Tidying Up For School

August is the start of school for many students across the United States. Many students try to set goals at the beginning of the year without a clear plan on how to keep up with it and end up dropping the goals in the middle of the year. By utilizing the KonMari Method™, made by Marie Kondo, students will be able to assess their current workspace and tidy it into a productive, motivating environment that will continue for the rest of the school year.

What Is The KonMari Method™?

Marie Kondo, a well-renowned Japanese cleaning consultant, created her KonMari Method™ to efficiently clean and discard items. Having been interested in cleaning methods from a young age, Kondo was able to create her own method that has inspired many to use.

While most tidying methods promote a room-by-room approach, the KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category, with the order of:

- clothes

- books

- papers

- komono (miscellaneous items)

- sentimental items

Instead of cleaning one location of your home at a time, with the KonMari Method™, you have to locate all of one item in your home at a time. For example, instead of cleaning out one rooms’ books, you would compile all of them in one spot. This helps to assess what items you have multiple of and what items you need more of (or less of ).

A key aspect of this method is that you should only keep items that spark joy. Discard items that no longer spark joy, thank them for their service, and let them go by trashing, donating, or reselling them.

The KonMari method™ is an example of how in 2019, people are leaning towards more functional items rather than what looks pretty. The method promotes mindfulness of oneself as well, and helps to solidify one’s priorities.

The Rules of the Konmari Method™

There are six rules to follow in the KonMari Method™:

Commit yourself to tidying up.

Imagine your ideal lifestyle.

Finish discarding first.

Tidy by category, not by location

Follow the right order.

Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

Before going back to school, assess what school supplies and papers you have with the Konmari Method™ so you can feel prepared and get into the habit of tidying. School items would most likely fall under these categories:

Category 2 (textbooks, required readings)

Category 3 (papers, lecture notes, handouts)

Category 4 (office supplies, appliances, computers)

Clearing The Clutter

Before you begin cleaning your workspace, thank the space for all it has done for you and establish what your end goal is. Do you want to keep items that could motivate you to work harder? Do you want a minimalistic workspace with few distractions? Establishing your ideal end workspace will help guide you through the rest of the process.

Marie Kondo says to take everything out in a category in order to gauge how much “stuff” you have. This could mean all your notes and papers for Category 2, or all your pens and pencils (among other supplies) for Category 4 in a pile.

One by one, take each item in your hand and see if it “sparks joy” for you. While this isn’t a tangible expression, Marie Kondo uses these questions: “Does it give you a thrill of excitement when you hold it? Does it give you that little spark of happiness?” You can also decide if it still holds purpose in the future or is still needed. If not, then it’s time to let it go from your life.

The point isn’t to throw everything away; it’s about understanding what is important to you and what belongs in your future.

When you decide that something doesn’t spark joy, thank the item for its service and discard it by recycling, throwing it away, or donating it. It is also important to discard fully before placing items into their proper spots.

Staying Tidy

Marie Kondo places similar items with each other so they are able to more easily be found. Also, place items vertically in order for the same reason, or use boxes and compartments to keep “like with like”.

Consider digitizing documents and papers so your space won’t be cluttered.

When your workspace is more organized, you will become more efficient and productive with your work since you’ll waste less time searching for materials and supplies. You’ll also become much more comfortable in the space since the anxiety of tidying will now be gone!

With new organizational methods in place and an idea of your ideal workspace, make sure to keep tidying up a little every day. Put items back where they belong as soon as possible so the clutter doesn’t pile up again.

Preparing For The Next School Year

To prepare for the next school year, make sure you get school supply lists from your teachers. These will help you get exactly what you will us. If your teachers don’t provide this, follow this list and change it according to your needs and classes:

Backpack or Messenger Bag


#2 Pencils

Colored Pencils

Pencil Sharpener

Pens: Red, Blue, Black



12-inch Ruler

TI Calculator



Pocket Folders

Single-Subject Spiral Notebooks

Sticky Notes

College Ruled Loose Leaf 3 Hole Paper

Tabbed Dividers

Book Covers

Wire Bound Weekly Planner

3-Ring Binder

USB Flash Drives

Scour office supplies stores like Office Depot, Staples, or even Walmart to assure that you are getting the best deals on supplies. Getting these items will set you up for a great year! Make sure to restock supplies when you’re running low; you don’t want to live off one pencil without an eraser for the last semester.

Utilizing the Konmari Method™ before going back to school will set organizational habits that you can carry into the year. It will also help you set goals for the year for yourself, whether it be academic, extra-curricular, or organizational.

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