As the snow starts to melt and the first buds appear on the trees, our thoughts inevitably turn to spring. With spring, comes the sense of renewal we often crave at this time of the year. Indeed, our desire for a fresh start often finds expression in the annual “spring cleaning” rituals that sweep away the clutter and debris accumulated over those long and dark winter months.

However, spring cleaning isn’t just for homes! Students, as well, can benefit from a bit of “sprucing up” as they embark on the final months of the school year. This is an especially busy and stressful time—a whirlwind of essays, projects, tests, and of course, the dreaded final exams. Rather than feel overwhelmed by the weight of it all, channel the spirit of spring cleaning into your academic life with a few easy steps:

Cull the Paper Chaos


First, go through all of your accumulated papers from the beginning of term. This includes handouts, class notes, task sheets, marked assignments—all of those papers that lie creased at the bottom of your school bag or stuffed haphazardly into the pockets of your binders. Determine what you should keep and what can be discarded and then file the remaining documents chronologically and according to subject and unit of study. If needed, invest in a few new binders to replace any that have become damaged or tattered throughout the year. In addition to feeling rejuvenated, you’ll be much more organized when it comes to reviewing all of the term’s learning for the final exam.


Revitalize Your Study Space


Don’t forget to spring clean your work area, as well. Clear the clutter off your desk at home, organize your materials and supplies, and wipe down your work surfaces.  A clean and tidy work area can do wonders in fostering a mental “reset” that propels you forward in your studies. When you are finished, brighten up your work space with a small plant or an inspirational quote in a funky frame—anything that helps personalize your space and inspires you to forge ahead.


Plan it Out


Finally, carefully plan out the rest of your school schedule. To the best of your ability, identify your remaining assignments and projects and prioritize them according to their due dates. Think in weekly or two-week chunks, determine what needs to be completed in that time frame, and then add those tasks to your “to do” list. Many people like to use a physical journal or an erasable wall calendar, but there is also a plethora of time-management apps especially tailored to students. My Study Life and myHomework are two popular examples. Most of these apps are available for free (or for a nominal cost), work on both Android and iOS platforms, synch across multiple devices, and can even send ongoing reminders so that you never fall off schedule! Take some time  to research your options and choose the one that best suits your needs and personal style.

With a few simple steps, you can banish the winter doldrums and put your best foot forward in the remaining few months of school. Spring into it!