As we all know, the fall semester is rapidly coming to a close, and college students all around the country are preparing to bid their tiny dorm rooms goodbye for a few weeks to spend time with their family over the holiday season. In the rush and excitement, you may not give your dorm a second thought, but if you don’t want to come back to an unpleasant mess at the first of the year, you might want to pay attention to these tips.
1. Take care of foodstuffs. Might seem like a no-brainer, right? Well, you’d be surprised. You should either throw out, eat, or take with you anything that could perish over the long break. And if you leave anything behind, like cookies, chips, etc., make sure they’re sealed up nice and tight, otherwise they’ll be hopelessly stale when you come back. If you have a mini fridge, it’s a good idea to remove anything you have in it and defrost it (many colleges require you to do so anyway). All you have to do is unplug it and leave it open for a while, until it’s good and dry, so it won’t mildew while you’re gone.
2. Don’t leave dirty clothes lying around. We all know that un-laundered clothing has a unique…odor. And not a pleasant one at that. If you leave your dirty socks and underwear lying around all during break (or any time, really), guess what your room is going to smell like when you get back. Hint: it’s not flowers or any other scent found in nature. If you don’t want to be dealing with an extremely unpleasant odor when you return, either do your laundry before you leave, or take it home and do it there like the rest of the college students.
3. Pack up your valuables. It’s an extremely slim chance that anything bad will happen to your stuff over break, but if someone were to break in, it would be especially devastating to lose anything valuable. Take the things with you that you can, just to be on the safe side. Many police and law enforcement organizations suggest writing down serial numbers and/or taking pictures of the larger things that you can’t easily pack up, such as televisions or stereo systems.
4. Pick up excess items on the floor. Again, this is another worst case scenario, but if a pipe were to freeze or burst, it’s a good idea to have all excess things off the floor to minimize any hypothetical flood damage. You probably don’t really need to worry about these things, but it’s always good to have a plan in case the unthinkable happens.
5. Clean! Pick a day, talk to your roommates, make a chore chart, do whatever it takes in order to get everyone to clean up their spaces. It’s much nicer to come back to a clean, organized dorm, than one that looks like it was struck by a small hurricane. And if you’re one of those people who maybe haven’t cleaned their dorm room all semester, what better time to finally do so than at the end of it? This includes emptying all wastebaskets (remember what I said earlier about dirty laundry? The same applies to garbage, if not more so), and wiping down the shower and sinks so no mildew can grow while you’re gone.
6. Unplug all electronic devices. Many universities will require you to do this before you leave for break, but either way, it’s a good idea. Leaving things like televisions, stereos, lamps, clocks, etc. plugged in for three plus weeks wastes a lot of electricity, and can also become a fire hazard if left unchecked. Another unlikely situation, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
7. Close and lock all windows and doors. You should make sure that your windows are closed and locked, so that they don’t let in any unwanted weather or creatures, but also to discourage any would be thieves. And of course, don’t forget to lock your door behind you, and you’ll be good to go. You’re now free to enjoy your break without having to worry about your dorm room!