3 Dorm Disasters to Avoid for Peaceful Roommate Cohabitation

By Danni White on February 1, 2018

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Between classes, work, fraternity/sorority meetings, sports, and your social life, a good number of important things might simply fall to the side or completely be erased from the calendar. The craziness of college life might interfere with way more than just your physical health and sleep schedule. In fact, your personal organization and the cleanliness (or lack thereof) of your dorm room could be some indicators (to your parents, at least) that your life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

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Pretty much every dorm room horror story imaginable can be googled at your convenience. Most of it revolves around messes that without a doubt could have been avoided or at the very least, handled much better than they were. Others involve food, dishes, and trash. While still others involve common courtesy and decency that is necessary when living and studying with at least one other soul in close quarters. Maybe you have a dorm disaster story of your own that you could pull from the recesses of your mind.

While you rummage through to find the best one, here are some tips on avoiding dorm disasters and keeping your college life on track and organized:


It is never a good idea to let yourself go. You don’t have to put on a fashion-forward look or look like a model every time you show up to class, but simple personal hygiene such as taking a shower, washing your hair, brushing your teeth, combing your hair, wearing clean clothes, and washing dirty clothes can go a million miles in the right direction when living with roommates. Unless you regularly inhabit living quarters in the outside world, it is likely you have access to all the things you need to make this type of personal care and hygiene possible.

Beyond this, it is important to clean up behind yourself when living in close quarters with other people. For example, flushing the toilet, not leaving toothpaste residue in the sink, not leaving the bathroom floor wet, and putting your face and bath towels in their proper place are all parts of having good personal hygiene. This goes a long way for you as a human being and for the other human beings whom you are living with.

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It is very tempting and very easy to throw all of your belongings wherever you feel the most convenient regardless of whose space it is or whether things are in the right place or not. However, to put it very simply, this is not as good of an idea as you may think. If you are living with just one other person, you may want to consider dividing up the spaces by bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen, and closet space so each person is assigned a specific location for all of their things.

Besides, that agree to keep common living areas clean and free of personal clutter. For example, it is fine to study in the living room, but when you get ready to go to bed or leave the next morning for school, be sure to pick up all of your books, coffee cups, and dinner bowls. If you have leftovers from the night before, be sure to eat them the next day to avoid piling the refrigerator with old food that eventually will spoil. It is a common courtesy for your roommate and your conscience. Not keeping common living spaces clean can become a health hazard for you and the other party. Doing the dishes and picking up trash are two points that if done regularly can be helpful to keep your living spaces tidy.


It is very easy and very tempting to throw all your clothes on the floor in the closet and shut the door or let them pile up at the foot of your bed when rushing to and from every activity your young college self can handle. But, just as with the previous point, this is not as good of an idea as you might think. Allotting one day a week to washing all of your clothes can save you weeks of illness that arises from wearing dirty clothes. How many pieces of clothing do you wear each week again? Choosing a day each week becomes even easier for you if you have to do outside of your dorm room to wash clothes. Clean clothes not only smells good, but it also looks good and makes you feel better about yourself.

If you aren’t the one responsible for the messy dorm, then you may want to consider having a discussion with your roommate. Talk with them and envision what you want your dorm room to look like. Be mindful that you are two or three different people, and not everyone will share the same ideas about organization and cleanliness. Begin by establishing a premise of understanding and respect and discuss openly what is important to all of you. Then, agree on what is going to be done and establish rules to ensure everything is done decently and in order.

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Danni White is a developmental psychology graduate student at Liberty University. She works in the digital publishing, media, and technology industries. After this degree, she will go on to work on a PhD in social psychology in which she hopes to do research on perception and social cognition’s impact on human behavior. She hopes to apply this research in corporate HR departments and community-based organizations. In her otherwise limited spare time, she blogs, writes and reads. She loves coffee, sports, music, cooking, meeting new people, and binge watching Netflix.

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