Your Dorm Can be Your Sanctuary

Author: Maggie Cammaroto

Alright I’ll say it. The world is crazy. We all have to-do lists, deadlines, commutes, social lives, social media, and on, and on, and on. When life is this hectic, we need somewhere we can recuperate, our own little sanctuary that feels safe & peaceful. But when living as a student abroad, out of a suitcase, and with roommates, creating sanctuary can be tricky. Well we’re here to tell you it’s not! Here you’ll find some simple ways to turn your dorm into your safe space.

Fill your space with things you love

Marie Kondo, ‘the queen of decluttering’, provides a simple method  for getting rid of half the stuff you own: “keep only the things that spark joy”. This is a good rule of thumb when we’re thinking about which objects we want to see everyday. Look around your room. How does your room make you feel? Objects that light you up when you hold them are very powerful. Place these items in plain sight. Things that don’t quite tickle your fancy but need to be kept can be stored out of sight in drawers or cupboards.

Consider smells

Imagine this: you walk into your friend’s place and you’re instantly hit with a strong odor of leftovers and dirty laundry. Do you feel like you can relax and enjoy your time? You’re probably more focused on not barfing rather than the funny story your friend is sharing.

Smell is actually the strongest human sense. Have you ever gotten a whiff of something that brought you back to your childhood summers? Smells can be strongly evocative of certain places, memories, and feelings.

So what do you want to create with the smell of your room? Essential oils, incense, and candles are all ways to bring in curated scents to your space. Try diffusing peppermint essential oil in the morning and lavender essential oil at night. Or burn your favorite candle as you study. But first be sure to check with your dorm’s safety regulations!

Bless your space

During lockdown in 2020, I performed the Rice Experiment. Essentially, I had three containers of cooked rice sitting in a room for 30 days. Each day, I said to one container of rice, “I hate you!”, and to another, “I love you!”. To the third container, the control rice, I said nothing. Below are the results after 30 days.

As shown, the “Hate Rice” decomposed the most out of the three and the “Love Rice” deteriorated the least. In fact, I could see differences between the containers of rice about 10 days in! This goes to show how powerful our words and intentions truly are.

How are you speaking to your possessions and your space (and yourself, for that matter)? Can we fold our clothes with tender care? Can we make our beds thanking it for a night of rest? Fill your space with the energy you’re seeking.

Keep it clean!

Just as bathing and wearing clean clothes are forms of self-care & self-love, keeping our space tidy is a form of showing love, as well. The way we keep our space reflects the state of our mind – a cluttered room is more conducive to a cluttered mind. This also goes along with number one above; if we enjoy looking at our room, we’ll enjoy being in it!


None of us live in a bubble. Many of you reading this have roommates or flatmates, but that doesn’t mean you can’t feel at home in your sanctuary. The most essential skill here is communication. If you don’t want to chat in the morning or you need help to keep the kitchen tidy, just ask. It’s important to be aware of our needs and know how to ask for them. Setting boundaries is not always easy, but it is necessary. If you want some more help with boundaries, we have a TikTok all about it (@mindhamok).


Did one of these suggestions resonate with you more so than the others? Start there and let it be fun. Over time, creating your own sanctuary everywhere you go will become second-nature.

Our Instagram (@mindhamok) DMs are always open for your questions. Put your mind in a hammock and remember that we are all deserving of a space in which we feel safe enough to relax.

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