Spring cleaning: Making your room livable
February 19, 2018
The pains of a small room are well-known: cramped closets, cluttered desks and junk scattered across the floor. The demands of last winter’s finals may have left your room neglected, but it’s not too late to clean up. With spring on its way, here are a few tips to create a clean and enjoyable living space.
1. Store, donate, trash
From unworn clothing to Quad Day junk, unnecessary items can accumulate to take over every spare drawer and counter in sight. To begin the decluttering process, gather together everything that doesn’t deserve space in your room and split it into two piles: “keep,” which is no longer useful but worth holding onto, and “discard,” which is stuff your life would be better without.
Store the “keep” pile in the back of your closet, out of sight. To clear out even more space, take it home over spring break. For the “discard” items you deem worthy of a new owner, either donate them to the Dump & Run bins that will be around in April or find a buyer on the “Free & For Sale at UIUC” Facebook group. Both ensure the item has another chance to live on.
With all else taken care of, throw out the junk. All of it, even that ID holder you swear you’ll actually use one day. The bare minimum of utility the junk provides is not worth the mental or physical space it takes up in your life, and your organization will improve from the omission.
2. Roll up clothing
It may undo the little you know about laundry, but folding clothes in their traditional squared form is far from the most effective fashion storage. Instead, try rolling your clothes into neat cylinders of fabric; it saves substantial dresser space and discourages wrinkles and fold lines. To roll shirts, fold in the sleeves and roll it like a yoga mat from the bottom up; for pants, fold one leg over the other before rolling from the cuffs to the waistline.
3. Store sweaty clothing separately
Post-workout clothes smell, and they can stink up your room if not handled appropriately. Instead of apologizing to your roommate while cracking a window, prevent the problem at the source by storing the sweaty clothes in separate, closed containers. You can use a small hamper with a lid, a garbage bag with drawstrings or even a series of tied-shut plastic bags. Not only will it make your room breathable, but separating out athletic wear will allow for a more aggressive wash to properly clean them for the next workout.
4. Raise your bed
For dorm dwellers, high-lofting the bed is a great way to obtain more valuable floor space. A simple maintenance request creates a new area under the mattress that allows for lounge chairs, a TV setup or simply additional storage. The space also looks great with decoration like string lights and posters to give a personalized sense of comfort. This comfortable space can provide a place outside of your bed to unwind and to forget the stresses of your day.
5. Isolate food
Keeping food strewn about is the best way to make a room feel messy, creating a bad look and worse smells. To fight this edible chaos, start by storing food in a single spot: Keep an organized refrigerator and restrict all other food items to a single box or drawer. To maintain this order, throw out the scraps and clean the plates immediately after eating. For food that easily rots — banana peels and old pizza come to mind — only dispose in tied-up bags or closed trash bins to enjoy a room free of fruit flies.
Zack is sophomore in Engineering.