Living in an off-campus apartment is awesome. No RAs, no quiet hours, and no paper-thin dorm walls. The only problem with living in an apartment with four girls is that it always seems to get messy faster than you’d think is humanly possible. In order to keep our apartment orderly (or at least orderly enough to live in), here are the five commandments of cleaning. If you want to keep your space tidy, you should probably follow them, too.
1. Make your bed EVERY day.
There’s nothing nicer than coming home at the end of a long day to a freshly made bed. By making your bed in the morning, your room will feel tidier and you’ll be more likely to pick up the other mess that is surely littering your floor (heyyyy dirty clothes from last week, I’m looking at y-o-u). Plus, it just looks nicer and will make you feel calmer as you set off on your day.
2. Do laundry on a schedule.
I admit to breaking this rule pretty often, but I’m trying to get better. Instead of leaving heaps of laundry in your hamper until it becomes absolutely necessary to do laundry (AKA no clean underwear), make a point of doing your wash once a week. Strip your sheets (seriously. Every week.), separate whites from darks, and use a massive scoop of lovely-smelling detergent. You’ll feel better immediately.
3. Clean your dishes as you use them.
If you’re lucky enough to have a dishwasher, this one doesn’t totally apply to you. Just make sure that you’re loading your dishwasher as soon as dishes are used, or else they’ll pile up in the sink more quickly than you thought possible. If you don’t have a dishwasher, then this task becomes way more burdensome and way more necessary to do immediately after dinner. Wash your dishes right after you eat, or else you’ll never do it. Trust me.
Here’s the best way to wash in a sink, courtesy of Refinery29:
“First, remove anything sharp. Then, fill the sink full of hot water with a bit of dish soap. While the dishes are submerged, try to sidle the dishes over to one side, leaving space on the other side of the sink. Then, wash the dishes with a sponge under the water and move them over to the clean side one by one. Once you’re done with that, drain the entire sink, and rinse each dish one-by-one. This will save you the messy process of trying to rinse the dishes as you go, which can waste a lot of water and end up with improperly rinsed dishes that may not have had enough time to soak.”
4. Do a hard clean once a week.
Now that you’re making your bed every day, it’s likely that you’re also vacuuming every other day and wiping off your counters at night before you go to bed. While that’s great, you still need to do what I like to call a “hard clean” every week. This includes dusting, cleaning the bathroom, scrubbing the floors (or Swiffering, if that’s even a word), vacuuming, tidying, and 409-ing EVERYTHING. If you get your roommates to do it with you, the whole process takes no more than 20 minutes. Pump some jams, make it fun, and cleaning will suddenly become a task that doesn’t (totally) suck.
5. Clean out the fridge!!
Nothing—literally nothing—is more disgusting than leaving old, nasty food to fester in the fridge. Expired milk is one thing (get that ish OUT), but leftovers should be tossed after two days. Lunch meat lasts two weeks after it has been opened. Chicken should only be left in the fridge for 48 hours (after that, toss it in the freezer until you need it). Basically, just make a point of going through your fridge and tossing stuff that, honestly, isn’t going to be eaten. I hate wasting food as much as the next girl, but sometimes you gotta throw it away.
It’s basically impossible to live a completely clean existence as a college student (especially if you live in the Mods), but following these simple commandments will make your life infinitely easier and cleaner. Trust me.