Your 4-Step Guide to End-of-Semester Cleaning

Get your life organized now for a relaxing summer break.

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End of semester cleaning guide for college

As the end of the spring semester approaches, there’s a chance that your ability to keep your room clean and organized has slipped. With all the papers, projects, and final exams I’m juggling, I’ve definitely been slacking at home.

Whether you are moving out once the semester ends, or you’re staying in your apartment for another year, the following end-of-semester cleaning guide can help you start your next adventure – whether that’s more school, a job, or a trip abroad – on a fresher note.

1. Archive your materials.

carrying books elle woods legally blonde

You accumulate a lot of stuff in college, physically and digitally. You probably have paper copies of syllabi floating around, along with handouts and course packs and maybe even entire textbooks. 

And I bet your “downloads” folder is looking a little crazy right now. (Mine is, too.)

At the end of the semester, it’s good to go through all this stuff (yes, just think about school for a little longer and then you can relax). Some of it you might want to keep in a safe place, especially if you have notes that will help you in future classes or jobs. A lot of it, though, can hit the recycling bin. 

If you have textbooks, sell them now rather than waiting and then forgetting – you’ll get a better price the newer they are, anyway. 

On the digital front, delete any non-essential files off your computer, and save any papers or projects you’re proud of in a separate labeled folder — you can even get extra and make a whole folder for the school year, with sub-folders for classes.

2. Get rid of things you no longer wear.

okay so I have nothing to wear lisa kudrow romy and michele

I think I have a pretty defined style, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t end up hating things that I used to wear all the time. 

I usually get rid of clothes when:

  • A. They don’t fit anymore (usually because I shrink them in the dryer by accident)
  • B. I realize how little use I’ve actually gotten out them
  • C. I’ve worn them so many times that the holes and stains are no longer endearing, or
  • D. I now associate the outfit with a experience I’d like to forget. (Really bad dates usually fall under this category.)

Now, we’ve covered cleaning out your closet extensively on CF, so I don’t need to go into the how-to guide here. The point is, you don’t want to be digging through relics of the past next year. Get your closet in shape and breathe easy.

3. Decide what to do with sentimental items.

rachel sentimental jennifer aniston friends

I’m know this doesn’t apply to everyone, cause I actually have a friend who thinks that I’m crazy for keeping what she calls “trash” for nostalgic purposes. But I have trouble throwing away wristbands, old plane tickets, and sometimes even receipts if they remind me of a really great time. 

If you’ve slowly accumulated little trinkets and memories, decide which ones you want to keep and what you’re going to do with them. You could scrapbook, frame, or put them in a special box. 

I know it can be hard, but try to only keep the most meaningful items that you’d want to look back on and remember in 10 years. 

4. Do a dust-off.

spring cleaning vacuuming

If you’re staying in the same apartment for a little longer, even if it’s just for the summer, this is crucial. 

No matter how clean your place looks on the surface, unless you actively remember to sweep and wipe off your counters (and so many students don’t), you probably have hidden dirt. 

Don’t forget to sweep and/or vacuum your floor, and wipe off your counters/shelves to uncover the hidden grime. You can also clear the dust off your blinds, fans, and any other areas that might not receive enough love throughout the year. How’s that for breathing easier this summer?

How do you clean up your apartment for summer break?

Are there any other end-of-year cleaning tips for college students that you think should be included in this list? Share your advice for spring cleaning in the comments!

1 thought on “Your 4-Step Guide to End-of-Semester Cleaning”

  1. I’m someone who actually spends 3 to 4 full days doing seasonal clean-up and people call me crazy for that. I usually spend 2-3 days doing laundry (including shoes, backpacks, handbags, cushions, curtains, pillows… everything that can be washed and looks dirty) , cleaning my closet (taking absolutely everything out, wiping it and putting everything back in again), repairing clothes I still like but are missing a button, or need a zipper replaced, or to be dyed again (I strongly dislike when black or dark blue clothing looks faded), cleaning out bookshelves, sorting papers (I file every college paper in a plastic box, inside folders with date-class name). The last day I clean my kitchen, bedroom (underneath the bed, vacuum the mattress) and bathroom (toss old products, deep clean shower, etc). It is hard but I feel happy when everything is neat for the new semester to start.


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