De-Clutter for the Better: Reasons and Tricks to Tidy Up Your Student Accommodation

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As a university student, you are likely to live in some type of student accommodation.  And yes, it is called a ‘student’ accommodation for a reason – you should not expect to find yourself living in a plush room with 5-star hotel amenities. But then again, feeling crammed inside your own room is the last thing you want to experience whilst you are busy conquering university life. So how could you overcome this situation? Sarah Teja is here to introduce you to the ‘de-clutter for the better’ notion, to encourage you to regularly and methodically clean up the mess in your student accommodation.

Having lived abroad since I was sixteen, it is safe to say that the average size of a student room is on the small side, which directly translates to a tight living and storage space. Fear not, however.  As long as you are committed in keeping your space clean and treating it like your personal sanctuary, you may not have to deal with messiness that is synonymous with university student rooms.

A reason for and tips on how to de-clutter for the better:

  1. De-cluttering Eliminates Your Stress

I understand that most people would not start to feel the urgency to de-clutter or tidy up their rooms until the end of year.  Why? It is usually when the result of a year long of hoarding becomes utterly obvious a.k.a takes up too much space in your room.  Well, to mitigate the stress that is commonly associated with clutter (there is a study done by UCLA which essentially says that there is a link between rising levels of diurnal cortisol, a way of measuring stress, with overstuffed rooms – to read more about it http://magazine.ucla.edu/features/the-clutter-culture/index1.html).  Therefore, de-cluttering your personal space might allow you to perform and think better in university, as it eliminates any unnecessary stress from a room overloaded with stuff.

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2.  The KonMari Method

Getting yourself to start de-cluttering might seem overwhelming, especially when you have way too many things to begin with.  One is usually unsure about the things which need to be kept or be rid of.  Over the summer, I came across Marie Kondo, the famous Japanese cleaning/organizing guru and author of the world-wide best-selling The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, when I had the chance to read the manga version of her popular book.  After finishing her manga, I must say that she has some very handy tips to all you who feel helpless in the mess.

Her ‘rules’, the KonMari Method, revolve around decluttering per category, not per location.  So, instead of thinking ‘Oh, I want to tidy my closet or kitchen area’, you should probably say ‘I want to sort out my books or clothes’.  This works rather well, because if you can gather, say all of your clothes, in one place, you would be able to make better decisions, because you know exactly how many pieces (and types) of clothing you have.  Even more important, Marie taught me to ask myself, ‘Does it spark joy?’, whenever I am looking at an item in question in front of me.  Often times, it is difficult to decide whether to keep or let things go. According to Marie, keep the ones which spark joy inside you and throw out those which do not.

If you are interested to learn more about the KonMari Method, please visit her webpage https://konmari.com/about/the-method/

3.  Donate Your Items

Now that you have successfully separated the things you would like to keep from the ones you want to throw out, the question is ‘Do I have to literally toss them into the bin?’.  The answer to that depends entirely on the state of the things in question.  Just by using common sense, if they are all raggedy, it might be best to discard them straight into the bin.  However, if you feel that others could still make use of your items, perhaps donating them would be a better option.

When I was packing my stuff to move out at the end of my first year at university, my student accommodation had this giant box near the reception, which was purposely placed there for students to put their unwanted things.  These gathered items were then donated to a charity.  Charities’ presence in the UK are quite noticeable, as you can easily find some of their stores on the high street selling pre-loved items for fundraising purposes.  For example, charities with most fundraising income include Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, Macmillan Cancer Support, Oxfam, and many more.  However, not all accommodations provide assistance for students to donate their belongings.  In that case, my advice would be to find a nearest church in where you live as they are usually very happy to accept donations so long as the items are in good conditions.

4.  When You Choose to Send Your Belongings Home

Now, I know that most students would have items that they would still like to keep, but have very limited space in their accommodation to do so.  Also, when you are tidying up your belongings as approach the end of your study, you may not enough space nor a kilo left in your 30-kg-luggage-allowance (assuming an average university student flies economy) and paying overweight luggage fees may not always be a viable option.  Taking such scenarios into consideration, it might be better to send some of your belongings back home via cargo.

I personally have not used cargo service yet, but it would probably be best to ask around and compare cargo companies in terms of their price, quality of service, friends’ referrals.  But, just beware that there is also a risk to using cargo in shipping your stuff home.  Recently, Trico Freight UK, a company that provides shipping services to Indonesia, had a huge fire in its warehouse and so many of its customers’ belongings were destroyed. Learning from that incident, just make sure that you don’t send your valuable items, e.g. laptop, documents, and etc via cargo, to minimize the risks.

I hope that you this column helpful and happy de-cluttering!

Photos provided by author