College life isn’t always conducive to cleaning. Whether you’re living in a dorm, apartment or house, it’s hard to keep up with things like laundry and dusting when your schedule is jam-packed with classes, extracurriculars and a bustling social life. Many students put household chores at the bottom of their to-do lists for this reason. A tidy home is aesthetically pleasing, but that’s not the only reason you should make cleaning a priority. Clean, clutter-free rooms are also less distracting, which makes studying easier. Plus, maintaining a clean space can ease stress and anxiety. Even the act of cleaning can boost your mood. Clearly, there are a lot of great reasons to tidy up.
The excitement of a new school year can provide the boost you need to keep your space clean in the first few weeks of classes. But as that motivation wears off and you settle into the semester, you might find empty pizza boxes and dirty laundry piling up more and more. Before you find yourself buried in clutter, try these college life power-ups!
1. Stay on Top of Your Laundry
Laundry starts piling up fast. If you don’t tend to it quickly, it doesn’t take long for it to become overwhelming — especially if you need to use communal laundry facilities. Decide on a day to wash all of your dirty clothes, towels and sheets and stick to the schedule. You can even use laundry detergent sheets (more on that next!) to make the process easier. Developing this routine means you won’t have overflowing hampers. Instead, you’ll have a closet or dresser full of fresh clothes along with clean sheets and towels for the week.
So, what are laundry detergent sheets? They’re a simple, environmentally friendly alternative to traditional liquid and powdered detergent. These eco-friendly laundry products are completely dry and dissolve almost instantly in cold or hot water. They are also completely plastic-free. They are packed in biodegradable packaging, and you only need half of a sheet for regular loads. Plus, each package is lightweight and compact, so they’re much easier to store and carry to the laundry room than huge plastic bottles or boxes of powdered detergent. In other words, switching to these sheets makes staying on top of your laundry easier and lessens your environmental impact.
2. Keep All of the Essentials on Hand
It’s hard to maintain a clean space when you don’t have any cleaning products. Whether you’re a freshman living away from home for the first time or have been in school for a few years and still don’t know how to keep things clean, purchasing the right cleaning products ensures you’ll have what you need to get the job done. Keep these essentials on hand:
- Small vacuum
- Disinfectant wipes
- Air freshener
- Multi-purpose spray cleaner
- Hard floor cleaner (Swiffer has several options.)
- Toilet bowl cleaner
- Glass cleaner
- Toilet brush
If you share your home with pets, keeping an enzyme cleaner on hand is smart, as well. We also recommend stocking up on reusable paper towels. They’re better for the environment than disposable ones and they’re more enjoyable to use since they don’t fall apart.
When shopping for supplies, choose the ones that interest you most. You’re more likely to use that vacuum cleaner if it’s your favorite color and spray cleaners are more fun to use when they smell good. There are a lot of cute cleaning supplies that can make chore day a lot less boring.
3. Wash Your Dishes Daily
Whether they’re from takeout or a home-cooked meal, dirty dishes are gross. No one particularly enjoys washing them, but the longer you wait, the more difficult dishes become to clean. Plus, leaving food-encrusted plates, bowls and glasses piled up in the sink or on the counter is unsanitary and serves as an invitation for insects like ants and fruit flies. It’s a habit that could irritate your roommate (if you have one), too. And much like laundry, dirty dishes pile up quickly. Washing them regularly prevents them from becoming an overwhelming chore.
Do your dishes every day — ideally, immediately after finishing a meal. If you can’t wash them after every meal, at least give them a good rinse instead of leaving them caked in food until later. Put them away as soon as they’re clean and dry so your dishrack isn’t completely full the next time you need to do dishes.
Deal with empty takeout containers promptly, too. There’s no reason to have empty pizza boxes and soda cans scattered throughout your apartment. You should also clear random takeout containers out of your fridge regularly.
4. Make Cleaning Fun
Cleaning may never be your favorite activity, but it doesn’t have to be miserable. Instead of dreading your daily and weekly chores, make them fun! Listening to music, an audiobook or a podcast is one of the easiest ways to make the experience more enjoyable. When you’re focused on listening to something you enjoy, you’re less likely to think about how much you dislike cleaning. You could also turn your chores into a cleaning routine, invite friends over to help or keep you company, make cleaning a game or catch up on phone calls while you work.
5. Treat Yourself When You Finish
Knowing you have something to look forward to after a day of cleaning makes it a lot easier to get things done. Treat yourself to something from your Amazon wishlist, enjoy a drink with friends, order takeout from your favorite restaurant or just relax as a reward for tidying up.
College life is hectic, and cleaning is probably one of the last things on your mind. Making it a priority is important, though, as doing so prevents messes from getting out of control. Cleaning also offers mental health benefits and can help you stay on top of your studies. Try the suggestions above to level up your cleaning routine!