“This dorm room is sparkling clean”, said no one ever. We all know that it’s practically impossible to get a dorm room to stay clean for more than 25 minutes. Mom and Dad are no longer around to do your laundry when you’ve gone to class or vacuum your carpet. Your TV and computer monitor WILL start getting layers of dust and germs, and staring at it won’t beam it away with your laser vision. Those dust bunnies will start collecting under your bed and trust me, these aren’t the cute cuddly kind. No, these dust bunnies are the kind that swallow every fiber of dust, germ and hair you happen to shed throughout your stay to make up one disgusting ball of filth. Your room is going to get messy if you don’t clean it. If you hate cleaning, your roommate will most likely hate you.
Since you’re sharing your residence hall with someone else, the first step to a clean room is to share the responsibilities. If you’re as clean as can be and your roommate is leaving banana peels under their bunk, your room is still going to reek. It will be helpful to sit down with your roommate and come up with a schedule of who cleans the room on what days and when. Make a little pot of funds to go out and buy the necessities such as cleaning products and garbage bags. The “it’s your turn, I bought it last time” routine will quickly get old, and the cleaning won’t get done.
For the dust, germs and food splatters, meet your friend Mr. Clean and invest in some Clorox cleaning wipes. These are handy and can be kept next to your TV or on your desk for convenient use. A simple wipe of the top of your microwave or scrubbing of old food and goo left over from your munchies session during your late night studying will now be fast and easy. You’ll have no excuse for not cleaning, because these wipes really just make it that quick and simple.
As far as your carpets go, make sure you have a smaller sized vacuum that you can run at least once a week. Between makeup powder, food crumbs, and whatever else you may drop on the floor, it will all add up, fast. Waking up in the morning for early lecture is bad enough, but stepping out of your bed and picking up crumbs on the bottom of your foot like a lint roller is unsettling. If your dorm doesn’t allow you to have a plug in vacuum, get a rechargeable mini-vac and run it over the areas where your microwave or mini fridge is. This will keep the crummage down and will prevent any bugs or ants from getting into your food.
Talk to your roommate about dorm room “chores”. I’m sure everyone knows how dirty laundry starts to smell after a few days. Leaving it all over the floor is even worse, as it’s walked all over and flattened into the carpet. The clutter everywhere will just make your room feel smaller, and hot. Make sure you have a talk with your roommate about laundry, food, trash and “where everything goes”. Assigning a place for every object in your dorm at the beginning of the semester will set precedence for where they should end up after use. Alternate turns taking the trash out and cleaning the room. Or, set up a day where you’re both free every week to clean up together. This will make your roomie feel like you aren’t just pushing off all the responsibilities on them and gives you a little time to bond. If you and your roommate don’t exactly “mesh” well, set the times for when the other is in class. Having them come home to a clean dorm will lower tension and spark up a little mutual respect between the two of you so living is tolerable.
If you find out that your roommate is just disgusting and won’t lift a finger, try to have a talk to them about how much it bothers you. If they still don’t do anything, talk to an RA or adviser who can maybe help you switch rooms. Most the time, you will be advised to try and tough it out for the remainder of the school year unless there is an immediate need for one of you to switch rooms. You can always show your roommate how it feels to be equally as filthy by neglecting to do your chores and leaving your stuff everywhere, but if you’re a germ freak like me that would quickly drive you loco. Let your roommate know that if they are not going to help keep the room clean, that you won’t be allowing them to use the trashcan or trash bag that your money so nicely provided. The bottled waters you so conveniently had stocked in your mini fridge for those hot days are now off limits, and anything of yours is untouchable. Cutting them off from your things may just be the push they need to start helping out. If they are that unorganized and dirty, chances are they aren’t too good about going grocery shopping or buying their necessities. This means that they more than likely rely on you for at least some things they use on a daily basis. Cutting them off and having them go to class three days in a row without tasting a drop of toothpaste will be enough to get their butt in gear, fast.