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Easy Ways to Keep Your Dorm Room Clean: Top 10 ways to make sure your room isn’t a hot mess throughout the year

College offers a ton of new and exciting opportunities – new friends, fun classes, clubs, activities, parties and mixers. Before you know it, your schedule is jam-packed and by the time you actually make it back to your dorm room, you can barely find your bed through the mess. Before it gets out of control, follow these ten easy steps to keeping your dorm room clean as a whistle from the get-go.

1. Create a cleaning schedule. You’ll more than likely be living with at least one other girl. You should both get together and create a cleaning schedule at the start of the semester. If you get used to cleaning your room together on a particular day, you’ll get into the swing of it and you won’t even think twice. Sophomore Elon student Betsy Tremblay said that she and her roommate cleaned every Sunday and it was very useful. “After a while, it just became part of our routine,” she said. A cleaning schedule will be particularly useful if you have to clean your own bathroom as well. If you live in a suite, you and your suitemates can take turns cleaning the bathroom. Create a rotating cleaning schedule so it’s fair.

2. Chip in and buy a vacuum. If you livein a hall with a ton of other girls, get everyone to pitch in a few bucks and buy a vacuum (if your dorm doesn’t provide you with one already—ask your RA!). That way, you can all share it and it won’t put a huge dent in your wallet. No use in having a vacuum in every room when you can all just share one. You can pick up a pretty cheap and decent vacuum at Target for under $40. If you don’t know your hall mates, Boston University sophomore Mariah Fosnight has a suggestion: “Bring a mini vacuum so you will be the go-to person on your floor, and make lots of friends.”   Make sure to vacuum once a week on the day you already selected as your cleaning day!  And change the bag in your vacuum every two months or so!

3. You have a closet- so use it. It’s Saturday night, you just finished a film project and you have ten minutes to prepare for the biggest party of the year. The party was a big hit, and when you get home it looks like a tornado hit your room, with ten different going-out tops that you rejected sprawled across your bed. This is guaranteed to happen every once in a while. But if you don’t want to lose sight of your bed, then you should make it a habit of putting your clothes away. Make an effort to put your clothes away as you wear them; hanging a shirt back up or shoving it back in a drawer will take only a few seconds longer than throwing it on your bed, and will save you cleaning time later.

4. Strategically place your trashcan and clothes hamper in your room. An easy way to keep your room trash-free and your dirty clothes separated from the clean ones is to place your trashcan and your hamper in convenient locations. This may seem like common sense, but it makes all the difference. Keep your trashcan by your desk. That way you’re more likely to put all your trash where it belongs. Sophomore Ohio University student Chloe Hoeg found that keeping her hamper in a convenient location made all the difference between a clean and dirty room. “Keep an easily-accessible laundry basket to pitch in dirty clothes so they’re not scattered all over the floor,” Chloe said. Keeping your hamper next to or in your closet will make you more likely to toss dirty clothes in it when you change. This will make it simple to keep your place looking clean. And it will earn you some major points with your roommate, too!
5. Invest in a duster. Dust accumulates faster than you’d think, so it pays off to invest in a feather duster.  If dusting just isn’t your thing, then Chloe has a more modern solution to your possible dust problem. “Keep Lysol wipes in your room to wipe down a microwave, or a makeup splattered dresser, anything,” she suggests. The time when you’ll most need a duster or some Lysol wipes is when you come back from a break. Everything in your room will somehow have gathered a nice film of dust, and if you have the right supplies, you’ll be glad you do! 
6. Don’t be a pack rat. There are some things you just do not need as much as you think you do. Your Freshman Orientation workbook? Toss it. The box that your new hot pink pumps came in? Don’t need it. The group exercise schedule from the gym? You can get it online. The more stuff you have, the harder it will be to keep your room clean. So ditch the clutter and only hang on to the important stuff. Your dorm room is probably a lot smaller than your room at home, and you’re sharing it with another person, too. Keep the clutter to a minimum and you’ll be good to go.
7. Give your bed a boost. Raising your bed will make it feel more luxurious, and it will also give you a ton of extra room for storage. You can fit entire bins of clothes, bags and shoes under there. The space under your bed is ideal for storage because it’s a pretty large area and it’s out of sight. You can buy bed risers  to give your bed just a little boost, providing you with newfound secret storage space! And if you loft your bed high enough, you can even fit a dresser, a refrigerator, a microwave or your desk under your bed. It all depends on how comfortable you are being far from the ground, and the size of your dorm room.
8. Buy some bins. You may not think you want industrial-sized Tupperware containers that you yourself could fit into, but you’ll be needing them. For storage. For your boots. For your winter clothes. To hide all of your shot glasses and empty wine bottles during Parents Weekend. So buy a few. You’ll be glad you did. Bed, Bath and Beyond stores sell a ton of different storage bins in different shapes, sizes and colors. These bins can be stored under your newly-lofted bed, in your closet or in your bathroom if you live in a suite.

9. Make your bed every day. Mom won’t be there to nag you about making your bed, which may cause you to truly enjoy not having to do so. But making your bed every day is a great habit to build. It makes your room look instantly cleaner and therefore more inviting. Plus, it’s more likely a boy will want to climb in and cuddle with you if the bed is made rather than if it looks like a mess. Think about it: wouldn’t you be a little turned-off by his unmade bed?  When you get back from using the bathroom each morning, make your bed before you do anything else, like get dressed or open up your computer. Before long, it will become a habit and you won’t even think twice about completing this small and helpful task.

10. When in doubt- Febreze it! Or plug it in, plug it in. Let’s face it- you won’t always have time to clean your room. You might have to go a little longer without washing your sheets than you’d like, but sometimes you just gotta do it. So if you just don’t have time to clean, then spray some Febreze around your room. It will hold you over until you have the time to really clean your room. Pick up a bottle of Febreeze now to bring to school with you- it comes in fun flavors like Vanilla, Brazilian Carnaval and Thai Dragon Fruit so you will be excited to spray it! Most schools won’t allow matches or candles in a dorm room. But a Glade plug-in will solve that problem. They’re under $10 and you can pick just about any scent you want- from Hawaiian Breeze to Apple Cinnamon. And you can avoid being “that girl who set off the fire alarm at 2 AM in the middle of a snow storm.”

Gabriela Szewcow is a freshman Print and Online Journalism major at Elon University in North Carolina. She is originally from Pittsburgh, PA. She is the Design Chief of Elon University’s award-winning newspaper, The Pendulum. She is also a designer for Elon’s yearbook and has a weekly radio show. She is a Spanish minor and hopes to study abroad in Spain sometime during her next three years at Elon. Some of her favorite things include York Peppermint Patties, Jane Austen novels, anything involving Hello Kitty and The Morning Benders. She hopes to someday be a page designer for a newspaper or magazine.
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