How-to get organized for school

By Savannah Epperson, News Editor

Many people struggle with getting and staying organized. They go about it with shame rather than figuring out what works for them. Students often get bad grades due to ineffectual organization and will struggle with guilt. When kids are younger, adults keep them organized, make sure that they have everything in their backpacks, and that they did their homework. Teachers would hold their hands and make sure that they got work done. All the while, some kids never learned how to organize themselves, preferring instead to rely on others around them to keep them organized.

It does not matter how messy the pile is, just get it out of the backpack and onto a table (Photo by Savannah Epperson).

Now is the time to learn. 

To start, take all of the random, floating papers and set them on a surface. Make sure the backpack is clear of all food and clean, so no crumbs get on the papers. Do not start sorting anything yet, get everything out of the backpack. All of the garbage, the chargers, headphones, that random pen that got lost at the beginning of the year. Take it all out. Once the backpack is completely empty, move on to step 2.

Go to the store and buy some folders and notebooks if they are not already at home. A planner is also necessary. This will help with keeping track of assignments and due dates. Before leaving the store, find labels. They will probably be in the stationary aisle or the craft aisle. Once those things are in the cart, grab a pencil case and binder if they are not already at home. Now leave the store. 

After the store, begin sorting the pile of papers. Dump the purchases on the bed or floor and ignore them. They are not important right now. Once the papers are sorted, pick up the folders and notebooks. Grab the labels and choose a colored folder and notebook for each class. The color for each class doesn’t matter as long as each class has a color. Once the notebooks and folders are sorted into separate classes, make the labels: take a pen or marker and write each class name and period on the labels. Attach one label to each folder and notebook. Set aside.

The color matters very little; just get the folders laid out on a surface so they are easier to organize. (Photo by Savannah Epperson)

Next, sort out any old or crusty/dusty papers that are no longer needed: those are going in the garbage. Good. Now take the brand-new folders and the papers. On one side of the folder, write “Homework”. On the other side, write “Study”. Doing so will help differentiate between the materials needed for tests versus the easy points homework.

Once that is finished, sort each pile of papers into their respective sides of the folders. Any papers that do not fit in one of those two categories, set to the side.

Take out the planner and open it up to this week’s dates. Take a separate notebook or piece of paper and write down everything that needs to be done. From that list, sort everything into each class and then sort them by the day they need to be done.

If the teacher posts a calendar, use it. This will help keep tests and assignments organized. Know as much ahead of time as possible. After the list is sorted, transfer it to the days on the planner.

A well-organized backpack makes it so materials are easy to see and use. (Photo by Savannah Epperson)

After that, begin returning items to the backpack. This can be done anyway, but placing the folders in class order is a good way to stay organized throughout the school day. Place the planner in the backpack and rearrange all of the things that got taken out.

Once that is done, pick up the binder and the papers that were set aside. Sort them back into classes and place them in class order in the binder. These will likely be syllabi or other information that falls into neither of the two folder categories. Put the binder away somewhere safe.

Place all pens, pencils and markers that are for school in the pencil case and tuck that into the backpack. This is all an easy process that will help with organization and keeping track of assignments. 

Please stop shoving papers into a backpack: all that does is mess up the system and destroy organization. Just remember that this is a process and Rome was not built in a day, so do not automatically expect to know this method, and keep up the routine, on the first day. It takes time and patience to stay consistently organized.

Most importantly, do not get organized out of shame; do it to make life easier.