Organizing and cleaning tips for apartment living

You’ve gained access to your new apartment keys, claimed your bedroom and posted on all your social media platforms about this monumental milestone. After relishing in the idea that you’ll be living with your friends and have complete freedom in your first apartment, the excitement begins to fade once you realize that this means mom won’t be doing your laundry or washing your dishes, and that a meal plan might be far away as your own kitchen comes into view.

No matter how stressful life becomes or how high your workload piles up, you’ll still have to be the one to throw your trash away and clean the living room. But by following a few organization and cleaning tips, apartment living can stop being a headache and instead become the fun and memorable year you always envisioned.


1. Assign whom will bring what appliances. To prevent overlap and overcrowding, you and your roommates should decide who brings which items to the apartment, such as silverware, pans or the coffee pot. One easy way to figure this out is to create a Google Doc among roommates that each person can fill out. 

2. Have everyone choose a shelf for his or her food. With everyone buying groceries at various times, it can get confusing whose food is whose. One system you can implement is for every roommate to have his or her own shelf or cabinet in the kitchen for food. For other items in the fridge, freezer or any other shared area, everyone can have a different colored sticker for their food to distinguish who owns what. 

3. Remember to clean the fridge. By cleaning the fridge every few weeks, you’ll get rid of bacteria and any forgotten rotten food. Also, knowing what food you have and do not have will help when going grocery shopping in the future. 


1. Use bed risers. If you need more room for storage, using bed risers is one way to solve the issue. In the extra space, you can store items such as shoes, clothes or books. 

2. Bring home your suitcase, but keep a duffle bag. Suitcases can take up a lot of space in your room. After moving everything into your apartment, bring home your suitcase and just keep a duffle bag for weekend or holiday trips away.

3. Only bring seasonal clothes. Just bring fall clothes if you need to save space and are planning on going home during holiday breaks. During freshman and sophomore year, I ended up bringing back my winter clothes after Thanksgiving break.

Living room

1. Use a whiteboard or bulletin board. Last year, my roommates and I put up a whiteboard in the living room. We would often write down important or funny messages on it. Having a whiteboard is a good way to leave each other notes or reminders, such as wishing someone a happy birthday or letting them know you’re going to the grocery store later that day.

2. Dust and vacuum frequently. Forgetting to clean the living room is a sure way for things to get messy, disorganized and unlivable. By cleaning the apartment once a week, you’ll prevent items from getting piled up, lost and discarded.

3. Have a designated basket for mail. Last year, my roommates and I just had one mail key to share among us. We had a basket where we’d put everything that came in the mail, such as bills or packages, so everyone knew where to look if the mailbox was already emptied.


1. Have a caddie full of cleaning supplies. Mustering up the motivation to clean the bathroom will be easier when all of the supplies are gathered in one place. In the bucket, you should include rubber gloves, rags, glass cleaner and disinfecting wipes, to name a few items.

2. Have your own spot for toiletries. If you’re sharing a bathroom with a roommate, have a spot, such as a shelf, to put items such as your toothbrush, contact solution and face wash. This will make items easier to find when you can barely open your eyes in the morning as you get ready for your 8 a.m. class.

3. Use removable adhesive hooks or over-the-door hangers. These can be used to hang extra towels if you don’t have enough hooks already installed in the bathroom. 

Alison is a junior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]