A cluttered desk is a sign of an addled brain. Not really, but since school started last week, that’s what I tell my High School Kid. I’m an organizational freak. The sight of alphabetized files and tidy desk drawers brings on a rush just shy of euphoria. Unfortunately, High School Kid does not share my taste in tidiness. To him, gum wrappers and dirty cups (aka trash) scattered amidst books and homework is not a concern.
I know what a lot of moms say on the subject. “Let him live like that.” “He’ll learn to be neat when he gets sick of the mess.”
But at what price, I ask?
Am I willing to hazard the dreaded “Missing Assignment” notice when I login to his online grades? Do I have what it takes to sit back and let the homework get lost on his own desk? Besides, this is junior year when school isn’t just about homework. It’s also about ACT prep and gulp his finding his passion so that he can dazzle the university admissions staff.
Please, I’m starting to see his college acceptance letters dwindling in direct relation to a cluttered desk.
Here are 5 tips to help your teenager clobber the clutter:
- Less is more. Store anything that isn’t crucial to the job. Your kid doesn’t need 40 pens and 20 packs of post-its.
- Tidy up weekly. Don’t wait until your kid is swimming through a sea of papers before encouraging him/her to file them where they belong.
- Go wireless. A printer doesn’t have to take up a quarter of the desktop anymore.
- Have fun. My High School Kid secured two large hooks in the wall and designed a ‘laundry line’ system to hang things like photos and medals where he can enjoy them, but they don’t take up space in his work area.
- Don’t look back. Sometimes it’s time to cull the herd and get rid of books that your student has already read and doesn’t plan to re-read. Donate them to your local library.
Of course I know a cluttered desk won’t doom my son for life, but it saves a mom from the stress of hearing: “Mom, have you seen my homework assignment?”