Only a few days left now until you head back home for the Christmas break, and we bet you’re well ready for a bit of a chill and catch up with your friends before exam season kicks in at the start of January. But before you hop into whatever train, plane or automobile is ready to whisk you home, here are a few handy tips to make your return in January as pleasant as possible… 

1. Clean

Yeah yeah, we know, no one wants to spend their last week at uni cleaning. But trust us when we say that future you will thank present you (which will then be past you) for doing it. Did that make sense? Great. 

It’s all too easy to let the dirty dishes pile up, and the bins get full, and forget to take the milk out the fridge. But if you leave things in a state, when you come back in January – probably tired from a long journey, and wanting to crack on with some serious last minute revision, not to mentioning catching up with your uni friends – the last thing you want is to have to sort out a pile of dishes with crusted-on bolognese that’s more like tomato cement, empty out a bin that smells like it’s full of half decomposed rodents and open a fridge that has an entirely new species of mould growing on something that you can’t even identify. .

And that’s before we even mention the vacuuming, cleaning the pebbledash off the toilet, the crusted on toothpaste in the sink… You get the idea. 

And apart from the sheer unpleasantness of it, a warm, dirty bedroom is a wonderful breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria that you really don’t want to be weaseling into your weakened winter immune system, and we’re sure we don’t need to tell you that food waste is extremely attractive to the kind of furry friends that you don’t want to find when you’re getting your breakfast ready. 

So why not get together with your flatmates and have a really good clean around the place before you go? Get everything spick and span, make sure there’s nothing in the fridge (trust us, you do NOT want to come back to month old milk) – it doesn’t have to take long, but future you will DEFINITELY be grateful. 

2. Be Secure

When you head off back home for Christmas, chances are you’re not going to take everything with you. Perhaps you’ll leave your laptop and take a tablet to work on, perhaps you’ll be able to borrow a PC at home. TVs, stereos, bikes… The list of expensive items left lying around in the average student room is pretty long. Multiply that by all the people you share with, and all the other students in Hull, and suddenly the deserted student area starts to look a bit like a goldmine for opportunistic burglars. 

Now we’re not trying to scare you, but it is worth taking a few precautions to make sure that your house or flat is secure as it can be. 

First up (and this might seem obvious), make sure that ALL of the doors and windows are closed and locked. If you’re all leaving at different times, make sure the last person out checks and double checks everything. It’s far too easy to head out in a rush and forget to lock up. 

Don’t leave valuable items out on display (especially ones that are small and easy to steal). If you have curtains or blinds you can always leave them closed, especially on the ground floor, and it’s easy enough to pop anything pinchable in a cupboard or drawers. 

We wouldn’t recommend leaving your lights on all the time, but if you can pop them on a timer so they come on for a few hours at night (lamps can be really handy for this) then that can go a long way to making it look like someone is at home. 

Finally if you’re living off campus and you read our post about getting to know your neighbours then hopefully you’re on good chatting terms with them, and you can ask them to keep an eye on the place and maybe even pop in every now and then and switch the lights on and off. You did read that post, right? 

3. Have a sort out

We know from painful experience that sometimes at the end of the year students can have something of a surfeit of ‘stuff’ that they have collected. We’ve all seen the overflowing bins and bin bag mountains that accumulate outside houses and halls, sometimes even after you’ve all left. 

So if you have a moment, have a look through your stuff and anything you think you don’t need, pop it down to one of the charity shops on Newland Avenue or into the recycling. Even if it’s just stuff like packaging that you’re hanging onto, be honest and clear out as much as you can. 

4. Think of the environment!

I mean, obviously you should be thinking of the environment all the time, that goes without saying. But just making sure you take care of little things – like making sure all the lights are out, and the heating is turned down – can make a big difference if we all do it. 

Make sure that all the bins and recycling are put out too – this should really be part of your cleanup routine, but there’s not harm in reiterating because it’s actually really important.