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We have all been through it: The semester begins, work accumulates, and our rooms begin to look like rats’ nests, making it impossible to find that one textbook we needed for the next class. Your reason for having a messy room may be different from others, but here are some tips that will help keep your room clean either way.

Find your level of cleanliness

Not everyone fits into either end of the spectrum of having a messy room or cleaning every corner of their space daily. So, what are you OK with? Is leaving out trash and boxes for a few days manageable? Can you hide the dirty laundry in a corner for just one night and be OK with it?

Deciding what you are able to live with allows you to know how much time you want to spend cleaning your room.

Find your dedicated cleaning time

Now that you know how much you have to clean, the next step is to block out a time in your calendar dedicated to the task.

There are several ways to approach this. Some might prefer cleaning on weekends, while others might prefer cleaning as a mental break from daily classes.

A dedicated place for everything

Let’s get to some practical tips. The key to organization is to have a dedicated place for everything: a closet for your sweater, drawers for your underwear, and shelves for everyday needs. The more dedicated a space is, the less likely you are to end up with that messy catchall drawer.

If you find yourself hoarding unnecessary items or always have a pile of random objects sitting in your room somewhere, consider making time to declutter your space à la Marie Kondo’s method to bring some extra organization to your room (and life).

Schedule your laundry

Don’t let your clothes run out before you start doing laundry. Not only does it risk not having anything to wear the next day, but it also creates a corner in your room full of dirty laundry.

Get a vacuum

Organization and laundry are not the only things to do to keep your room clean. Your floor has probably collected so much dust and dirt that anything that falls on it requires an automatic rinse. Getting a vacuum—whether borrowing your neighbor’s or buying a new one—allows you to quickly clean any surface including your floor.

Make your bed

Making your bed right after you wake up goes a long way both in terms of cleanliness and productivity for the day. Ticking this simple task off your checklist has been proven to help kick-start more difficult tasks from your list.

Wipe down every surface

For those of you who feel that keeping your room clean means more than just a vacuumed floor and organized drawers, I recommend having wet wipes for your desk and other shelves. Making sure that there are no sticky surfaces and dusty counters can give us the peace of mind that we all need.

Be aware of pests

The worst thing about an unclean room is the pests that are unintentionally invited. There are several ways to avoid this. First, make sure not to leave any food around your room. Second, lay pest traps if needed. You can get traps at the University Hardware store or order online. Furthermore, if you are in Columbia dorms, call the Hartley Hospitality desk for pest control and inform them that you may need an exterminator.

Staff writer Time tries his best to keep his room tidy but sometimes it’s a struggle. These are some tips that he uses to make sure that his room doesn’t become a rat’s nest. He can be contacted at Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec

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