If you’re like me, and your mom kept a nice clean house all the time while you were at school/work without you taking much notice at how much work she was really doing, here’s my advice to you:
Clean things before they look dirty. Set yourself a schedule to do cleaning chores on a regular basis. If you wait until your toilet has a nasty ring at the water level, or your kitchen counter is all grungy, you’re going to feel really gross when you notice and have to clean that shit up, and it makes you look and feel like a slob.
My habits are:
Clean the kitchen – every night. It’s my least favorite job, but I bite the bullet and do the last dishes before bed, they’ll be gross in the morning. Don’t forget to wipe down the counters and stove. Put on some music and these things feel like much less of a chore. Supplies: Dish soap for the dishes and sink, a gentle cleaner like Windex Multisurface for the counters, stove, fridge shelves, etc.
Clean the bathrooms – I have two in my apartment, so I clean one about every five days, alternating bathrooms. Supplies: Bleach for the toilet, Scrubbing Bubbles foam for the shower and sink, Clorox wipes for the counter, Windex for the mirror.
Wash bedding – Once a week. A clean bed feels so nice, hang your sheets outside to dry in the summer and they’ll smell spectacular.
Vacuum – At least every four days, unless you notice dirt on the carpet, and more often if you have a shedding pet.
Dust – I do it every other week, but that’s probably a bit long. I use Swiffer magnetic dusters, works like a charm.
Basically, if something actually looks or smells dirty, it’s really dirty by that point. If you let chores pile up, they’ll seem overwhelming and you’ll be frustrated with your environment. Coming home to a clean house just feels good at the end of the day.
Double check with Mom and Dad about any mild allergies or reactions you have. It sounds so silly, but when I moved out I started using a new laundry detergent that caused me to break out in a rash, miss a ton of work, and owe the hospital for ER visits. Turns out I had a similar reaction when I was a kiddo and it didn’t occur to me that my Mom had only used Tide on my clothes and sheets for a reason.
Prepare an additional budget for things you will inevitably forget to buy in order to have a functional home. I forgot to buy things like a trashcan, a can opener, cleaning supplies, power strips, lightbulbs. Having a little extra cash set aside for those things will help a ton!
As far as furnishing and buying basic things like plates and silverware and a trash can, ask around to your parents or friends or any other relatives. Even if they aren’t supportive of your going away for college, they might have so much lying around that getting rid of it would be a good thing and you can play it off as cleaning out the cabinets. I’m well out of college and most of my kitchen supplies are still from the kitchen of my (admittedly super-supportive) parents, so you never know.