Why a Messy Dorm Room is Bad For Your Brain

Ever tried cleaning up a messy dorm room and realize you’ve been growing a science experiment in an old cereal bowl? *Shudders* Well, if that experience happens often, it’s actually pretty bad for your health. We’ve all dealt with a messy dorm room or apartment at some point. However, if we let those messes go on for too long, it can have an effect on our anxiety levels, sleeping patterns, and study habits.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

In this article, we’ll explain why clutter is actually, scientifically bad for you. After that, we’ll give you our best tips on how to clean your dorm room and keep it clean. So grab that scrub brush and brace yourself, because we’re going in!


What Clutter Does to Your Brain and Body

Piles of clothing and wadded-up class notes scattered around your dorm may seem harmless enough, but research shows that disorganization has a significant effect on our well-being. Here’s the thing, our brains actually like order. When things are out of order, it affects our ability to focus. Here are some other things a messy dorm room affects:

Your Clutter Has a Huge Impact on Your Sleep

Sleep is SO important – especially when you’re a new college student. People who don’t get enough sleep have a hard time focusing and tend to struggle with irritability. It’s a fact that clutter has an effect on your sleep. People who sleep in cluttered rooms are more likely to have sleep problems, including difficulty falling asleep and easily waking up during the night.

Your Messy Dorm Room Affects Your Grades

In a 2011 study, neuroscience researchers using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and other physiological measurements found cleaning messes from the home and work environment resulted in a better ability to focus and process information, as well as increased productivity. In short, your grades will get better if you declutter your space.

messy dorm room

Your Messy Dorm Room Affects Your Brain

Clutter also has a measurable effect on our mental health. Clutter can make us feel stressed, anxious, and depressed. A research paper in 2009 found that the levels of the stress hormone cortisol were higher in those whose home environment was cluttered. That shows that clutter stresses your body out, even if you know it or not!

Your Messy Dorm Room Affects Your Body

When you have too much cortisol, there are many negative physical effects, too. One of the more immediate side effects of that stress hormone is rapid weight gain. Not only that but there is also a link between clutter and poor eating choices. People with extremely cluttered homes are 77% more likely to be overweight and twice as likely to snack unnecessarily.

Interested in more research? Check out our paper titled, College Storage Study, in which we mapped how and why college students like you use storage. 

How to Clean a Dorm Room

Now that we’ve let you in on just how bad a messy dorm room is for you, it’s time to consider how to clean a dorm room. There’s no shame in having a messy space every once in a while. You just need to be able to know how to clean it when it does get a little out-of-hand. Here’s how to tackle your cleaning plan:

Talk to Your Roommate

First things first, if you’re rooming with someone, get them in on the cleaning. Messy dorm rooms get even messier when you’re sharing them with a roommate. If both of you don’t stay on top of the grime and clutter – it can get out of control. Before you know it, you’re using a hazmat suit to do the laundry. So, show them this article and let them in on just how important it is to tag-team the chores.

messy dorm room

Create a Chore Wheel

While talking to your roommate, make sure you’re on the same page about cleaning duties. Sit down to come up with an agreement on a regular cleaning schedule. It may seem unnecessary now but getting your declutter duties straight will prevent tension down the road. Making a chore wheel is a great way to prevent a messy dorm room.

Get a Storage Unit

One of the easiest ways to clean your dorm room is to get rid of everything you don’t need or use every day. Less stuff = less clutter. Which also means a happier you and a happier roommate. To declutter but still keep the items you love, call us! SecurCare Self Storage has storage units that are clean and have 24/7 video recording for security. Plus, you can rent a 5×5 storage unit on a college student budget! After you’ve removed everything you don’t need – it’s time to clean up that messy dorm room.


How to Clean Your Dorm Room Checklist

Now that you’ve got a game plan with your clutter and roommate, it’s time to actually get down to that cleaning business. Here is a checklist to keep your and your roommate on schedule for keeping your dorm or college apartment clean.

how to clean a dorm room

Daily Dorm Room Cleaning Tasks:

  • Make your bed and fluff your pillows
  • Tidy up any out of place objects (i.e. clothing, trash, books etc)
  • Take your dishes down to the kitchen and clean them
  • Disinfect your laptop, phone and doorknobs

Weekly Dorm Room Cleaning Tasks:

  • Wipe down and disinfect all heavily-used surfaces
  • Sweep and/or vaccum heavily used areas of the floor.
  • Wash all dirty laundry and put it away when you’re finished
  • Clean old food out of your mini fridge.
  • Take out the trash and clean out the trash can.
  • If you have a bathroom: wipe down toilets, counters and shower.

Monthly Dorm Room Cleaning Tasks:

  • Wipe down and disinfect all surfaces including floorboards
  • Dust, mop and sweep the entire floor (be sure to move your furniture).
  • Clean off windows and mirrors
  • Wipe down any appliances (inside and out).
  • Organize your desk by throwing uneeded notes / class work

Don’t let clutter ruin the semester. Clean your physical and mental space by following these tips. If you need help with your extra items, call SecurCare Self Storage (that’s us!) to start your journey into an organized life. Best of luck, college kid – you’ve got this!


Check out more tips for college students on the blog:

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