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Does your child have problem focusing on study?

There can be many reasons but one of common cause is messiness of the room that is cluttered with all sorts of toys, papers and books laying around.

Researchers found that school scores of a child can be come down to below simple formula.

School Work Accomplished = Time spent x Intensity of Focus

Unless your child is super brainy, it comes down to how much time your child spends on studying (Quantity) and Intensity of focus on studying (Quality).

And it is proven that child prefer study longer and focus better when his or her room is tidy and neat and desk is clean from clutter so feels good when your child sits there and help focusing on studying not distracted by clutters on the desk or room.

Okay, we understand that cleanliness and tidiness helps on studying. However, it is only temporary and messiness rebound every time room is cleaned or tidied up.

Yes, it is very common to hear that it is never ending saga. However, it does not have to be that way and we are going to discuss how to clean the room once and it does not rebound ever again.

How does it sound? Sound too good?

Before finding out how we can achieve permanent tidiness, we need to understand why your child’s room continue be messy so we know what we can do about it.

Why your child’s room is always messy and what can we do about it?

Does your child’s room have full of clutter and messy all the time and it gets messy again right after cleaning and tidying up?

If so, your child is not alone and it is very common problem.

Some say that it is fine as long as child knows where to find items and comfortable with the messiness. However, various studies show that messy conditions cost us far more than we could ever imagine, and in multiple ways. In a survey of one thousand adults and teenagers, 90 percent felt that clutter had a negative impact on their lives. The top reasons they gave were lowered productivity, and negative mindset, reduced motivation to study, preventing focusing on study or task and diminished happiness.

Not only study performance but Clutter also adversely affects health. According to a study by scientists at UCLA, being surrounded by too many things increases cortisol levels, a primary stress hormone. Chronically high levels of cortisol can make us more susceptible to depression, insomnia, and other mental disorders, as well as such stress-related physical disorders as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.

In addition, recent psychology research shows that messy environment taxes the brain. When surrounded by clutter, brains are so busy registering all the things around us that child can’t focus on what he or she should be doing in the moment, such as tackling the study on his desk or assignment he is working on.

We feel distracted, stressed, and anxious, and it cause procrastination to go back to study.

Now, we understood what messiness cause our children. Now, let us find out why tidying up improves our children’s performance and school scores.

Why tidying up improves child’s performance and school scores

Several studies show that tidy desk results in a higher evaluation of child’s character and capacity. This raises self -esteem and increases child’s motivation. As a result, the child study harder and his or her performance improves.

Research shows that clutter decreases the joy we feel in the room for two main reasons. First, it overwhelms the brain. The more stuff we have around us, the more overloaded the brain becomes. This makes it harder for us to recognize, experience, and savor those things that are most important to us – the things that bring us joy.

Second, when we are inundated with things, information, and tasks, we lose our sense of control and the ability to choose and no longer capable of taking the initiative or choosing our actions.

To make matters worse, when people feel they are no longer in control, they being to accumulate more unwanted stuff while also struggling with a sense of guilt and pressure to do something about it. The result? They put off dealing with their stuff indefinitely, generating a vicious cycle of ever-increasing clutter.

Okay, we now understood the importance of the tidying up and declutter our child’s room. How do we actually do it?

Many parents or children are struggle with it because child is not 100% sure what to keep and what not. And, child does not want to deal with it because either he does not know how to tidy up by categories or try to avoid the stress associated with it and procrastinate the task instead.

The best option is teaching our child how to clean up by category and let him tidy up his room so it becomes his habit and this life essential habit will serve him in their life time.

According to International Tidy Up Specialist, Marie Kondo, the secret to tidy up and achieve no rebound which is the most common problems after tidying up is “Tidy by category, quickly and completely, all in one go.”

Step #1) Tidy Up All In One Go.

Many people tidy up one section after another over a period of days or weeks. This will never achieve complete tidiness and rebound will eventually happen.

If your child wants to tidy up so completely that he never reverts to clutter again, aim for one simple goal: knowing where everything in his space belongs. What kinds of things do your child have and how many? Where does he keep them? What types of items tend to increase due to the nature of his study, and when that happens, where will he put them? Only once he has a solid grasp of all these things can he says he has tidied up.

Okay, how can we achieve that? Answer is to tidy entire space by category, All in One Go.

If your child tidies the top of his desk today, the first drawer tomorrow, and another the next day, throwing out things little by little when he has time, he will never put his space in order.

The first step is to set aside a block of time for tidying. Then, gather all the items he has by category and decide which he should keep and which he should discard. Once he has done that, decide where to store the things he is keeping. To tidy up properly, again, “Tidy by category, quickly and completely, all in one go.”

Now, the first and the most important question to ask is “What does my child keep and what to discard?”

The answer to the question is what’s important to his study and school project.

There are three types of things that your child should keep.

The first are things that brings joy for your child personally, such as a favorite pen, a memo pad with a design your child like, or a photo of your child love to keep. Yes, these things does not directly contribute quality of study or school work but it helps your child to keep coming back to his desk or room and enjoy studying which is very important.

The second type are things that are functional and help your child’s study, things your child use frequently like staples or scotch tape. They do not particularly bring joy, but they make your child’s daily life easier. Just having them lets your child relax and focus on his/her study.

The third type are things that will lead to future necessity. Books and Papers related to a school study and project, if your child complete that school work conscientiously, be a plus for your child’s school scores.

So remember these three categories: things that directly bring joy to your child, those that provide functional benefit, and those that lead to future benefit. These are your child’s criteria for choosing what to keep in your child’s study place and desk.

And, now let us go into each category more in depth to help your child clearly understand what and how to store them.

Category 1: Books

Books are filled with valuable knowledge that can help your child to do school works and studies. However, not all books are required all at the same time.

