Ah, college: the best time of your life, the mark of youth, your intellectual growth spurt, and the time of uncleanliness and horrible roommates.
Whether you’re a parent of an incoming freshman, or you’re in college yourself, the lesson of cleaning up after yourself in college is always a lesson that is always needed. You may think that your kid is clean (I know you’ve lived with them for 18 years and think you know them well) but the minute they’re out of your jurisdiction, the dishes will stack and the mold will grow. If you don’t believe me, just ask their RA or their roommate.
So if you’re sending your kid off to college or you’re helping them move out of their dorm in the next couple of weeks, here are some key things to suggest so they can learn how to clean in college: (By the way, I recommend printing this blog and taping it onto their micro-fridge for the next school year.)
• Talk to your roommate before you even move anything in. I cannot stress this enough. To create a pleasant living environment in college, you need to know exactly what type of cleaner your roommate is. I know it may be hard, but be up front and honest about your cleaning, sleeping, and eating habits, and don’t be afraid to tell them what annoys you. If your roommate is really busy and doesn’t have time to deep clean in the upcoming semester, or if they’re just not a neat freak, make an arrangement that will work for both of you.
• Set up zones. Be as clean or as messy as you want in your bedroom (without being gross or unhealthy) but remember to respect the common areas such as the living room, kitchen, and bathrooms, if they’re shared.
• Have all the right supplies. I know funds are definitely limited in college, but it’s pretty imperative that you at least have some microfiber cloths, general cleaner, bathroom cleaner, and a small vacuum. If you live in an apartment and have the full set-up, then you’re going to need a much more extensive set of cleaning supplies, which should also include a mop, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, and laundry soap.
• Don’t let the dishes stack up. When you live in the dorms this is less of a problem, but apartment living can easily yield a lot of dirty dishes, especially when you have multiple roommates. This stack of dishes can grow mold, smell horrible, and stress you out.
• Keep your papers organized. There’s nothing worse than hearing “Well you should’ve known this. It was on the syllabus,” because you lost your syllabus at the beginning of the semester. Keep track of all your papers at least until the end of the semester just in case you need them. Keeping them organized will also make your desk and your room look neater.
• Make your bed everyday. I know that this might seem a little obvious, but your dorm mate will especially appreciate the neat and tidy look of a made bed, especially when they’re having study sessions/ hanging out with friends.
• Hire a professional. If you live in an apartment or a very lenient university housing program, consider hiring a professional cleaning company to fix that stain on your carpet or just to tidy up around finals when you’ll really need it.
Do you have any tips for keeping your dorm or apartment clean in college? I would love to hear about your ideas in the comment section below!