Quick and effective ways to keep an apartment or dorm clean


The Daily Illini File Photo

An organized dorm room in Van Doren Hall.

By Emma Palatnik, Staff writer

Keeping a clean apartment seems daunting at times, but I am here to offer you some quick and easy ways to stay on top of it.

Make your bed every day. This is a task that my mom nagged me to do every single day when I was younger. I really thought she was being annoying, but she was right. A made bed makes a room look much cleaner than an unmade one. Plus, it’s a task that takes 30 seconds tops.

Do the dishes right after eating off of them. My roommates and I originally planned to put dishes in the sink and wash them at the end of the day. That did not turn out well, as one of us was always washing someone else’s dishes. We decided to wash our own right after using them, and that has worked much better. It takes less than a minute to wash a few dishes versus 20 minutes at the end of the day.

Take out the trash as soon as it’s full. I am a very lazy person but I hate when my room smells. Trash is gross, so I always make sure there is a liner in the bin. I use plastic shopping bags for small trash bins and garbage bags for larger ones.

I take out the trash maybe once or twice a week, and it takes me a total of 5 minutes, but it keeps my apartment from smelling. This is especially important in the kitchen, where leftover food is thrown out and quickly starts to stink. Be careful not to let the trash get so full that the bag breaks. Making two trips is easier than cleaning up a mess of garbage that has broken on the floor.

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Pick the same day and time to do laundry every week. When I wait until the basket is full, I have to do three loads at once. That doesn’t always work because in my building, there are 12 washing machines for 16 floors. Sunday nights are the worst time to do laundry. I made that mistake once, and I spent two hours guarding the machines so I could get my laundry done as soon as possible.

I find that the laundry rooms aren’t busy in the mornings, so I do my laundry before or in between classes. Doing laundry on a regular cycle also helps to guarantee that you won’t be stuck when the shirt you want to wear is lost in the bottom of the hamper.

Wash your laundry on cold. I hate separating lights, whites and darks (sorry Mom!), so I wash on cold and I don’t have to worry about that. I dry my clothes on medium because they will shrink if I dry them on hot. I also try to fold my laundry right away. I’m not going to lie – that doesn’t always happen, but I try. When I do this, my clothes aren’t as wrinkly and it helps me find what I want to wear.

Clean different parts of your apartment daily. I tried cleaning everything on Sundays but honestly, that is not fun. It’s better if I clean the kitchen on Mondays, living room on Tuesdays, etc. It makes my cleaning go faster and I feel more accomplished.

Invest in a Swiffer mop and vacuum. My mom forced me to get these, but I have to admit they have been very handy. The vacuums that my building offers for check out are gross. The Swiffer products aren’t too expensive and they allow me to clean up my mess right away. I tend to drop Goldfish everywhere and it drives my roommates crazy, so the vacuum keeps peace in our apartment and gets rid of my trail of orange crumbs.

Always clean up after yourself. When I’m finished studying, I put my books and notes away. When I get the mail, I sort it right away: what to keep and what to throw out. My apartment is a shared space and it feels and looks better when it’s clean.

I really don’t like cleaning, but I’ve found that tidying up in small amounts and often keeps it quick and easy.

Emma is a freshman in Media.

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