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Scoop Sorority: Tips for Living Away from Home

We all leave home at some point. Whether it’s because of college or just because you need your own place. With college, you’re usually living in a dorm-setting which means you learn how to live with other people who aren’t family. Despite this, you should know how to clean your new home.  

Though school definitely doesn’t cover home-care in the curriculum.

However, my school happens to be apartment-style instead of dorms. This means, I’ve had the experience of living with roommates but in a fully furnished living space. And one that I have to make sure is spick and span at all times and especially when I move out. Until this summer, I always had housemates to share the cleaning responsibilities with. Although, to be honest, sometimes it felt like I was the only one bothering to clean.

But, even if you are the only one taking care of the space you’re living in (and yourself), a good thing to note is: at least you won’t be depending on someone else to take care of you.

Whether you’re living with roommates or not, or living on a campus or not, having a home that you’re responsible for can be daunting. But, it can also be fun.

Now, I’m definitely no expert on living away from parental figures. But, I have compiled a list of necessary household items to have that I’ve determined from my experience.

Must Have Items

You’ll definitely need some of the items on this list. You should consider having a laundry bag (especially one with wheels), storage drawers/bins, and a drying rack for dishes (in case there isn’t a dishwasher). You might also want to look into lamps or other lighting sources. Some places just aren’t well lit or furnished with overhead lighting. Also, if you like decorating, bring a few things to make your space feel like home. 

Home

Cleaning supplies are an absolute must have. It should be a lot easier to get your hands on these products as well. There are many places to find these items. I will be honest; I don’t have every last item on this list. But, you don’t need everything on the list. It would be good to do your own research (based on the space you’re living in) to figure out how much you’ll actually need and be able to afford.

Kitchen

  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Oven cleaner
  • Stainless steel cleaner (if you have stainless steel appliances)
  • Scrubbing sponges (buy a multipack!)
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Warm water mixed with a basic dishwashing soap (for stone countertops)
  • Baking soda

If you have marble, quartz, or granite in your kitchen, make sure you clean with only mild dish detergent and warm water; otherwise, you will break down the stone’s sealant over time. Clean your stainless steel sink by rubbing in baking soda with a sponge, then covering it with a little white vinegar. After the foam has dissipated, rinse clean and dry. I’ve also heard that putting two halves of a lemon down the garbage disposal will help keep it smelling fresh.

Bathroom

Home

  • Toilet brush
  • Grout and tile cleaner
  • Grout brush
  • All-purpose cleaner

Bathrooms probably become the grossest the fastest. At least, in terms of how visible the grime can get. A dedicated toilet brush is a must for controlling the spread of germs and keeping your toilet clean. All-purpose cleaners can be used on sinks and other hard surfaces. If you can’t get everything on this list, the most important thing to have is the all-purpose cleaner and some way to clean the toilet bowl.

Bedroom/Living Room

  • Glass cleaner
  • Lint roller
  • Extendable duster

Use glass cleaner on the windows in your living areas and bedrooms (and on the other windows in your house). Using newspaper instead of paper towels prevent streaking and cloth fuzzies. A lint roller works great on delicate surfaces, like pillows, especially if you have pets. An extendable duster is great for those hard-to-reach ceiling fans and other nooks and crannies.

Trash Bags

I’ve personally found that the best trash bags are scented ones. It helps cover up the smell of trash a lot better. But, having a drawstring or heavy duty bag is even more important. Also, at the very least, take trash out once a week. Don’t wait until the trash bag is completely full. Then, the bag will be too heavy and potentially rip.

Laundry Detergent

Whether you get pods or liquid, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is learning how to read the washing/drying instructions for clothes.

Air Freshener

Like with the trash, this is just to keep your space smelling like a home. Or like lavender. Or whatever scent you prefer. It’ll also help you make the place feel more like your own rather than just another occupied space.

Bug Repellent

Even if you keep your home super clean, bugs will find a way inside. They just have that kind of talent. But, you can lessen the amount of little visitors you get by having traps or repellent to keep them away from your most frequented places.

Floor Cleaning

  • Vacuum
  • Bucket or a Swiffer
  • Rags or chamois mop
  • Warm water mixed with basic dishwashing soap

If you have hardwood floors, and if they’ve been sealed with polyurethane (as most have), warm water mixed with basic dishwashing soap should do the trick, after you’ve vacuumed, swept, or dry-mopped.

Gloves

You’ll be handling chemicals. So, cleaning gloves are a MUST. Take it from someone who’s operated a restaurant dishwasher. Gloves or say goodbye to soft skin.

Final Advice

I find that it helps if you have a cleaning schedule. Especially if you have roommates. It helps you keep a rhythm in cleaning around the home. That way not every cleaning day is a “deep-clean” day. A clean home is a comfortable home.

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