How to Divide College Space

It’s that time again… we’re all heading back to school. It’s time to pack the car, buy your books, and make your way to campus. Once you get there you are flushed with a set of hellos, (and then one of goodbyes) and are left to decide how to organize and make sense of the pile of stuff sitting in the middle of the room.

For some, you not only have to figure out how to maneuver around bags and bags of clothes in one little room, but also learn how to share and utilize space with another person. It gets tough—a little bit of space for one person is hard enough, throw in another body (and car full of stuff) and you have to start getting creative.

So how do you do it?

My older brother once had a roommate who quite literally tried the whole “tape down the middle of the room” thing. It was, well, uncomfortable for him to say the least. What if the fridge is on one side, or worse the door? Splitting everything in half—straight down the middle—might not be the wisest, or easiest route to space utilization in your dorm.

It’s important to take note of communal space versus what’s already spoken for.

Set common ground rules and make everything a little smoother for you and your roommate, or roommates.

Dorm Room:

Straight down the middle might not work, but have clear boundaries of your space. Your beds, desks, closets or drawers are “roommate’s stuff” clutter free zones. Be considerate with your dirty socks and last night’s pizza box—don’t throw your shoes on their bed or your empty take out dishes on your roommate’s desk. That’s just not nice. For gray areas—like the middle of the room, couches, side tables, or windowsills, use common sense. If your mom wouldn’t like it lying out—for no rhyme or reason, then you probably shouldn’t leave it there. Chances are, your roommate won’t like it either. Don’t keep clutter on the floor, or stuff out just for the sake of it. If you have books you want to keep on the table, or something you want to keep on the window, just remember to picture your roommate doing the same and see if you would let it fly—if not, pack it in and put it somewhere else. Hey, that’s why the invented under the bed drawers, and closet shelves!


If you share a bathroom with the whole hall—be weary. You are sharing a communal space. You aren’t the only one who uses the stalls, sinks and showers. Think of having 20 siblings, maybe more. You owe it to them, as they do to you, to pick up after yourself and not make an obvious and obnoxious mess. Don’t leave hair in the shower, or toothpaste in the sink. Try not to get water everywhere and don’t just drop your trash. Think of how you would want your bathroom at home to look—it may not match 100% but you and your floor mates should strive to get as close as college cleanliness will allow.

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