Education research supports the importance of a well-organized study space to reduce stress, as well as increase focus and student success.
Organization is a very important executive function skill, but one that does not come easily or automatically to us all. To keep things manageable, clean one area of your life at a time (e.g. backpack, bedroom, desk, closet, bathroom, car, locker at school, etc.), but follow a plan similar to this one for each area.
Organizing a Study Space
1. Get rid of anything that obviously does not belong in that area (throw it away, give it away...but get rid of it).
2. Separate remaining items into two piles (KEEP and THROW OUT), and then place items into their proper pile. Refuse any urge to have a "maybe" pile (don't do it...you'll regret it because it will serve to maintain clutter). Dispose of things in the THROW OUT pile, and then move on to step 3 with the items in your KEEP pile.
3. Take the things you plan to use in your study space and file them using an organization system. Examples include making a color-coded folder system for each school subject's paperwork; using an individual basket or drawer system to separate pens, pencils, scissors, and other desk supplies; or hanging a bulletin board with the days of the week to indicate your to-do list for each day. Also, make sure to place frequently used supplies in an area that is easy to see and access.
The goal is to prevent the stuff that accumulates in our lives from being mixed together and piled in big, messy chunks. Instead, dedicate a purposeful space for every individual thing and work to ensure everything is put back in its place whenever you use it. Forming this habit takes effort and time, but the results are worth it.
4. Make a shopping list of any materials and supplies that you actually need. While making your list, spend some time thoughtfully planning how you will use the new supplies and how you will incorporate (organize) them into your newly designed study space.
For pictures of creative, functional student desk organization ideas, click here.