How I find the time to clean as a busy student

12 Apr 2022
By Ellie B, Student at

We’ve all been there. Rushing in from a busy day, excited to relax in bed watching your favourite show until you fall asleep. But you open the door to a reminder that you haven’t cleaned your room in a while, seeing clothes littered on the bed and clutter over your desk.

Not having the energy to address it, you dump the clothes elsewhere and crawl into bed. The problem is, the cycle never ends! Carry on reading to find out how I fit cleaning into my lifestyle as a busy student.

The ‘Sweepy’ app

Sweepy is a free app that allows you to set tasks to the different rooms in your space. I have mine set as ‘flat bedroom’, ‘home bedroom’, ‘flat bathroom’, and ‘flat kitchen’. Inside these ‘rooms’, you can add recurring or one-time tasks, using either their default task options or adding your own to fit your personal needs.

You then decide the frequency you need to complete each task, like wiping surfaces every seven days. The app shows you the average level of cleanliness of each room, depending on when you last completed each chore. I find this super helpful, as when I see it is getting a bit low, I just check which task I need to complete. Instead of doing a big deep clean that takes all day, I can clean the things that need tending to more regularly and avoid a really dirty space before it accumulates.

Organise your stuff

Organising your stuff into storage boxes is a fantastic way to avoid clutter piling up, and means you can actually find what you are looking for. Plus, you only have to do it once - and then it’s just a case of resisting the urge to kick things under the bed going forward.

I use cheap storage boxes from Poundland or B&M, or cardboard boxes that may be lying around. I then use sticky notes to label them so I know where to find what I need without too much rummaging. This works in a similar way with desk organisation - using binders for paper and university work, and nice-looking containers and trays for makeup, stationery and books.

Make it a morning chore

I have found the best way to tackle motivation problems when it comes to cleaning and tidying is to try not to leave it until the end of the day when you’re tired and burnt out. This may be difficult if you’re not a morning person, but even setting aside just five minutes when you wake up to make sure everything is in its place can have a profound effect on your mood and stress levels. I find it gives me the mental clarity to go into my day in a positive way, and it’s great knowing that you don’t have to come home to chores.

Strike while the iron is hot

If you have a sudden burst of motivation, tap into it and get as much done as possible before you change your mind! Often, once you start a task you will then feel motivated to complete other tasks and you won’t want to leave them unfinished. This is especially helpful if you suffer from lack of motivation or find yourself with free time but struggle to use it productively. Even if it only lasts five minutes, you’ll be surprised what you can get done. A little goes a long way.

Stick on some music, or your favourite show

If you make it that little bit less boring, a task won’t seem so monstrous. If you’re cleaning or organising while getting your daily fix of Netflix, you’re killing two birds with one stone. You may even get more done if your concentration is on something more exciting.

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I am a Mathematics student in my first year of studies. Lover of dancing, Marvel, and passionate about mental health.