Teens should sort through the clutter before school starts up again

Teens in the Newsroom ProgramJuly 23, 2013 

The old proverb runs that cleanliness is next to godliness. If that really is the case, and if you're anything like me, you may open your closet or your dresser drawers and groan in dismay.

As a student leaving for college, I've recently been clearing out the debris from the hurricane that used to be my room. Here are some handy tips and tricks for you to do some summer cleaning as well.

First, let's tackle the closet. I must confess that I am a sentimental pack rat who hoards away anything that has potential value or ability to inspire even the slightest memory.

Plastic storage bins or wooden baskets are useful for storing old letters, cards and hand-drawn pictures. Recycle that which you can't remember the occasion or origin of, and don't be afraid to investigate the nooks and crannies where you've shoved all the items with which you didn't want to deal.

Sort through all the clothes hanging up and donate the pieces you no longer wear. Throw away the items that are too old to be of any use anymore, or make them into dust rags.

To make more room on your hanger rack, purchase Wonder Hangers, which allow multiple jackets or dresses to be hung and then collapsed downward to create more space. You'll be amazed at the results.

Get a shoe rack to display all your dress shoes without cluttering up more shelves.

The desk is also a monster when it comes to eating everything you put on or into it. Yank open the drawers and be careful about inhaling too much dust. Sift through the stacks of papers, reports, envelopes or files that have accumulated and keep only the necessities.

Test all the pens sitting in that pen cup and throw away the ones that have run out of ink.

Small binders or hanging file folders are useful for organizing information you wish to keep but don't necessarily need out all the time. Old school notebooks and reports may or may not hold value for you anymore, but don't be afraid to let go.

Toss in the trash any small office appliances that no longer function correctly, such as a stapler or pencil sharpener.

The other two apparatuses that should be kept orderly are the dresser and the bookshelf. If you're up to the task, pick a shelf on the bookshelf to peruse for any books in bad condition or novels you no longer read. The former will find a new shelf in the trash can. The latter can be donated to a local library. The same holds true for children's books that are no longer needed or old textbooks that have no further use.

When it comes to organizing your dresser, use the same strategy as with the closet. Sort through all the clothes in the drawers and throw away any beyond repair. Donate to a thrift store or organization such as Haven Women's Center the items you no longer need or want but that still can be worn.

Clear off any unsightly or annoying knickknacks from the top of the dresser, and be sure to dust EVERYTHING.

Now that you know a little bit about what you probably should clean and a few ways to do so, don't procrastinate. Just roll up your sleeves and get 'er done!

Emily Hoeksema is a graduate of Ripon Christian High School and a member of the Teens in the Newsroom Program.

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