When planning your student’s travel for breaks during the school year, you may not give their dorm a second thought. If you don’t want your student dealing with a mess on their first day back at school, be sure to follow these tips from GradGuard to set your student up for success:

1. Take care of foodstuffs.

Might seem like a no-brainer, right? Well, you’d be surprised. Your student should either throw out, eat, or take with them anything that could perish over a long break. And if they leave anything behind, like cookies, chips, etc., have them make sure they’re sealed up nice and tight, otherwise they’ll be hopelessly stale when your student come back. If your student has a mini fridge, it’s a good idea to remove anything in there and defrost it (many colleges require you to do so anyway). All they have to do is unplug it and leave it open for a while, until it’s good and dry, so it won’t mildew while they’re gone.

2. Make sure your student does not leave dirty clothes lying around.

We all know that un-laundered clothing has a unique…odor. And not a pleasant one at that. If your student leaves his or her dirty socks and underwear lying around all during break (or any time, really), guess what their room is going to smell like when you get back. Hint: it’s not flowers or any other scent found in nature. If you don’t want your student to be dealing with an extremely unpleasant odor when they return, either have them laundry before you leaving, or have them take it home and do it there like the rest of the college students.

3. Pack up valuables.

There’s an extremely slim chance that anything bad will happen to your student’s stuff over break, but if someone were to break in, it would be especially devastating to lose anything valuable. Make sure they take what valuables they can, just to be on the safe side. Many police and law enforcement organizations suggest writing down serial numbers and/or taking pictures of the larger things that one can’t easily pack up, such as televisions or stereo systems.

4. Pick up excess items on the floor.

Again, this is another worst case scenario, but if a pipe were to freeze or burst, it’s a good idea to have all excess things off the floor to minimize any hypothetical flood damage. You probably don’t really need to worry about these things, but it’s always good to have a plan in case the unthinkable happens.

5. Clean!

Pick a day, have your student coordinate roommates, make a chore chart, and do whatever it takes in order to get everyone to clean up their spaces. It’s much nicer to come back to a clean, organized dorm, than one that looks like it was struck by a small hurricane. And if he or she is one of those people who maybe hasn’t cleaned their dorm room all semester, what better time to finally do so than at the end of it? This includes emptying all wastebaskets (remember what was said earlier about dirty laundry? The same applies to garbage, if not more so), and wiping down the shower and sinks so no mildew can grow while your student is away.

6. Unplug all electronic devices.

Many universities will require you to do this before you leave for break, but either way, it’s a good idea. Leaving things like televisions, stereos, lamps, clocks, etc. plugged in for three plus weeks wastes a lot of electricity, and can also become a fire hazard if left unchecked. Another unlikely situation, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

7. Close and lock all windows and doors.

Your student should make sure that the dorm windows are closed and locked, so that they don’t let in any unwanted weather or creatures, but also to discourage any would-be thieves. And of course, make sure they don’t forget to lock the door as they leave. Your student is now free to enjoy his or her break without having to worry about the dorm room!