Despite my inherent revulsion to organization, there are times when I become consumed with an overwhelming compulsion to organize. Those times happen to fall right around midterms and finals. Coincidence? I think not. Unfortunately, I’m a chronic procrastinator, and organizing my apartment is my procrastinating drug of choice. It manages to knock my stress level down just enough to prevent me from having a breakdown in the library during midterms.
Okay, Maybe I Haven’t Cleaned Out My Backpack in 2 Months…So?
By the time midterms roll around, your gargantuan-sized bag has accumulated a horrifying layer of sediment at the bottom. You don’t want to walk into a midterm and frantically paw through a two-inch layer of discarded change, Splenda packets, crumpled sticky notes, and Emergen-C packets just to find a pen. On the bright side, it may have taken two months for your bag to reach this point, but it only takes about five minutes to clean it out. The best strategy is to spread out a trash bag and just dump everything out. Then shake. I’m serious, a surprising number of hidden bobby pins or pens will always fall out. Just don’t regard everything as trash immediately. Sometimes that lost flash drive or missing twenty will show up and that’s the ultimate procrastination bonus.
Find the Time, Go to the Laundromat
Believe me, I know all too well how alluring it is to put off that dreaded trip to the laundromat. Sure, you can survive without doing laundry for about a month, but dirty clothes will take over your entire closet. So when you’re desperate for more ways to put off studying for your bio test, take a stab at doing your 5,000 pounds of laundry. Have procrastination work with you, not against you: realizing you’ve unknowingly run out of clean underwear the morning of a midterm can be enough to launch a full-scale meltdown. Even if you strategically pick out just the yoga pants and sweatshirts to wash, at least you’re making a dent!
All Ya Have to do is Fold it…
The first five minutes at the laundromat may seem like a fun shout out to the 90’s, but after about four hours all that motivation to do anything but study usually wears off. You have to power through and find some extra procrastination motivation to actually put away your clothes once you get them home. Living in a perpetual state of wrinkled dress shirts and bent bra underwire because you dumped your clean clothes in the corner of your room is not worth it. Maybe getting up earlier so you have time to paw through the pile each morning is do-able the rest of the year, but not during midterms. Those extra ten minutes of sleep count.
When In Doubt, Throw It Out
The amount of time you spend procrastinating tends to directly reflect your stress level. If midterms seem more stressful than usual, take the extra time you’ll undoubtedly spend watching Dance Moms and clean the bathroom. Those drawers need it; it’s amazing how many mascara-smeared tissues manage to accumulate in them by midterms. While you’re already avoiding the library, it’s never a bad idea to take the graveyard of crusty uncapped chapsticks, forgotten bottles of contact solution and half-used hair products, and throw it all away. Seriously, just take the entire drawer out of the vanity and shake it all into the garbage. I’m all for those the procrastination-fueled, organizational rampages, but you have to pick your battles and this isn’t one of them.
Really Don’t Want to Study? Alphabetize the Condiments
You can even relieve a little finals stress by making the kitchen a stop on the procrastination express. Usually the kitchen is kept pretty tidy, but everything is fair game during finals week. I’ve found putting the condiments in alphabetical order and consolidating the menagerie of tea packets into a single zip-lock can feel surprisingly rewarding. Washing out the crumb-catcher of the toaster is also an ace if you want to make your day feel totally productive, even if you haven’t even cracked open a single book.
Clean Off Your Desk and You’ll Find It
I promise that old test you misplaced two months ago but now desperately need to study is probably under that pile on your desk. Throughout the year, desks become the victims of our inability to organize; they host an impressive collection of clothes, uneaten granola bars, empty wine bottles and half-finished craft projects. Don’t freak, just spend five minutes hanging up clothes, throwing out the trash and at the very least straightening the mish-mash of papers into a neat pile. It can make a pretty incredible dent.
Procrastination comes in every flavor. From binge-watching Netflix to starting a blog to adding filters to all your old iPhone photos, picking a way to kill time is like walking into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. There are endless possibilities. You just have to know when not to fall in the chocolate river, because procrastination can be sweet but will just as easily screw you over. Getting a little spring-cleaning done in lieu of going crazy in the library can be a great way to de-stress. Just know when to realize it’s actually crunch time before it’s too late. I promise, explaining to your mom that you failed your midterm but now have a color-coded closet won’t go over as well as you’d think.