Almost every high schooler is familiar with parental complaints when it comes to messy rooms, unorganized binders, and chairs piled up with laundry. Teenagers often express frustration back at their parents, arguing that they “have no time” or “have too much to do,” and cannot afford to make sure everything is always in place. An organized environment and disciplined habits tend to lead to improved grades, attitude, and productivity, which in turn increases mental health and positivity. However, while most high school students want to break the cycle of disorganization, very few know how to do so–and even fewer have the energy or time.
What teenagers fail to understand is that getting organized may not require color-coded closets or a room that looks untouched, or hour-long cleanup sessions. Oftentimes, it only takes slight adjustments and new, easy habits that stop messes before they even begin. Lack of time and energy is no longer a valid excuse for disorganization. Here are some easily-adoptable habits, tricks, and products to help you get on top of the game.
- Avoid having loose papers.
Every student has had the frustrating experience of finding a paper crumpled at the bottom of their backpack, or sorting through a stack of loose papers–a surefire way to forget about homework, lose assignments, and ultimately hurt your grades. It also affects your attitude when it comes to schoolwork, making you feel less disciplined and as if you’re falling behind. Be sure to hole punch every new paper immediately and put it straight into your binder. Another option could be to buy a folder, keeping loose papers safe and protecting them from crumpling. Many binder-wielding students arm themselves with a set of reinforcement stickers to fix papers ripped by binder rings.
- Keep a pencil pouch.
Pencil pouches are easy to keep track of, and make you less likely to lose pencils, pens, and other supplies. Feeling and being prepared increases productivity. You are more likely to pay attention in class if you have the pencils, pens, highlighters, index cards, and supplies you need to take good notes and be on top of your schoolwork. It also declutters your backpack and keeps everything in place.
- Don’t let laundry pile up.
The mountain of clothes towering on the chair on your room is overwhelming. Defeat it and never let it come back again. Create a schedule of “laundry days,” such as every tuesday or mondays and fridays. On that day (most teens choose one day a week), separate your clothes into light and dark colors and put them in the machines. Both loads should be washed and dried by the end of the day. Then, set a deadline for yourself. By the end of the next day (or whatever deadline you choose) both loads of laundry should be folded and put away. Laundry doesn’t have to be a dreary chore– fold your clothes while watching your favorite TV show or listening to music. Keep your schedule and deadline regular, and discipline yourself to stick to it. Don’t let the mountain come back. You’ll find your room decluttered, your attitude better, and your self-satisfaction through the roof.
- Keep your drawers and closet organized.
Stuffing t-shirts into a drawer is tempting, but you wind up frustrating your future self. Clothes in drawers often shift and create a mess that makes it difficult to find clothes, stay organized, or even shove the drawer closed. Internet phenomenon, TV star, and author Marie Kondo has gained international fame for her unique method of folding and placing clothes in drawers. Below is a tutorial on how to fold any article of clothing, Kondo-style. You can find many more of her tricks and advice in her book Spark Joy and Netflix show Tidying up with Marie Kondo.
- Stay off your phone while you’re studying.
The app Flora, available for download on any mobile device, is a hidden gem for students who tend to get distracted while doing homework or studying. In fact, it can increase productivity on any given task. Flora features a timer students can adjust based on how long they want to stay off their phone. When the timer starts, the app displays a cartoon seedling. The plant continues to grow into an adult tree throughout the duration of the timer. However, if you leave the app, the tree dies. Flora also features an option to take logged breaks that do not kill the tree.