Why some kids have messy backpacks

By Gretchen Vierstra, MA

Most people would agree: A book bag or backpack that’s overflowing with things that are randomly thrown in is messy. Do kids with messy backpacks not see the mess? Or do they not care about it?

For some kids, messiness is a choice. There are things they’d rather be doing than cleaning up and getting organized. If it’s up to them, they’re going to do the stuff that’s interesting and fun. Having to sift through a mess is a chore. But if they need to get it together and clean up, they have no trouble doing it.

For other kids, organizing a backpack (and keeping it that way) is a real challenge. Messiness isn’t a choice. They simply have a hard time staying organized. That’s because cleaning up a messy backpack involves a bunch of steps. And it requires skills like staying focused and planning.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Gretchen Vierstra, MA is the managing editor at Understood and co-host of the 

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Bob Cunningham, EdM serves as executive director of learning development at Understood.