How to Keep a Clean Apartment When Your Friends are Animals

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You finally get your first college apartment and couldn’t be more excited. You and your roommates spend hours on end picking out the perfect throw pillows, candles, curtains and wall decor. Then, the school year begins, and for the first time you realize that your friends aren’t humans — they are, in fact, animals. So, how do you keep your apartment clean after the zoo pays a visit? Check out these tips to keep your precious apartment livable despite the lions and tigers and bears that attended your pregame.

1. Pet-proof your place

So you’ve invited your friends over. Remove any glass, the television, candles, and pillows – pretty much anything breakable or precious. Don’t forget to hide shiny objects or anything that you think people might debate throwing or sticking in their mouths.

2.  Clean BEFORE you go to sleep

The herd has left. Now is the time to start putting dishes in the dishwasher and getting a giant trash bag to fill with everything your friends were too lazy to toss in the trashcan. If not, you’re going to find yourself not only hung over, but also extremely angry with the mess in the morning. When your dog has an accident, you don’t wait to get a good night’s sleep before tackling the mess.

3. Lay Down a Tarp

Absolutely nothing is worse than a carpet full of sticky beer. By the next morning the stench of leftover beer will be enough in itself to make you want to vomit. It’s like owning a puppy. You have to lay down mats upon bringing them home because they are constantly having accidents on the floor. Your friends are no different, except it’s a lot more difficult to train them not to spill.

4. Invest in some vinegar

If you don’t have carpet, vinegar is a life-saver. After the animals have left, mix the vinegar with warm water and scrub the crap out of your floor. Thank me later.

5. Get down and dirty

There is nothing wrong with going total Annie and getting on your hands and knees to scrub the floor. Start blasting “It’s a Hard Knock Life,” get all the furniture out of the way and scrub. It seems like a lot of effort and work but I assure you if you don’t follow this tip, within days a collective mess will just pile up and your nice apartment will be looking like your school’s newest frat house.

6. Don’t Forget the walls

The walls have feelings too. Don’t just pay attention to the floors and counters. Grab some sponges and scrub the walls. A lot of times spills on the wall are easy to miss with the naked eye, unless you are at a perfect angle. However, when you do notice them, they’re disgusting. No one said keeping a zoo clean was fun.

7. Take advantage of locks

If you have keys for each individual room in your apartment, lock what you can. Animals are curious creatures and love to poke their heads in whatever they can. This tip is especially useful for your bedroom. Dogs love to go into your room and take out articles of clothing. So if you want to find your clothes where you left them before having people over, do yourself a favor and lock the door.

8. Remove ANYTHING and EVERYTHING from your bathroom

This may seem like silly advice, but it’s probably the most important item on the list. If you don’t remove everything in your bathroom you may wake up the next morning to find all of your shampoo and toothpaste squirted on the walls and the floor. If you value your dignity and the monogrammed hand towels your mom insisted you bring, get them to higher ground.

9. Provide Snacks

What is the easiest way to train an animal? Bribe them with treats! One of the easiest things to do is keep a bowl of gold fish or pretzels available. Now this tip is a give and take. Yes, there is the risk that a food fight will break out and not only will you have cans to clean up the next morning but smashed up snacks on the floor. But having snacks keep s people out of the cabinets and the fridge. Once the animals enter that territory, it’s like whenever the dog gets into the trash.

10. Work as a team

The easiest way to get the job done is to divide and conquer. Pick a playlist you all enjoy and reminisce on the stories all the animals created for you. It may seem like a pain in the ass in the moment, but eventually you’ll learn to embrace the roommate bonding of cleaning up after your exotic pets.

Marley is a junior studying Film and English at Penn State University. She is an avid watcher of Netflix documentaries and addicted to reading “shower thoughts” on Reddit.

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