September 01, 2009

Prevent a Cluttered Backpack

The backpack's purpose is to carry study material, homework and extracurricular items to and from school. However, many people - not just students - regard the backpack as a permanent home for things. In other words, once an item is put in the backpack it is "put away." From this perspective, a backpack's design must have many sections and pockets to properly house items and be organized.

But, a backpack-as-permanent home results in a overstuffing and forgotten items. On the other hand, if you consider the backpack as a transition tool, the requirements become much simpler and there is a greater likelihood for order.

Smaller is usually better. The backpack should be just big enough to carry what is needed in the next 24 hours and not the contents of the locker.

Keep the design simple. Often, two pockets or sections are enough in a backpack. The smaller pocket holds the small stuff like the pencil case and the lunch bag, and the bigger pocket holds the books and binders. Adding more pockets than what is needed will result in items getting lost.

Empty daily. Once the contents are out of the backpack it's easy to see what needs to be done and what needs to be put away. As homework is completed, put it in the backpack. Once at school, put items in the locker and hang up the backpack. If your child has difficulty remembering what to pack in her backpack, attach a small laminated checklist to the backpack with a binder ring.

Dedicating the backpack to transporting items rather than housing them reduces clutter and lightens the load the student must carry. The student's back will thank you. Parents, as a twist read this again substituting the words  "briefcase" for "backpack" and "office" for "locker."

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Clear Spaces owner Denise Lee merges seven years of social service experience and seventeen years experience in Information Technology to bring you effective and personal organizing solutions for the home, the small business and the student. The Clear Spaces approach is holistic -- empowering you to live the life you want to live.

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