08 Apr De-cluttering For Students
Look up from your screen and take a look around. I bet you can see some stuff you don’t need in your room, probably things that are getting in the way too. This is known as clutter. Why should you be bothered? It’s both annoying and dangerous, that’s why.
How is clutter annoying? Let me give you a mental tour of my grandmother’s house. You go in through the front door, to the right is a telephone table and seat, she has about 10 phone books – but only 2 types. That means she has 8 outdated phone books. On the wall are coat hooks, there are at least 6 coats of various kinds there. Then you go into the lounge. “Cushion attack!” screams your brain, and you wouldn’t be mistaken for thinking it was a shop for second-hand cushions, I’ve never dared to count the number of cushions in there, but there’s at least 3 per seat, and she has enough sofa and chair space to seat 6 people. When you finally rip your eyes away from the cushions you realise that there isn’t a free flat surface anywhere. My grandmother routinely spends 15 minutes clearing enough space to put a small plate of biscuits because she has so many little china figurines, ornaments and knickknacks everywhere.
How does that relate to you? Well if you have to spend pretty much any time cleaning enough space to get something done, be it work or anything else, you’re at least twice as likely to procrastinate, if not to give up entirely.
Now, the danger of clutter. I’ll give you another little example – in my first year of college another girl in my flat brought at least 30 pairs of shoes with her. She lined all of these beautifully up along her wall to the doorway, because she had so many she had to do double rows. Of course, this being the first week of college people were pulling pranks and all sorts, so we had a least one fire alarm every single night. Every single night she would trip over her shoes on her way out of the door. She twisted her ankle more than once – if it had been a real fire then she could have been in serious danger.
The final problem with clutter is money. How much money have you spent on this stuff that you don’t use? Or have you had to re-buy something because you couldn’t find the one you bought the first time around? (I’m guilty of this with Sellotape and other small things I rarely use.)
What am I saying then? Go, look around your room, pick up 5 things you don’t use and get rid of them. “But I want to keep this!” I hear you say, that’s fine, providing it’s not getting in the way. Perhaps you have a ton of picture frames on your bedside cabinet and you need to be able to put your glasses, medication or favorite cuddly toy there, stick the pictures up on your wall where you can still see them and get rid of the picture frames.
Keeping Your Room Tidy- Easier Said Than Done?
Where is your phone charger? Depending on your phone that’s not a great question, how about your camera charger? Or your spare notebooks, and pens? Yesterday we looked at how to organize your desk, today we’re looking at why you need to keep your room tidy.
I’m not good at keeping things tidy, I think it’s down too having too many things I don’t really need, but for an unknown reason I simply can’t let go of. That said, I’ve got pretty good at keeping things tidy and organized.
Why should you really bother though? For one thing you’ll end up being late less often. If you have a massive pile of paper somewhere and you need the handout you printed out, or notes from the last lecture, or your keys. If things are tidy it’s easier to find them – all the paperwork is in one place, hopefully organized, your keys will always be in the same place, and ditto for everything else.
Another factor is an emergency. If you have to leave quickly, for whatever reason, say a fire alarm at 3am, or any kind of emergency, then you have to be able to get out now. You don’t want to have to be dodging piles of dirty laundry and jumping over cables. Of course, these things are dangerous whether or not there is an emergency, so do yourself a favor and get rid of them now.
Of course, having a tidy room is only so important, you need to get things organized too. I understand that tidiness and organization are different things, but together they can be a really powerful tool.
Organize Your Desk – The Easy Way
If you’re anything like me then your desk is a magnet for random stuff. I’m really not very good at putting things away, so I’ve set up my desk so I don’t have to put things away.
All I’ve done, is grabbed assorted mugs and pots, and put everything I need in those, these are scattered around my desk and on my bookcase which is right next to it. I have a pot with USB keys in it, a mug for pens, a mug for pencils, (yeah, I have too much stationary) and a spot on my bookcase to stack paper. Once a week I make an effort to go through the paper stack and chuck what I can, before I file the rest. Here are some tricks that you can use to organize your desk.
- Look at what is on your desk. When I started this I had 3 glasses, an empty carton of juice, the binder I use for filing, post-its, assorted USB cables, a cleaning cloth plus my desk lamp and external hard-drives lying around. Plus I had my laptop.
- Decide which of those things you need. Out of everything above I only needed the hard-drives, the desk lamp and the post-its and of course, the laptop. Everything else didn’t need to be there. (A glass for a drink is fine, but it shouldn’t live on your desk permanently!)
- Figure out why everything else is there. I’m lazy, that’s why the juice carton and the other glasses were there. The binder came off the bookcase a few days ago because I needed to file something, and never got put back, ditto with the cables.
- Make adjustments. I moved my desk closer to the bookcase and also the trash – if I don’t have to get up to move something I’ll probably do it. Consider moving your desk closer to other items, or vice versa.
- Put it away. Take all the stuff that shouldn’t be on your desk and put it away, yes, now! After putting everything away I decided to hang the cleaning cloth on my desk lamp, so I can wipe things down more easily.
- Spend 2 minutes a day tidying your desk. You can’t get anything done in 2 minutes, right? Wrong! If you just spent 2 minutes a day quickly moving stuff off your desk you don’t need, and giving it a wipe down with a clean cloth you’ll notice a massive difference.