When tidying up books, again begin by gathering them all in one spot. Don’t skip this step. Books that have stayed too long on the shelf have become part of the scenery. Your child’s mind doesn’t register them, even when they are directly in his line of sight, and that makes it hard to decide which ones are really needed. Only by taking each one in your child’s hands can he actually sees them as separate entities.

If you find it hard to judge whether or not a particular book is needed, let your child asking himself certain questions. For example, does this book were used often or just sitting idle all the time? Does your child want to read it again? If it is a book your child hasn’t read yet, decide if he still needs it. If it does not have any certain needs and it does not provide any joy to your child, it is most likely not need it and better move them on.

Category 2: Papers

After books, the next category is papers.  Dealing with papers is usually the most time consuming part of tidying a study room. Even today, when smartphones and tablets have become the most used item for study as well as play, students still tend to have a lot of paper.

The fundamental rule for papers is actually to discard everything. It does not mean that your child should eliminate school assignment or handout papers entirely. It means choose only those that are absolutely necessary and to discard the rest.

Papers seem to accumulate before we realize it. Sheets of paper are so slim; we often hang on to them without really thinking.

Yet when we need to sort them, that process becomes time consuming because we have to make sure we know the content of them.

Worse, the more papers we accumulate, the more time it takes to find particular documents or reports, and the harder they are to put in order. For this reason, it is strongly recommended setting aside a block of time on your child’s calendar just for tidying papers.

As with other categories, start by gathering all your child’s papers together in one spot and looking at each one.

So what papers does your child should keep?

It is those that need some kind of action such as school assignment, study papers, study notes, Classroom Hand Out that must be reviewed.

If your child doesn’t need to keep the originals, he can scan them and store them electronically instead.

If any papers that does not require action now or near future, then they can be discarded.

Rebound is a very common problem when people hang on to things “just because,” so keep your child in mind that the basic rule for papers is to discard them all.

Now you and your child have sorted out all papers.

How do we store papers so they never rebound?

Rule 1: Categorize every paper down to the last one

Start by sorting your papers into clear categories, such as school assignment, Classroom Note, School Report and so on by each subject.

Make sure every paper is sorted into a category.

Rule 2: Store papers upright

Do you know people who are always asking, “where did that file go?” Often it is because they are piling their files in stacks on their desk. There are two disadvantages to stacking papers.

First, it is difficult to determine how much you have, so you don’t notice how much you are accumulating over time. And end up with a messy desk. Second, you forget about the files at the bottom of the pile and waste time looking for them.

For optimal efficiency, it is crucial to store papers in a hanging-file system. Put each category of papers in a separate folder and store them in a filing cabinet, folder or upright in a filing box placed on a shelf. Storing them this way makes it easy for your child to see how many papers he has. It also looks neat and tidy.

Rule 3: Check storage status regular basis.

Once your child has sorted papers and decided where each category belongs, determine the maximum amount of space your child has available for storing them.

When any of category papers exceed this storage capacity, papers will begin to overflow. That is a signal that your child needs to re-examine what’s there. Check for papers that no longer need to be saved, and let them go. By checking regularly like this, your child can keep papers tidy at all times and never rebound.

Okay, our children now understood how to categorize books and papers.

Now, where should my child store them so they can easily access and achieve clean inviting study space in his room?

Good question and let us discuss Study Desk and Storage Space

Once your child has chosen only those things that are important to him, it’s time to store them. There are three basic rules for storage.

Rule 1: Designate a place to store each item and store by category.

The reason people rebound after they have gone to all the work of tidying up is that they don’t decide where each item belongs.

Because they don’t know where to put things after they have used them, their space gets cluttered again. That is why your child would want to decide where to store each item. It is so much easier to keep things tidy if he gets into the habit of immediately putting each item back where it belongs.

It’s important not to scatter storage for things in the same category. Storing everything in the same category in the same place lets you see at a glance how much you have. This has added benefits. Once you know what you have, you no longer accumulate excess or buy unnecessary items.

In a common child’s study room, the basic storage layout for standard study desk is to store cards, stationery supplies in the top drawer; electrical, personal care, and food related items in the second drawer; and documents and papers in the third drawer. Make adjustments as needed and create a space in which your child feels comfortable studying.

Rule 2: Use boxes and store things upright

The amount of storage space in a desk is very limited especially children’s desk, so you will want to maximise its effectiveness. Boxes are great storage solution for this. You can use boxes of various sizes as drawer dividers. Store items in the same category in one that suits their size and shape, such as a small box for items like small stationery items such as post-it notes, paper clip, staples etc.

Any type of box that fits in your drawer will be a great storage tool. You can buy boxes specifically for this purpose or use any empty ones you have on hand in your home. Business card boxes and smartphone or tablet packages are great because they are just the right dimensions to fit inside a desk drawer and making them very easy to use.

The secret is to store everything standing upright as much as possible. This not only looks neater but maximises the available space. All items that the right height should be stored upright.

Rule 3: As a rule, don’t store anything on top of desk.

The desktop is a work surface, not a storage cupboard, so the rule of thumb is to store nothing on it.

Pick a spot in your drawers and on your shelves for each item or category. The only things on your child’s desk should be whatever he needs right now for the study or assignment he is working on and nothing else.

Designate a storage space even for things your child uses daily, such as a pen or memo pad.

Once your child experiences how a neat and tidy desk enables him to focus on his study, he will quickly become addicted to that state.

To sum up, store by category, use boxes, and don’t store anything on top of your desk. Keep these three rules in mind. Decide where every item belongs and know exactly what your child has, down to the smallest items. Then, your child’s room will never get messy or filled with clutter but neat and tidy that invites your child to keep on studying.


Happy learning…



(Reference: Joy at Work – Marie Kondo & Scott Sonenshein, 2020)

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