How to Be Organized in School

Five Parts:Organizing Your School GearOrganizing Your SchoolworkStaying Mentally OrganizedKeeping Your Homework OrganizedStaying Tidy at School

Do you always seem to be the only one without their assignment for classes? Do you want to be less stressed about school work? Do you ever want to be one of those "perfect" know-it-alls who are always early for class? If so, then this article is for you!

Part 1
Organizing Your School Gear

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    Get supplies that you may need, but don't have. Being prepared is important. Even if that certain item wasn't on the supplies list, you should get it if you really feel you need it. As they say, "It's better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it". Good things you might need:
    • Number 2/HB pencils or mechanical pencils
    • Tabs to mark pages
    • Folders and binders
    • Erasers
    • Paperclips
    • Mini stapler/stapler refills/staple remover
    • Planner
    • Notebooks/composition books
    • Loose-leaf paper
    • White-out.
    • Red/Black/Blue pens
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    Organize your pencil case. A pencil case is a key part of being a well-organized student. It will keep all your supplies organized and in one place.Get a Pencil case with lots of pockets for better organizing.
    • Get a quality pencil case that will last you through the school year.
    • Fill your pencil case with the supplies you will need for class: pencils, calculators, and erasers, for example.
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    Organize your backpack. Remember to keep heavier things closer to your back and the lighter things further away. If you already have an organized backpack, skip to the next step.
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    Clean out your locker. If you have a locker, it may get messy. See if the school will allow you to bring in a shelf. That way, you can put books, extra papers or supplies on one and keep them away from your other things. But before you install that shelf, rip up all the papers you don't need so they won't be copied. (Remember to clean out your locker every week or two. This will ensure that your locker will stay neat and organized.) If your school lets you come in early, take that time to clean out your locker. Bring a plastic bag if you know that your locker is messy.
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    Organize your laptop. If you use a laptop for your schoolwork, print your work out on the next opportunity you have. This can stop you from getting into trouble with your teachers or wasting a lot of time printing a bulk of papers during the weekend. Be sure you have everything on your laptop backed up in case something goes wrong.

Part 2
Organizing Your Schoolwork

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    Get a planner. Planners are most helpful. Most schools sell them, but some don't. Buy one or make your own if the school doesn't provide one. Write down your homework, tests, or club meeting dates. Write down things that you know you'll forget. Make sure to look in it before you go home so that you take home everything that you need.
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    Get some binders. You should get one binder for each different class you have. Make sure that you get different colors for each subject and label them. Getting just one binder for everything is not a good idea. The binder will become messy and crowded. And you might get papers mixed up.
    • Use tabs to label different sections in your binder (ex. Graded, Homework,Handouts, etc.).
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    Go through folders and get rid of papers you no longer need. Having all of those extra papers that you got back a month ago in your folder will make it heavy. It may bend and tear. Plastic folders are a better choice if you constantly have torn folders.
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    Put papers in folders. This may seem obvious, but put any papers you need to keep in its subject folder. Don't let loose papers mingle about. Take those extra seconds and put them in a folder. That way, you'll have them when you need them. Teachers become annoyed when they are constantly receiving crumpled papers.
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    If you have an important paper that you can afford to suffer damage, use page protectors. Another way to get organized is to use an accordion folder. Accordion folders are the folders that expand and have many places for different kinds of paper. Having all your papers in one is better than having a whole bunch of folders.
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    Use plastic sleeves or hole punch sheets to keep assignments together in your folder. This organizes everything and prevents you from losing anything.

