How to organize dorm toiletries if you're off to college
HomeHome > Blog > How to organize dorm toiletries if you're off to college

How to organize dorm toiletries if you're off to college

Aug 03, 2023

If you’re wondering how to organize dorm toiletries, then we’ve got you sorted…

Decor Ideas. Project Inspiration. Expert Advice. Delivered to your inbox.

Thank you for signing up to Homes & Gardens. You will receive a verification email shortly.

There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.

Do not let worries about how to organize dorm toiletries stress you out, because packing for college should be a really exciting time. You want to ensure that your bathroom environment has as smooth a system as possible so that you can get ready for class each morning in the most efficient way.

Luckily, there are some key dorm room organizing steps to follow to ensure a seamless experience daily. As such, we've called on the experts to share how best to keep everything – from your skincare and make-up to hair products and bathroom essentials – easily accessible but also neatly tucked away so they don't take up too much space.

They will reveal the best purchases to pack for college move-in day – including the handy item that will help you transport your necessities between your bedroom and bathroom areas, and also the back-of-the-door hero product that you'll soon find you can't live without.

Additionally, you'll discover the dorm room organizing mistakes to avoid when it comes to storing your toiletries, saving you a lot of hassle as you get settled into this exhilarating next stage of your life. Because, above all, when your alarm clock goes off each day you want to feel able to freshen up in a stress-free manner and able to fully embrace the college experience.

A shower caddy will become a must-buy because chances are you'll be sharing a bathroom with several other students and will find yourself having to transport your products backward and forward each time. ‘Dorm bathrooms are not big on space,’ warns Heather Aiello, an expert in home organizing and founder of The Organized You. ‘Perhaps you can only take shower and shave essentials with you into the bathroom, but need to leave all your face products, for instance, in your dorm room.’ For carrying necessary products in between the two spaces, she recommends a shower caddy, available at Target.

Heather Aiello is the founder of home organizing company in the Boston area, The Organized You. She believes in creating solutions that you can live with when she and her team leave your home – her goal is to develop a customized solution for you to maintain now and in the future. She is also a member of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and various Boston area business groups.

If your bathroom is only shared by a limited number of people and you feel comfortable leaving some of your items in there then Raychel Klein, professional organizer, certified KonMari consultant, and founder of Raybaybay Home Organizing recommends a back-of-the-door organizer. ‘They can be great for storage,' she notes.

You can treat yourself to this stylish over-the-door rack from The Container Store or pick up a more affordable door rack at Amazon. She adds that you can also have one from the back of the door in your own door room, to stock toiletries and personal care tools that don’t necessarily need to travel with you to the bathroom, such as hairdryers, brushes, and lotions.

Raychel Klein started her home organization business in 2020 with the mission of helping people escape the vicious cycle of clutter. She is a certified KonMari consultant based in Seattle, Washington.

This is one of the main dorm room organizing rules to abide by. While it might be tempting to stock up on loads of toiletries, it can easily get overwhelming in a compact space. ‘The less you have, the less you have to manage,’ insists Helen Sanderson, a psychotherapist, interior designer, and author of The Secret Life of Clutter, at Amazon.

‘Regularly go through your toiletries and dispose of expired or unused items to keep your storage areas clutter-free.’ If you have products that you only need to use occasionally, then Klein suggests sticking them out of sight in your room. ‘Utilize your underbed storage space with the help of bins or baskets to keep extra toiletries and infrequently used grooming tools,’ she explains.

Divide up your products into different purposes and store them in separate containers, advises Lindsay Viren, an interior design leader for Ikea. ‘Waterproof bins like our RANEN or UPPRAMEN are perfect for storing and carrying certain items to the bathroom – consider using one to keep your shower necessities and another for your sink items,' she suggests.

'Additionally, toiletry bags are a great way to keep make-up and skincare items organized within the bins themselves.’ She notes that you'll be thankful for having a system in place rather than lugging everything backward and forward each time.

As mentioned before, if your bathroom is shared by a limited number of people and you are happy to leave items in there, then a multi-tier rolling cart can be a smart purchase. ‘If space allows, I love using a rolling cart in any and all small spaces,’ explains Dr Julia Raz, a professional organizer and owner of Golden West Organizing.

‘They are so useful for keeping all your toiletries in one place, and it really utilizes vertical space well.' She adds that a few of her favorite options are the 4-Tier Rolling Cart from The Container Store and Yamazaki Slim Tower Rolling Storage Cart, also at The Container Store, and you can add smaller organizing bins to the cart along with the caddy to add more structure.

Since you’re likely sharing a bathroom with many other students, it can be easy for you to all get confused about which items belong to each of you or misplace them somewhere in your dorm room. ‘Don’t forget to label your belongings, not only with the contents of the bins or containers but also with your name,' recommends Klein.

'You don’t accidentally want someone using your care products, and if you leave it somewhere, at least it has a chance of coming back to you. Having an organized system like this for dorm toiletries maximizes the limited space and provides a way to keep track of your belongings – and have no mix-ups with dorm mates.'

There are some key things to consider if you're thinking about dorm room ideas for storage. ‘It is all about maximizing storage in a small space,’ says Viren. ‘Utilize space under the bed to store extra bedding or clothing in bins. Hang wall shelves above your desk with magazine holders to file papers.' She notes that the SKUBB series at IKEA has some really versatile solutions.

Indeed, thinking outside the box is also the advice of Artem Kropovinsky, an interior designer and founder of Arsight. ‘Choose storage boxes and bins that can be stacked to save space,’ he suggests. ‘Go vertical with tall, narrow shelves or over-the-bed storage.’ Similarly, Sanderson suggests buying back-of-the-door storage options for shoes or toiletries, hooks for clothing and drawer dividers to keep things neat and easily accessible.

Given that you're at college to study, you'll also probably want to think about organizing a desk too. 'Consider a portable file organizer for paperwork,' advises Sanderson, of one purchase you'll be glad you made. 'Despite most things being online these days, there are always bits of paper, and this will keep everything in order and contained.'

This is a common dilemma – because you want enough towels so that you never run out, but not too many so that it takes up much-needed storage space in your dorm. Heather Aiello suggests that the perfect solution is three bath towels, two hand towels and four face cloths, which will usually work for one to two weeks before it's laundry time.

Kropovinsky notes that, while you can decorate with neutrals, the towels you opt for can be a nice opportunity for some personalization. ‘Coordinating the towel colors with the dorm room's palette can elevate the aesthetic,’ he explains. Meanwhile, Sanderson adds that you may also need a quick-drying towel for use and one for wash if you do lots of sports and activities.

As the experts have explained, the key is to keep it simple when deciding how to organize your toiletries at college. Less is more when it comes to seamless organization. Consider: what are the bathroom essentials you actually need? And which organizer purchases will ensure they are easy to get your hands on if you need to rush out the door?

Decor Ideas. Project Inspiration. Expert Advice. Delivered to your inbox.

Lauren Clark is a freelance writer and editor with more than eight years of digital and print journalism experience. She covers all aspects of lifestyle, specialising in health and wellness topics, and her work has previously been published in titles such as Women's Health, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Stylist, Woman & Home, Grazia and Dazed.

Gray Benko of Magnolia Network's Happy to Be Home with the Benkos nails the 'dopamine decor' trend with her stylish Schumacher wallpaper

By Sophie EdwardsPublished 29 August 23

Experts explain how to dry waterlogged items fast to protect belongings, prevent mold growth, and recover from water damage faster

By Chiana DicksonPublished 29 August 23