Recently the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo has received an astounding amount of attention, and its tips have Millennials and super moms alike across the nation excited.
The book is a New York Times bestseller, and for good reason; the ideas are innovative and unique, and can even be used by college students. Coming to college, we get a small half of a dorm room (or less if you’re an unlucky forced-triple freshman) and are expected to keep it under control for one whole year. The task can be daunting, and a huge shift from your room at home.
Here are some Japanese-inspired tips on how to keep your dorm room clean and make it a feel-good place.
- Reflect on what you want to use your space for.
This may seem cliché and just another Jesuit saying that we here at BC are instilling upon students, however, this step is vital.
Think about the space you have. What do you want to do there? Do you want to actually use your desk for studying, or use it as a vanity for cosmetics? Do you want your room to be social and open for people to sit in, or do you want a strict line between bedroom halves?
Considering your options and reflecting on how you want to use your space will make it easy to rearrange your standard furniture to your liking. If you desire a more social room, consider putting your beds in an “L” shape along a corner of the room. That will free up carpet space and leave more room for activities.
If studying is the last thing that is going to happen at your desk, use that to your advantage and create that flat surface as an area that you will actually use for something practical, like board games or a vanity.
- Only keep items that give you a “spark of joy.”
Kondo’s most illuminating principle is to only keep things that give you a “spark of joy.”
This purging of unnecessary items could start with clothes. Hopefully, you did not bring too many clothes that you don’t find joy in to college, but aim to get your closet to only the clothes that make you feel best.
You may find yourself feeling attached to clothes that may have been expensive or unique, but if you’re never going to wear them again, they are doing you no good taking up space. Bring them to a local consignment shop and you may even get some money in exchange.
If you’ve been eyeing that tapestry for a few months on Urban, consider it as something that will put you in a better mood every time you walk into your room. You might even purchase it with the money you earned selling those useless, old clothes.
- Fold and roll your clothes so that they stand up vertically.
This idea is groundbreaking. When clothes are rolled, they don’t wrinkle, and you are able to see each item easily whenever you open your drawers. To save space, roll up each piece of clothing and stand them up vertically so that at a quick glace, you can assess all of your options.
- Have a designated place for everything.
Making the room look good is only one part of organization. The harder issue is keeping it neat and tidy over time. Every little item needs a space for itself.
If the item has passed the test of bringing you joy, make a permanent place for it.
After studying late into the night, you will be able to come back to your dorm and plop down everything in its designated place without even bothering with complete dorm cleaning sessions on Sunday afternoons. Some of the easiest fixes are coincidentally the simplest.
Empty your backpack every night. Are there empty Doritos bags or Honest Tea bottles that you finished on the go? Toss them or recycle them. Getting into class the next morning with an entire meal of empties is sure to put anyone in an annoyed mood.
The central idea of Kondo’s book is to give people the freedom to channel their energy and drive into activities that matter and feed their soul. Throwing away things that create tension and dread will provide you with a new sense of energy and purpose. Your room will feel like a new home, somewhere safe and comfortable to come home to after any day, good or bad.
Grew up on the shore of Connecticut, and destined to travel the world. In the mean time, BC is her favorite place to be. She likes to write, and loves to talk. She also greatly enjoys green tea, grapefruits and cats.