What to expect for closing: tips, tricks and guidelines for leaving your residence hall for break


Shreyas Banerjee/The Observer

The residential villages will soon be emptied out for the month as students move out for winter break.

Grace Johnson, News Editor

Whether you are a first-year or fourth-year living in the residence halls, moving out for break looks a little bit different each year. This article offers a little bit of guidance, no matter which residence hall you live in.


While each community is a little bit different, some guidelines remain consistent. Below is a compilation a list of things to do when leaving for break, as well as some short explanations as to why:

  1. Clean up after yourself. This seems like a very straightforward and intuitive part of moving out for the break, but you may be surprised about how often Resident Assistants end up having to throw things out. Once, a full turkey exploded in a garbage can over break so the whole carpet had to be replaced, and students had to be moved while this cleaning process took place. Don’t be the one that left a turkey in a garbage can.
  2. Close your windows. Again, this seems pretty straightforward, but it does add an extra step for RAs and other staff when they check out your rooms. If windows are left open, the rooms could be ruined because of pipes freezing and then exploding. This tiny step saves a huge headache.
  3. Take out your trash. Residence hall staff don’t want more exploding turkeys, nor do they want vermin or bug-infested living spaces. Furthermore, members of the custodial staff in each community do a lot to ensure that these spaces remain clean and comfortable, so take out your trash to the dumpsters outside each residential community to make the lives of our custodial staff a little bit easier.
  4. Remove or switch laundry from laundry rooms in a timely manner. Even though this is preached throughout the semester as an important part of being a good resident, now more than ever we must be extra cognizant of others’ time. Many students are flying home or have big trips where they want clean laundry packed, so be kind and set yourself a timer. 
  5. Unplug, clean out and defrost your minifridge. Many people, especially if they are a first year, do not know the proper steps to defrost a minifridge. Here I will provide a brief guide for how to do that. First, unplug the fridge a couple of days before you plan on leaving—10 hours beforehand at least. Open the door and place a towel in the freezer, if it has one, or on the top shelf if it does not have a freezer. While the fridge defrosts, the ice melts and there is a good bit of liquid that comes with that. Keep the door open and the towel inside, and once it is fully defrosted, make sure the towel is washed, or at least dried, so no mold makes its way into your room. Next, it is also important to make sure there is no food left in the fridge, whether that be in your own private minifridge or the one in a common space.
  6. Do your sheets and vacuum your room. While this is definitely not a required step, it is recommended to leave your room in pristine condition for when you arrive back on campus. There are few things nicer than coming home to a clean room, ready for you to dive back into schoolwork. Plus, if you want to vacuum, there are vacuum cleaners available in each residential community that you can sign out if you don’t own one yourself. 
  7. Clean things out of common rooms. This tip applies primarily to members of the first-year community, whose common spaces are perhaps used more than they are in second-year or upperclass housing. RAs are required to clean out whatever is left over, and I know you don’t want your PlayStation 5 or Wii to get thrown in a dumpster—believe it or not, it has happened before.
  8. Tell your RA you left. While this process does vary community to community, most do have checkout processes in place. For example, in the Murray Hill community, this means checking a box on a paper taped to your suite door to tell the RA you have left for the semester. 
  9. Leave on time. Residence halls close at 3:00 pm on Dec. 22, and, regardless of whether you leave or not, your key card will be deactivated until the university reopens in mid-January. If you have to stay during break for some particular reason, contact your RA and they will help you with any further questions you may have. 


If you have any questions about the list above, contact your personal RA. They will help you with whatever questions you may have and are given all the information for each residential community’s move-out situation.