The Charger Blog

Charger Blogger Discusses the Importance of Cleaning and Decluttering

Beatrice Glaviano ’26 reflects on the impact of a good cleaning, whether that means clearing the space under her bed or a spiritual cleanse. She’s discovered that tidying up can help her feel less stressed and ready to take on her day.

March 27, 2024

By Beatrice Glaviano ’26

Beatrice Glaviano ’26.
Beatrice Glaviano ’26.

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of the Charger Blog. It’s still me, your host, Beatrice Glaviano, and welcome to another segment in the “How to Adult” series.

We’ve tackled cooking, nutrition, self-care, and probably some other stuff, but something I never touched upon?


So, crack out your scrub daddy and a roll of paper towels. It’s about to get sudsy.

Ever since I was a kid (and I think this goes for the majority of people), cleaning was the worst. I’d rather be outside messing with worms than wiping the TV stand down or bleaching the toilet. What I really hated, though, was cleaning under my bed. Somehow my mom would always find the trash I’d shoved under it, as though she knew it was there.

Maybe the “eyes in the back of the head” thing was right.

In hindsight, though, I’m glad that I was taught to clean properly. It set me up for successful cleaning habits later on in my life, and it has given me room to appreciate the process of cleaning. Sometimes, boring cleaning is what you need. Other times, it’s a dance party with Taylor Swift. As a whole, cleaning is a necessary part of adult life that you simply can’t avoid – but college makes that a unique challenge.

On top of managing classes, work, studying, general human-ing, and other stuff, tending to your environment can be hard to squeeze into one’s schedule. With that, my best advice is to break your cleaning down into manageable chunks and to really maximize your time. Some of the habits that I try to incorporate are:

  1. Washing and drying all dishes before bed (waking up to a clean, nice-smelling kitchen is always nice)
  2. Wash clothing once a week, and bedding every two or four weeks (unless you happen to spill something onto it)
    • For pillowcases, I’d wash those with clothing to help with acne prevention
  3. Keeping my workspaces tidy and organized

I discovered that the environment you live in can have a direct impact on your mental health. The saying of “clean space, clean mind” rings especially true for me when I am stressed out, as I will stress-clean my room before delving into any studying for the day. By eliminating any physical clutter, you just remove some mental clutter as well.

But how do you go about this? What’s the best way to clean a room? There are multiple ways to tackle your living spaces, but normally I start with the thing I hate the most:

Under the bed.

Get everything out. Trash, socks, whatever. Sort them accordingly. I always get a large garbage bag out before cleaning too, just so that I don’t need to run back and forth. Similarly, arm yourself with a vacuum, broom, and dustpan. These will all come before mopping or using a Swiffer, and, while you’re at it, prop open a window so you can breathe.

After the bed, get under anything else: dressers, desks, tables, etc. Anything that has space under it is a dust mine, and that can become a health hazard if not handled correctly (seriously, asthmatics, listen up). Organize found objects accordingly, throw out trashables, rinse, repeat. Keep this cycle going until your floor is clean of any visible, physical debris. Following that, hit the floor with a mop/Swiffer and let air dry until your socks probably won’t get wet.

Beatrice Glaviano ’26 enjoys a tidy workspace.
Beatrice Glaviano ’26 enjoys a tidy workspace.

Next, it’s time to declutter.

Desk, closet, and dresser. Clean them off. Hot water + paper towel and you’re ready to go. After these are wiped and dried thoroughly, polish them if applicable. Anything antique or made of nice wood, it’s important to polish to make sure the wood doesn’t dry out and crack. Very important.

By now, things should be looking a lot better, and you can focus on the small things. Windex your windows. Wipe your windowsills (they also can collect dust pretty bad). Maybe even throw your bedding into the washer or do some laundry.

With that, you’ve successfully cleaned your bedroom. Woo!

For other spaces (i.e., kitchen, bathroom) you will essentially follow the same instructions. However, you may use more thorough cleaning chemicals such as bleach, which can be harmful if breathed in or if they’re on your skin for too long.

For bleaching kitchen and bathroom counters (prone to food pathogenesis):

  1. Clear counters off of anything (including food, dishes, toothbrushes, etc.)
  2. Wipe down with warm, sudsy water to get any dirt, dust, or crumbs off
  3. Spray counter with bleach, let sit for five minutes
  4. Wipe counters thoroughly with paper towel to dry

For bleaching a shower:

  1. Empty shower of everything and anything
  2. Run very hot water for five minutes
  3. Bleach, let sit for another five
  4. Wipe down the walls of the shower, getting any hair, mold, or other weird stuff out of it
  5. Hot water rinse for another five minutes

For bleaching a toilet:

  1. Spray a paper towel with bleach
  2. Get underneath all rims, lids, etc.

Honestly, the toilet is the easiest out of all of these.

When going through your kitchen, make sure to hit the fridge. Like actually. That Tupperware sitting in the back that you know has mold in it? Yeah, you need to open that and clean it. If the shelves look dirty, clean them ASAP. Things will grow in your fridge – trust me (I’ve lost too much bread to fridge mold). If you can’t do it alone, see if you can grab a buddy. Someone on trash duty, and someone on cleaning. This system also works well with cleaning dishes. Yet, if you’re on your own, well...

Good luck, bud.

On a gentler note, I know this is all much easier said than done. Depression rooms are real, and I’ve definitely been one to create one before. For those who may not be in the best place to take on massive cleaning, start small. Even if you just clear your desk and throw out some trash, that’s okay. Personally, just getting my trash into the dumpsters is so mentally challenging for whatever reason. So, I make sure company is coming over because I’m not going to risk my guests getting a whiff of my trash.

Or I just text my mom to tell me to do it. It’s oddly effective, now that I think about it.

But also, I’d like to remind you all to clean yourselves too. Take a shower. Wash your hair. It can be hard, I know – especially if you’re like me and may not always want to face your body – but trust me, you’ll hate the world a little less when the grease is washed out of your hair and your skin feels new. Sometimes spiritual cleanses are necessary. Crack out your tarot, play some meditative music, and ask yourself about the things you’ve been running away from. Similar to how you tend routinely to your laundry, your kitchen, your bathroom, and bed sheets, you must also tend to yourself. Rinse yourself with your favorite music, or maybe dry out in the sun for a while. Whatever makes you feel refreshed and alive.

Then you can do the dishes, lol.

Anyhow, I hope that everyone is having a splendid week and that we’ve found a solid groove back into the semester. As for myself, I will be prioritizing my sleep and sanity while balancing overnight EMS shifts (which is very counteractive now that I’m saying it aloud, but oh well). Take care everyone, and I’ll see you in the next one.

Peace, love, and peanut butter,

Beatrice Glaviano ’26 is a nutrition sciences major at the University of New Haven.