Dorm life is one heady, exciting adventure. Except until you discover your roommate is a slob, communal showers are gross and your mom isn't here to make anyone clean out the refrigerator. Still, you get to make your own decisions about whether your dorm environs are tidy or terrifying. Where do you land on the dorm housekeeping spectrum? Take our quiz and find out.
Clutter can make your dorm terrifying. What's the best remedy?
A simple strategy you can employ to be clutter-free is to get a box. Then, put all that stuff you just don't know what to do with (like biology safety goggles and empty notebooks) inside and store it neatly out of sight.
What's a good strategy for keeping important papers from getting lost?
Discard unimportant papers; file important papers. And don't just put them in a notebook, thinking you'll remember later. File them in a separate folder, used only for important papers, and keep it secure in a desk drawer.
Guys, what's one way to make headway in the college dating game?
Sure, you could bathe in cologne, but we have better advice. Keep your dorm room clean. Trust us, your date doesn't want to come back to your dorm if it smells like dirty socks and rotten pizza.
Why are dorm rooms so difficult to keep de-cluttered?
Your dorm room is probably much smaller than your bedroom at home and it has to serve multiple purposes. This match-up makes your dorm room is a clutter magnet because you've filled it with furniture, books, clothes, and maybe even a mini-fridge and microwave.
Which simple household item can take your dorm from terrifying to tidy?
Plastic cups are your new best friend. Whether you opt to buy red Solo cups or use freebies from your favorite watering hole, wash them out and use them to corral pens, scissors, hair accessories, plastic utensils -- anything that needs to be rounded up, yet kept accessible.
Losing the laundry battle? Try:
As soon as an article becomes dirty, place it in a laundry hamper. Unfortunately, we learned this lesson the hard way after losing a roommate in a pile of laundry for two days. True story.
Which inexpensive, go-anywhere accessory is invaluable to communal bathrooms?
It's a good idea to wear flip-flops into the bathroom and the shower since college bathrooms are steam-filled, warm places where germs and fungus thrive. This is particularly true of the bacteria that cause athlete's foot.
You may not have realized it when you moved into your dorm room, but what common items do you need to carve out space for?
Unlike home, you'll need to trek to and from the bathroom with all your necessary toiletries. Who wants to leave their shampoo in the bathroom for someone else to use? Organize these items in an easy-to-carry caddy (even a child's beach bucket), and carve out some space in your dorm room to store it out of sight.
Who will you be ecstatic to see on a regular basis while living in the dorm?
We're not arguing the appeal of a really hot professor, but the regular appearance of a saint-like crew willing to clean your dorm's communal bathroom will be one of the best things you discover. Get to know the cleaning schedule and coordinate your bathroom use with their exit as often as possible.
What's an evasive maneuver you'll need to learn when sharing a college bathroom with five to 50 other people?
Sometimes bathrooms get stinky. Especially the day after the cafeteria's burrito buffet. To cope, pull the neck of your shirt up over your nose and mouth. It's only a quick fix, but it's amazingly effective. Also, carry a can of odor-eliminating spray and use liberally.
You can't stand how messy your roommate is, even though you've mentioned it to him/her. So you:
So your roommate's a slob. He or she probably has other wonderful qualities. No? Then it's time to talk to your resident adviser (R.A.) If nothing gets resolved, then consider moving to another dorm.
Someone on your floor has used the toilet and then decided not to flush it. You:
Not all surprises are good ones. If some inconsiderate oaf has left an unflushed toilet for your discovery, take action. Write a note and tape a copy inside the door of every stall. Don't be afraid to use plenty of color to illustrate it so it will get noticed. You should also complain to your R.A.
Your dorm room bed is:
Your dorm bed probably doubles as a lounge chair for watching TV, studying or chatting with friends. All this action means you'll need to wash the sheets more often than you realize. Wash them once a week -- or every two weeks -- and you'll relish the fresh feeling.
Which simple dorm room addition can help keep it tidy?
Most dorms come with a trash can, but be sure to bring another. This will help ensure you put trash where it belongs. Or you can use that extra bin for recyclables.
Ladies, which bathroom habit is not only hygienic but good for muscle tone?
It's a good idea to hover-pee, or squat, over a toilet seat instead of sitting on it. First of all, it's difficult to detect pee droplets on the seat. Second, hover-peeing is great for toning thigh muscles. Workout: done.
Which is a helpful mantra for sharing a communal bathroom in college?
"Don't touch anything" is a helpful mantra for dorm life. When you are in the bathroom, using the shower or shaving your legs, try to touch as few surfaces as possible. Don't lean on the bathroom walls, for example. And be sure to wash your hands before you leave.
What kind of "station" can help keep your room tidy?
You probably have all kinds of cords in your dorm room: laptop, cell phone, camera, mp3 player, tablet. Don't let them take over. Establish a charging station to keep everything in check. Even something as simple as twist ties and a power strip can make a charging station.
What is a potentially awesome addition to your dorm room, but doesn't really belong there?
Keep your collections at home. Whether it’s an ironic vinyl record collection or a library full of literary tomes, you just don't have room for them in the dorm.
Which housekeeping trick can keep your dorm room clutter-free?
If you vacuum the carpet (or sweep the floors) once or twice a week, you'll actually be tricking yourself into having a clutter-free room. That's because in order to vacuum, you'll need to pick up items on the floor first.
Why pitch in to clean the communal bathroom once a week?
If you and your hallmates commit to a schedule where you take turns cleaning the bathroom every week, you'll not only have a more hygienic place, but you'll also improve the relationships between the "clean freaks" and the "slobs."
About HowStuffWorks Play
How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!