Create a Study Space Free of Clutter

Study space

Photojournalist Ralph Morse snapped one of the most famous pictures of his career on the day Albert Einstein died. The photo captured Einstein’s unoccupied office, and the room is a total mess. Einstein’s desk is covered with unruly piles of paper and the bookshelves are filled with publications that look like they’ve been stuffed in helter skelter. It’s a surprisingly chaotic environment for one of the greatest minds in science, but that cluttered approach worked for Einstein. He once defended his brand of chaos by quipping, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?”

For many people though, a messy work environment is a source of anxiety, and a major roadblock to success. Whether you’re like Einstein or you’re someone who can’t leave the house in the morning without making your bed, you should understand what kind of environment works for you. If you do function best in an orderly environment, try the following tips to create a clutter-free space to work and study at home.

Dedicated Space

The first step in organizing your workspace is to lay claim to a specific area. With laptops and other mobile devices, it’s easy to just flop down on the couch and work from there. That casual approach to working or studying, however, makes it easy to get distracted. If you have a dedicated work area, you’ll be more inclined to focus on the task at hand. A dedicated workspace can serve as a good visual clue to other people living in your home. They will begin to respect your work zone and refrain from disturbing you when you’re seated at your work station.

Remove Absolutely Everything

Clutter is usually the result of many years of passive accumulation. Start the decluttering process by removing everything from your workspace and starting over with a blank slate. If you discover that you continually need something while you’re working, then you can reintroduce that item. This process will quickly sift out the necessary tools from the clutter.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Do you tend to hold onto things simply because you think you could possibly need them at some point in the future? Even if you really can’t bring yourself to throw stuff away, you can at least reduce the visible clutter by stashing items in concealed areas such as drawers, cabinets, and storage bins. Try to keep these areas as organized as possible to impose a sense of order on your stash. Check your local office supply store for dividers, trays, folders, and other items to organize your storage.

Everything in Its Place

Make sure everything in and around your work station has a designated home. Too often, areas become cluttered simply because you put things down with the expectation that you’ll find a place to store it later. Once you assign a home for everything, commit to putting everything away at the end of each study session. This tactic will prevent the build-up of clutter.

These changes may not transform you into the next Einstein, but they could help you evolve into a better version of you. Remove the distracting clutter and become a more focused student and worker.



Written by Erik Siwak, Communications Manager for Bridgepoint Education



Cosgrove, B. (2014, March 14). The Day Albert Einstein Died: A Photographer’s Story. Retrieved January 11, 2017, from

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