As a senior in college this year, I speak from experience: it's easy to let your dorm room become a dump. Many of my classmates spent their first year at school wading through piles of dirty clothes and dishes, flopping onto perpetually unmade beds at the end of all-nighters.
As a parent, there are ways to help — and I don't mean doing your kid's laundry on breaks. Below are seven everyday products to keep your college freshman's room in order, with no nagging required.
1. White sheets
White sheets are perfect for laundry-resistant teens who need to see the dirt to believe it's there. Instead of changing their sheets once a semester, freshmen will want to throw them in the wash as soon as they notice the growing pile of crumbs and stray hairs.
White sheets can also be bleached, which saves the trouble of removing any unmentionable stains.
2. Disposable plates, bowls and silverware
Washing dishes in a tiny communal sink — especially when it's in the nearest bathroom — is unpleasant enough to put off forever. Better to buy dishes and silverware they can use and throw away than leave them surrounded by crusty cereal bowls. (Bonus points if you give them eco-friendly options!)
3. Mini vacuum
Owning a handheld vacuum will not only keep your kid's room dust-free, it'll make them the dorm hero. I loved mine (now extinct, R.I.P) and won friends by lending it out to desperate neighbors.
4. Cleaning wipes
If cleanliness is next to godliness, wet wipes are a minor deity. They're so quick and convenient to use that your college student will almost want more surfaces to disinfect.
5. Upright laundry basket
In my opinion, every drawstring laundry bag encourages clothes piles: you're so tired of bending down to open it up that you feel forced to throw items on top instead.
Humor your (somewhat) lazy kid and buy them a laundry basket that involves minimal effort. Just don't forget to find one with handles!
6. Clothing hangers
You can never have too many hangers, especially when you're a young person with an ever-changing wardrobe. Since your kid will inevitably need more later in the semester, don't be afraid to go wild and buy a ton of hangers before you drop them off.
7. Plastic storage drawers
Every college bookstore sells them, and for good reason. Dorm rooms rarely provide enough storage space, so these sets of drawers will prevent your kids' clothes and supplies from spilling onto the floor. They're also perfect for packing up at the end of the semester, as they can be moved without any repackaging.