I’ve had my fair share of student house horror stories at Warwick. As a final year student, I’ve been looking back at all of the nightmarish experiences I’ve had, and I thank my lucky stars that I can go home and (hopefully) will never have to deal with the likes of them again.
Let’s start at the beginning with the organisational disaster that was my room in first year. To get to my bed, I had to climb over an overwhelming heap of stuff. You couldn’t see the carpet because it was piled up to my knees with stacks of things. My housemates decided to help organise my room because it was in such a disarrayed state. It took eleven hours before I could see carpet. Eleven long hours.
My second year was similarly eventful. A particular horror story that stands out is a time when I left my Weetos box in my room and went home for the weekend. When I came back, there were hundreds of ants crawling over my chest of drawers. I sprayed so much ant repellent that I had a cough for far longer than is healthy. I couldn’t sleep for weeks, fearing that they would come back, more menacing than before, and crawl directly into my bed. I was petrified.
Exam period brings laziness and a general incompetence when it comes to doing any sort of cleaning around the house
You might think that, by third year, I would have been an expert when it came to keeping my room pristine. There would be no more ant infestations, but, as is the case with many student houses, other creepy crawlies made an appearance. I left my plant on my windowsill when I went home for two weeks. I came back to find forty flies hovering near the now dead plant. I opened the window for six hours in the heavy rain to let them out. The next day I found a slug sliding out of my bin. And, for the next two nights, I found baby slugs crawling across the carpet.
I wish I could say that my stories are exceptions. But, to be perfectly honest, these experiences are fairly typical when it comes to student living.
A lot of the horror stories surrounding student houses happen in Term 3. Exam period brings laziness and a general incompetence when it comes to doing any sort of cleaning around the house. In my house, there are food stains all over the hob, food on the floor and a squashed spider stain on the wall. Although my house don’t actually have exams, we’ve all succumbed to the Term 3 slumber. We also happen to spend most of our time out of the house, so the mess doesn’t bother us. We tend to be at rehearsals, at work all day or with friends, and sometimes we make the time to work on our dissertations! But is that really an excuse not to clean?
You could move through each room together, making sure it is spotless from top to bottom
Exams are almost over and, with the end of third term looming, it’s time to start thinking about your house deposit. We all know that cleaning your student house or flat is a big job. From Blu Tack marks on the wall, food stains in the kitchen and a broken lamp (or two), it is going take a lot to make it look like a house that wasn’t lived in by students.
The only way to make sure that everyone in your house helps to clean up the accumulation of three terms of mess is to make sure that you assign a day where everyone cleans. A big clean-up day will hopefully make the whole process quicker and more efficient. You could either decide to have everyone cleaning a different room, or you could move through each room together, making sure it is spotless from top to bottom (I’m not losing that £400 deposit for the sake of food stains or the iron mark that’s been left on the carpet in the living room). Another good tip is to get a small pot of paint and paint over those Blu Tack marks from posters. Imagine losing out on your deposit because of Blu Tack marks in someone else’s room. The SU are able to offer advice if you need some tips.
You don’t want to spend four hours cleaning up, just to have to do it all over again
After the clean-up, you need to be firm with messy housemates. If you make a mess you clean it up the same day. You can leave dishes on the side (we all know no one is going to wash up eight plates at one in the morning), but food stains and bits of rice and pasta need to go. If you carry on finding grated cheese on the kitchen tops and that crusty liquid that comes from pasta over boiling on the cooker, then people might need to be named and shamed. You don’t want to do a four hour clean up, just to have to do it all over again, especially when you’d end up doing it all by yourself.
Wherever possible, avoid taking on all the responsibility, or leaving one person to do everything. Even if they say they’re happy to do it, a few hours later, they’ll probably be muttering under their breath in annoyance. To rid your student house of all it’s horrors, you need to work together and get it done quickly and thoroughly. Play some cheesy music and have a laugh about all the silly (and nightmarish) memories you and your housemates have made over the year. You might even have fun. If you’re feeling low on motivation, just remember: your bank account will thank you when you get that much-needed deposit back.