Part 3
Staying Mentally Organized

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    Focus on your work. When you get to class, don't goof off with friends. Pay attention and write down your homework in your planner and begin any assignments. Never draw a teacher's attention to you with goofy behavior.
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    Put dates on your papers. This is a big one. Especially in high school. When you start taking notes, put the date at the top of the paper, so when you have a big test you can look back to study and everything will be in order. Doing this in history class is a major thing. Also, if a friend needs notes from a certain time you'll have it.
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    Take organized notes. Use a highlighter for the important parts. Write the date, title and home room number, in case you lose it.
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    Start projects as soon as you know what they are. When you know something is due, get your supplies as soon as possible. When you get your supplies, plan out everything that you want to be included in the project. Work on it little by little each day. Do not wait until the last minute to begin your project. The night before the project is due, look over it. See if you have missed any important steps. Put what is due in a small pile next to your backpack. If it is an essay, put it in your folder. If it is raining or snowing, put your project in your backpack or cover it with a garbage bag.
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    Worry only about yourself. If you start worrying about other people or let people copy your homework, just tell them no. Say you need to stay organized and you need to keep your grades up and you can't cost them losing your homework paper.

Part 4
Keeping Your Homework Organized

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    Start your own personal homework planner. Do your work as soon as it is assigned, so that you do not end up doing stuff at the last minute. Also, do not depend on friends to help you with homework. It is perfect if you and a friend are working together, but do not be the only one working.This should cover the free time you have after school and on weekends, etc. This can keep you in the routine of setting out your homework and weekend times, and will help you to feel much more organized and prepared.
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    At your house, designate a spot for schoolwork to be done. Have a desk with paper, pencils, pens and other school supplies in your room or in a quiet area. This is for your homework and projects. All supplies should be kept there.
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    Take everything you need back home before you leave school. You don't want to be doing homework and notice you forgot a binder or notebook.
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    Put your backpack by your desk. This will let your mind understand that this is a place for work and not a place to play.
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    Get everything you need for tomorrow ready that night. After you get done with your homework clean out your backpack and put everything that you might need for the next day back in. Take you the things you don't. (If you're not sure go ahead and put it in anyway). Put your backpack someplace you won't forget it. This way your already ready for school the next day and don't have to worry if you have everything.
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    Label homework assignments with sticky paper. Every night take all your school stuff home including binders, folders, notebooks, etc., and label it according to period, subject, and time that class starts. It is also recommended to put your current grade on the inside of the appropriate notebook/folder for that subject. It will help you stay focused on getting it higher.
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    Do homework as soon as you get it. Do it that same night before your favorite program comes on TV or you go out. If you don't, you'll risk doing it on the bus, or not doing it all (or at all) and then get in trouble with the teacher.
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    Catch up on missed work. If you're absent, do the make-up work right away. If you don't then you will get behind and maybe even miss out a whole section which might come up in some exams.

Part 5
Staying Tidy at School

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    Keep your desk tidy. If you need to clean out your desk, make sure that you clean it out before school so that you can find anything you need in your desk. If you don't have a desk, then don't worry about this one.
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    Clean out your locker, folder, or binder once a week. You probably don't need to fully clean them out, but be sure to check every once in a while.


