When my college kid arrived home for the summer, I picked up his gym bag, followed the trail of books, boxes, hangers, dirty clothes, old mail and snack food wrappers right up to his room, and after a quick hug, I held up the bag and asked, “Are these clothes clean or dirty?” He pulled out a few items, sniffed them, and said, “Unclear”.

It occurred to me, not for the first time, that getting this young man to clean would be a challenge. But that’s part of my job as his mom. I don’t want to have to explain to his future significant other that I didn’t at least try, often and with fervor.

A week into the summer, I presented him a list of his cleaning responsibilities. Last August I had sent him to school with a Simplicity Flash handheld vacuum, which has an attachable hose and cleaning tools, and I've actually heard him use it twice now. TWICE! The first time was after he lost a fight with a box of cereal on his desk (because the desk is where he eats many meals when I’m not around). The second time was when his keyboard was acting up, and I suggested that his hand vacuum had a hose that might suck out all the crumbs.

When I asked him what he vacuumed when he was at school, he said, “My desk, primarily.” (He meant “only.”) I asked if he minded the cord compared to the cordless vacuum we used at home when he was in high school. He said no because the cordless one was never charged when he needed it, which is true. The fact that he has a preference is a small victory for me.

College-aged kids, like my messy son, get a ton of money as high school graduation gifts these days. It turns out they (and their parents) appreciate some of the things they’ll use in college and future apartments too - like a hand vacuum. If you’re like me and taking baby steps with your college kid, start small, like with the gift of a Simplicity Flash handheld vacuum, and work up from there. While a lot of things, like their future goals, are unclear, at least you’ll be taking one small step towards their future and one giant leap for mom-kind.

For more information on the Simplicity Flash and other handy, dorm-sized vacuums, check out the Simplicity Handheld and Stick vacuums. You can order online or visit your local Simplicity retailer.