One of the hardest challenges for college students to overcome is keeping a clean room. Having a clean room to study, relax and sleep in can make a big difference in your satisfaction with your first year. Unfortunately, the most powerful tool for keeping a fresh room, the open window, isn’t an option for most of the year due to Rochester’s weather. With a few helpful tips, you can have a delightful room without piling onto the stress of college.

An unpleasant odor is one of the most important reasons to get into a cleanliness routine. The two most important tools to combat odor are regular communication and a clear roommate agreement. It can be awkward to have to ask your roommate to empty the trash or do laundry but it is important to get an early start. You’ll be glad you got an early start when the (surprisingly common) horror stories start coming out. It’s not all about your roommate however - be considerate and reciprocate whenever you see your roommate clean; there is nothing more frustrating than a roommate that doesn’t clean up.

When trying to keep a clean room, what you don’t know certainly can hurt you. Food and waste hidden in a cluttered room will spoil. Even in clean rooms, dust can accumulate in unseen places, trapping odors and making it hard to stay fresh. Vacuuming, doing laundry and cleaning your sheets will go a long way in keeping odors at bay.

Regular maintenance isn’t always enough. Fortunately, there are some cheap options for keeping a room fresh. To get rid of smells, simply pour baking soda into a bowl and let sit for a few hours. Make sure to seal any unused baking soda, or it will lose its effectiveness. Another option is to pour a layer of baking soda onto the carpet, let sit for a few hours, then vacuum. If you want an extra clean scent or if you have someone coming over last minute, Febreze and Glade both make products powerful enough to cover up most odors, as long as you aren’t too stingy.

Keeping a clean room needs to be a team effort, but you don’t have to be Martha Stewart to get the results you want. By creating a schedule and working with your roommate you can stop smells before they begin. Innovative and cheap solutions, like deodorizing with baking soda, can keep your room clean on a budget. More expensive solutions, like Febreeze fabric spray, can be used to go the extra mile to make your room an oasis of freshness.