergent or Seventh Generation Free & Clean Hand Soap.

The close living quarters of a dorm room can also highlight the need to clean and disinfect hard surfaces like desks, door knobs, and communial sinks. Products like Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes kills 99.99% of germs* botanically (*Kills over 99.99% of household germs, specifically: Influenza A virus, H1N1, Rhinovirus type 37, Methicilin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.)

Keep it Clean

Clutter can make a small space look and feel messy. A few stray papers, open dresser drawers, or a pile of dirty laundry will make any dorm room feel untidy. To keep a dorm room clean, your child should spend time each week organizing papers, managing laundry, dusting, and taking out the trash.  Vacuuming any rugs or carpeting and opening windows to circulate fresh air will spruce up their dorm room up in no time.

What tips & advice do you have for parents sending their children off to college? Let us know in the Generation Good forum