You couldn’t wait to get out on your own and into your first apartment. It’s all yours–or, at least, you and your roommates’. You love having your own space and your own rules. That means that you can clean when you want to, too.
Well, except for one thing. A bit of apartment living advice? Even if you’re living alone, if you never take the time to clean up, it’s eventually going to get kind of scary in there. Your toilet will start to grow mold (and the longer you wait to take care of it, the harder it will be to scrub). Your bathtub will develop a ring that just won’t go away. And the laundry situation? That can become terrifying in the blink of an eye.
Eventually, no matter how dedicated you’re to ignoring the mess, you’ll discover that it’s easier to take care of cleaning tasks over time. This is especially true if you live with roommates, many of whom expect the dishes to be washed. When it comes to cleaning, you have two choices: you can save it all for a weekend day and try to do it all at once or you can construct a cleaning schedule that will allow you to do a little bit of cleaning in around fifteen to twenty minutes each day that will keep your apartment looking, if not spectacular, at least clean enough that you won’t be embarrassed by surprise guests. Sold on the cleaning schedule idea? Try these tips:
Acknowledge the chores that have to be done daily. Your kitchen counters need to be wiped down, if not after each meal, at least once a day. Dishes shouldn’t sit in the sink overnight. While it’s tempting to put them off until you don’t have any choice but to get them done, that leads to bugs–and that’s a problem you don’t want to have to deal with. These are just a few of the daily chores that you should be aware of.
Assign each room a day. In a small apartment, you probably don’t have a lot of rooms. Your bedroom, bathroom, living area and kitchen are probably all the space that you have to worry about. Each day, go through and accomplish the basic cleaning tasks for that room. This site has some great printable cleaning schedule ideas that you can check out for what tasks can be assigned to each day.
Divide chores between roommates. This is something that should be done as soon as you move in together to help avoid fights later. Take the time to divide up the tasks that you each need to do. While you can choose an arbitrary method of division (drawing chores out of a hat, for example), it might be worth discussing them ahead of time. For example, you might find that your roommate absolutely hates doing dishes, but doesn’t mind taking the trash out, whereas you hate taking the trash out, but find doing dishes oddly therapeutic.
Don’t forget the “occasional” chores. There are some chores that don’t have to be done on a weekly basis. However, they still need to occur regularly. For example, changing light bulbs, checking batteries in smoke detectors and scrubbing the grout in your shower don’t have to take place every week, but they do need to be a regular part of your cleaning schedule. Pick a specific time–the first week of the month, the first Saturday, etc–and make sure that you accomplish those tasks on those days each time.
Who knew your mom was right about how hard it’s to keep a place looking clean all the time when you actually have to live in it. How do you keep up with the cleaning in your college apartment? Do you have a schedule that works for you? Tell us about them in the comment section below.