  • Every weekend, take the time to look through your backpack and take out papers you don't need anymore. Get a filing cabinet to put in the papers and keep them organized!
  • Every day, study a little bit. This way, you won't be caught off-guard by pop quizzes.
  • Instead of studying last minute, use a planner to mark the days that you will study. Work in a quiet area.
  • Make sure to carry all your notebooks,B-Folders, files, etc., so that you can finish any assignment on time and not struggle to do it in your bus or classroom.
  • Try to buy several folders for your binder and label each one for each subject you have during school, so you could stay organized and not stuff all of your papers in one folder.
  • Do not slip any notes or papers inside of your books, even if it's just "temporary". You will risk losing them, this is especially important if your textbooks are thick. Store them in their appropriate folders in your binder, it's better to take a few seconds to store them properly than take minutes to find them, or worse, another hour or two to write new notes down or do homework again if you lose them.
  • Make sure to label your textbooks and folders - you don't want to take the wrong thing home.
  • Use some paperclips to keep your papers organized. After that keep them in a binder. If your papers had been punched with a hole, it's best to keep them in a ring file.
  • If you have trouble keeping track of your schedule, take a picture of it and make it your lock screen on your phone.
  • Keep your pencil case organized by categorizing tools and banding them together, such as putting pencils in one group and pens in another.
  • Use notebook dividers to separate important papers from other stuff in your binder.
  • If you're having trouble organizing your locker, get some little sticky pads and write down a subject such as "Math" on it. Put it on the wall of your locker and put anything you need under there; when it's time for math, just simply grab the pile.
  • Try getting a bag with many pockets for pens and other things you need. It's a lot easier than digging through your bag for your stuff and is more organized.
  • Don't overdo everything.Buy what you need only.This will save you more space in your lockers.Make sure that at least every week you make sure your lockers are clean and tidy.You should also label your notebooks and tabs so you know and don't get mixed up.
  • Make sure your school provides a school supply list. If they don't, check the school website or call the school. If it's not on the website, it's usually near the front of your planner.
  • A good backpack is everything. If yours is broken and torn and slouchy, consider getting a new one.
  • Don't buy a huge thick binder because all of your things will be in one place and hard to find. If a large binder is your only choice, that's OK too. Some binders have a built-in accordion folder and pouches to put pens, pencils, etc. If your binder doesn't have an accordion folder, buy some page dividers. Even if you do have an accordion folder, you should still get some dividers since they will help you find subjects faster and keep them in the same binder separately.
  • When you clean out your desk, don't do it during study hall. Do it during your free time or recess.
  • A good way to keep organized while cleaning out your locker and backpack is making a "trash" pile and a "keep" pile. If you share a locker, you can print this out and give it to your locker partner.
  • Have a different color folder for each subject.
  • Instead of stashing every finished worksheet that isn't nailed down in your folder like your teacher tells you, keep a "done" binder and a hole punch in your locker. Use it for papers you might need or are not sure you're really done with.
  • If you don't have lockers in class consider keeping everything in a bag/tote.
  • If you're just starting school for the year, wait a couple of weeks before buying new supplies so you don't end up buying binders that are too big/small or loose paper when you need a spiral, etc.
  • Have different color binders, folders, and notebooks for every subject.
  • If you know you are going to be typing a lot of papers and don't have a printer, consider getting one. It's better than bringing the CD or USB stick you have your paper on and putting it in the computer 5 minutes before the library closes to find out you took the wrong CD or USB, and not having your paper the next day and failing, especially if you do that a lot. Plus, it's better than paying the fee of 10 cents a paper.
  • If you are in a school that doesn't have lockers, check your timetable/schedule before you come into school, this will mean that you only bring the binders for the lessons you have that day, to avoid your bag getting too heavy.
  • Ask a friend or anyone if you need help, and if they want to help, they can; it can be a really fun project.


  • Try your best, don't give up, and remember why you're doing this.
  • Don't stress too much.
  • Some things may not be allowed in some schools, such as mechanical pencils, pencil sharpeners, or permanent markers. Check with your school or ask a teacher before you bring anything.
  • Don't expect to become organized overnight. It takes time. Try to just make one class perfect and then when you get the hang of it, you will eventually do the same with all your other classes. Also, don't leave cell phones or iPods in your bag as they might get stolen and in most schools they are not allowed.

Things You'll Need

  • Note: These are things you may have in your backpack, but you don't need them. Sometimes if you have all of this stuff in there at once, your bag becomes less organized than it was with less stuff.
  • Binder
  • Labels to write your name on
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Pencil case
  • Folders (two-pocket); accordion folder
  • Notebooks
  • Paper
  • Highlighters
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Any form of paper you might need (e.g. printer, plain, college/wide ruled, lined, or graph)
  • Ruler (long and short)
  • Glue
  • Calculator
  • Any textbooks for class
  • Planner
  • Sticky notes
  • Protractor
  • Book bag
  • Pencil case
  • Mini stapler
  • Staple remover
  • Staple refill
  • White-out
  • USB flash drives
  • Folder/file case
  • Clipboard case
  • Colored pencils
  • Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Snacks (when you get a little hungry, and want something to snack on)
  • A study space
  • A good study routine that helps you stay organised
  • A compass tool

Article Info

Categories: School Materials