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Organizing a girls dorm room

If boy's dorm rooms get messy, girls dorm rooms get absolutely disgusting. You'd think the opposite was true, but girls bring tons more to college, and without proper organization, things can get out of control quickly.

Last year, I thought I did a good job of organizing my daughters room without taking over... and it was a mess within a month.  In fact, she asked me to come out twice and help her clean it.  This year she asked me to just organize the entire thing for her so that hopefully it will stay that way.

Here are some of the tips and tricks we used to get the job done.


Closets:  Since she had a two person room to herself, we took advantage of the extra closet and made a full fledged pantry.  (Sorry the photos are so dark).  The food closet features a wooden 2 cube shelf unit with a plastic drawer unit on top (these were from last year).  Next to that we added wire cubes to hold more food and pots and pans to be used down the  hall. On the door is a small canvas shoe holder.  We put utensils and small items there.  We ended up adding 3m strips to keep it from curling under the weight as you can see in the photo.

The clothes closet also has a door organizer, for accessories.  it holds bracelets, earrings, hair accessories, belts, suspenders and more.  It is great to have all those things hanging in one place.    There is also a deep shoe organizer (she had a twirling one that took up too much space last year, so I traded it with the one on my closet.  It is holding some shoes right now, but it will very likely be used mostly for sweaters as the year wears on.  This style works great for deep closets:  Whitmor 6082-2664 Natural Linen Soft Storage Hanging Shoe Shelves.  We were careful to not overfill the closet with clothes so it would never overflow, and we placed two bins on the floor... one for dirty clothes, and one for clean clothes, and she seldom puts away all her clothes!

The outside of the doors feature a rack to hang the most often used jackets and and umbrellas. We may very well get a second one for the next closet door, but for now, one of the wall hangings made from drama club t-shirts hangs there.  You can see the rest on the wall above and over the bathroom an sink, and the rest displayed on the dresser.  On the dresser, we also used an old makeup case to store all first aid and medicines.  The sink in the corner has all shampoos, conditioners, and toiletries stored in it in baskets, and cleaning supplies under the sink on the floor.  Behind the bathroom door (in the bathroom at the supplies she needs in there).  We used one similar to this
White Over the Door Multi Use Baskets with Hooks Kitchen Bathroom Organization, but you have to be careful buying them because many are not made for over the door, but instead over the shower.  Pay attention to the size and thickness of the hooks.

We gave her a couple feet clearance to use the sink and then placed her makeup.  You can see a Sterilite 3-Drawer Medium Cart, Set of 2 and a train case on top.  (We prefer the case without the wheels that are included) ...No all of that is not makeup, but items she will need when doing makeup. Sponges, nails supplies, hair supplies, etch.  Next to that is the fridge which really should be in the pantry closet.. if there was a plug anywhere in the vicinity.  But now she can grab a drink or turn on her teapot without getting up!  
Next we have the bed(s) and room divider which is purely sentimental and decorative, although we have decided to put a few hooks on the top to hang her purses... (you can see one purse hanging on the edge now). The trunk at the foot of the bed holds all her shoes. This is also a sentimental, unnecessary, and heavy item, but at least it serves a purpose. The night stand needs a lamp, but mainly it is the docking station where all plugs for electronics live.  Laptop, iPhone, iPod (she reads a lot and needed extra storage), and etc are plugged in here as she uses them all on the bed. 

Finally we have the desk, which is a weird 2 sided contraction (so we are especially glad she doesn't have to share it. The space where the 2nd person would sit is backed to the side of the spare dresser.  That back side of the desk and spare dresser contain art supplies and craft items, and costumes (theatre student).  If it were not for that extra dresser, we would have had to purchase a couple wide Drawer carts or a shelving unit to hold it.  The dresser holds her TV and the desk hold's her monitor that comes in handy when writing papers and researching.  
I left the desk top for her to organize in a way that was intuitive for her, and also the area over the bed is not decorated so she could personalize it with posters and such. Clearly this set up is rare and unique.  It is hard to get a double room to yourself (and we didn't know if it would happen until last minute, so we didn't bring a lot of stuff).  Also, as a theatre and art student, more makeup and art supplies  and costumes are required than the typical student needs. 

But, she did share a room last year and we were able to get all of these items crammed in one side of a freshman room with the help of the drawer carts and a raised bed with dressers underneath (as is typical in freshman dorms).  The biggest problem was in keeping the foods and makeup items in one place, so all I can say is more rolling carts... they really do help a lot, as do the hanging organizer pockets which can go over doors and even hang on walls.  

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