Keeping Your Dorm Clean
By Sam, age 19, Massachusetts
Sweet Designs Staff Intern
Moving into a new dorm room can be stressful. You're moving stuff around, de-lofting and re-lofting your bed, hanging up posters, and trying to use up every little amount of space possible. But now it's October and everything's finally in the right place. But the room is beginning to lose that "new room smell". Some easy room cleaning maintenance, however, can easily remedy this slight problem.
As we've come to terms with, going to college means having more responsibility. Our mommies and daddies aren't there anymore to drive us to school when we're late to class or help us figure out #6 on our chemistry homework, or, more importantly, clean up after us. Yes, that's right, when we go off to college we're expected to be (gasp!) neat.
Like many teenagers, I have spent many years perfecting the art of letting my bedroom fall into ruin. I never made my bed. I had clothes and books and things I don't even remember owning thrown across the floor, and an overflowing of who-knows-what tumbling out of my closet. And I realized, very quickly, that I could not have this happen in college. First of all, it wasn't just my room anymore, as I was living with someone else for a year. So, my mess was my roommate's mess too. And there's nothing worse than being labeled the "slob" roomie. No one will want to room with you again!
Some basic cleaning supplies every college student needs are dishwashing soap, a dishrag, laundry detergent, Clorox wipes, and some kind of stain remover. These things can be stored easily in a closest or a container, so they are accessible at a moment's notice.
Two of the first things you can do to be cleanly in college are to know where things are in the dorm and when trash and recycling days happen. In one of your first meetings with the RA, ask if the floor/suite has a vacuum and how frequently the bathrooms are cleaned. Knowing some simple facts like these are very important, so even though cleaning may feel like going to war with your room, at least you'll know where your allies can be found.
Repetition is the best way to keep organized. Once you use something, put it back where you store it. This way, your items won't accumulate in various areas around your room, you'll be able to find your things easily, and you'll get into the habit of being tidy without trying. This works especially well with dishes. After you've finished using a plate or fork, take them to a sink and wash them. Don't let them sit on your desk or by a window with crumbs of food left on them. One of my friends had to throw away three of her plates last year because she didn't clean them for a month and mold grew on them.
However, if repetition is something you just can't seem to master, try setting aside a time during the week to focus on cleaning your room. An hour a week of twiddling around your room looking for things you can put away or throw out is an excellent way to keep your mess under control before is contaminates the rest of the dorm.