Not-Quite-Spring Cleaning

For the UAS Whalesong

The end of every semester is brutal, and I would argue that the end of fall semester is more so than the end of the spring one. At least at the end of the spring semester, you’re just getting ready to launch yourself into summer, a fairly laid-back time of year. Fall semester, on the other hand, bounces you off a springboard of stressing over homework, class, and other adult college student responsibilities, and into stressing over holiday travel plans, what to buy your friends and   family, and exactly how many Starbucks holiday beverages you can consume before the people in your life who love you stage an intervention. It’s also the time of year when we gotta clean our college residence halls and apartments in preparation for moving out over winter break, which is not something any of us like to think about. Well, maybe some of you do – I used to live with a girl who loved cleaning and bought herself a vacuum cleaner for Christmas. I’m proud to report that this attitude wasn’t contagious and I still hate cleaning as much as I always have. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that it needs to be done, and we might as well start now while we finish up finals and wait with baited breath for test results. I thought I’d pass on some of my advice regarding the tidying process, so you can get a head start on your roommates – and maybe borrow their Christmas-present vacuum cleaners before they leave for the winter.

I always like to start the cleaning process by making my bed. I too have read the articles about how keeping your bed tousled and unmade is actually bad for it and whatnot; however, I find that it improves the overall aesthetic of your room if you clean it. It also gives you a place to put your clean laundry before you put it away, which is convenient since my second suggestion was going to be catching up with your laundry. You don’t have to go into intense detail about it, to the point where you throw out old or unwanted clothing – that’s certainly a recommended part of the process, but it’s nothing mandatory. Simply getting all your clothes off the floor and into the closet and dresser drawers will do.

Organizing old books and papers is helpful as well! If you haven’t touched a textbook since the beginning of the semester, you can probably put it away or neatly stack it aside to be sold. And I can personally confirm that no, there’s absolutely no need for you to hold onto every math test you take. Your parents are impressed just hearing about them if you did well (you don’t need to bring them home for show and tell), and you won’t use them for studying off of or attaching to any future resumes. (I put a lot of weight on the future importance of my math tests, as a freshman.) Go ahead and try to get rid of as much paper as you possibly can now; it will save you the effort of having to move it come summer break. Trust me, you want to move as little paper as possible. Paper is heavy.

Before they leave, now is also a good time to hash out common area cleaning responsibilities with your roommates. You don’t want to be left to do all the cleaning last-minute and have to explain that your roommate ditched you to the housing representative doing your checkout. Especially for apartment-dwellers, I find it’s useful to try and find a time when all of you are home and can meet even for just five minutes to hash out responsibilities. If you’re in a typical apartment setup, there are four of you, making for a division of four basic areas to clean: bathroom, kitchen, living/dining room, front hall/storage closet. If everyone takes care of their bedroom and one of these areas before leaving for winter break, that means that the last person out (responsible for keeping the rest of the place tidy in everyone else’s absence) has less to worry about and re-clean before it comes time for their checkout. And remember, it’s important to do your part in order to     maintain continued harmony with your roommates; after all, you’re not actually moving out for another 5 months or so. Don’t be that guy who said he’d clean the bathroom and then just… didn’t. Nobody likes that guy.

Last, but not least, try not to stress about your packing too much! If you have some extra stuff and your family is okay with you doing so, go ahead and bring it home to store it; if you’re not worried about it, don’t worry about it and just bring what you need in order to comfortably enjoy your winter break. After all, if you really end up needing to drop something off, you can always swing by home during spring break and drop it off then. Unless you live way far away, like in Milwaukee or somewhere. Then you might want to worry about it a little bit. Sorry.

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