How many times have you heard your parents say "go clean your room," while you were living under their roof?

You might not want to hear it, but for all those first-year university and college kids, this is the exact type of nagging that still should be echoing in your head.

A recent survey by Professional Organizers in Canada showed for most students who feel disorganized at the beginning of the year -- at least 67 per cent of university students and 63 per cent of college students -- over half of them face time-management issues. The biggest problem? At least 55 per cent of these students feel their current office and study space doesn't work in their favour.

Jacki Brown, president of Professional Organizers in Canada, says before new students take the plunge of independence, they should invest in a good storage unit.

"You don't have Mom and Dad or high school teachers nagging you around anymore. You have to have self-discipline and work with a good storage system for your room," she says.

Brown suggests setting up a desk for studying, investing in a good backpack and starting a filing system to keep your first year clutter free.

You should also keep in mind how you actually manage your time. Hit the campus pub or study for your exam? You could do both. Brown says many first-year students (and people in general, for that matter) often overestimate the amount of time they have to do a task.

"It usually takes 20 to 30 per cent more time than you think it takes to get tasks done," she says. "Start your habits early in the semester."

So why a clean desk? Think about your health. One study found that messy desks can store up to 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat.

So if you want to avoid working in the bathroom stall for the rest of the semester, here are 8 ways to get your desk from messy to squeaky clean:

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  • Write Down Everything

    The first tip for academic success? Keep everything academic related written down and handy. Use an agenda, notebook or calender on your phone to track down your major assignments, deadlines and application dates.

  • Seriously, Invest In A Desk

    A desk -- you need one. Sitting at your desk will not only give you a clean canvas to work with but it is handy for keeping your books and supplies organized.

  • Don't Get Fancy

    Brown suggests using one bag to store all your school needs. If you are using multiple bags (or no bags at all), you have a higher chance of misplacing important files or leaving assignments at home.

  • Start Filing

    Brown also suggests filing during your first year. Track your receipts, important documents and any tax files for the end of the year.

  • Colour Code

    Colouring coding can also help you stay organized. Brown recommends using different coloured books for each of your classes.

  • Form A Textbook Bond

    Keep your textbooks in one place. Either create a section on your desk or keep them in a bin in your locker.

  • Find A Place For Your Clothes

    Clothes -- don't get them mixed up with your school supplies. Yes, we understand that most teens will be living in their own nests for the first time, but one easy way to avoid losing papers is by separating them from your personal junk.

  • Get A Garbage Bin

    Brown suggests investing in a garbage and recycling bin to ensure you don't throw out an important files by accident.

Are Twitter users keeping their desks clean?


Steven Goldman
You know your desk is too messy when you can misplace a full 12-oz can of soda in a roughly 12" x 12" space.

Write Down Everything:
The first tip for academic success? Keep everything academic related written down and handy. Use an agenda, notebook or calender on your phone to track down your major assignments, deadlines and application dates.

Seriously, Invest In A Desk:
A desk -- you need one. Sitting at your desk will not only give you a clean canvas to work with but it is handy for keeping your books and supplies organized.

Don't Get Fancy:
Brown suggests using one bag to store all your school needs. If you are using multiple bags (or no bags at all), you have a higher chance of misplacing important files or leaving assignments at home.

Start Filing:
Brown also suggests filing during your first year. Track your receipts, important documents and any tax files for the end of the year.

Colour Code:
Colouring coding can also help you stay organized. Brown recommends using different coloured books for each of your classes.

Form A Textbook Bond:
Keep your textbooks in one place. Either create a section on your desk or keep them in a bin in your locker.

Find A Place For Your Clothes:
Clothes -- don't get them mixed up with your school supplies. Yes, we understand that most teens will be living in their own nests for the first time, but one easy way to avoid losing papers is by separating them from your personal junk.

Get A Bin:
Brown suggests investing in a garbage and recycling bin to ensure you don't throw out an important files by accident.

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