How to Organize Your Backpack

This article is for teaching you how to organize your backpack. It may be helpful if your backpack is really heavy, is painful to hold, or gobbles up your papers. Read on to find fixes to these problems.


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    Empty your backpack out. Go through all the pockets and pile all of your items in your room. This includes every scrap, book, and paper that needs to be dumped. Even your cell phone, wallet, and keys should be in the pile on the floor.
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    Conduct a close inspection of the inside of your backpack, including the pockets. Clean your bag If it's dirty or full of crumbs and rubbish.*If your bag isn't dirty enough to be washed, simply shake out any crumbs, shavings, etc. over a large trashcan.
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    Organize your huge pile of objects found in your backpack. Put all the papers, packets, and such into separate piles - one pile for each subject or period. Any extra things (ex: pencils, a cell phone, or a wallet) should go in a pile labeled other. Do not throw anything away yet.
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    Purchase the items listed in Things You Need. Buying different colored folders is definitely recommended. The different colors can help you color-code. When you buy things like highlighters or pens, they too should be in different colors.
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    Decide if you need a new backpack. If the following applies to it, the answer is yes:
    • It is ragged or is being held together by duct tape.
    • It is not suitable for your needs.
    • It has been under your possession for a long time, and you've outgrown the style.
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    Label the top left corner of your folder in the front with your name, teacher of that subject, and the period you have that teacher. Set the new folders aside for later.
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    Organize your papers. Go through each pile of papers. Recycle any graded papers if you are allowed to. Note that your teacher may require you to keep graded papers. Recycle any old assignment papers or guidelines. Check with your teacher if you throw anything out because you might need it later! Put any papers you must keep but are unneeded to the side. Put any papers you will be using that week in another pile next to the unneeded pile of papers. Make sure to keep each period/subjects' pile(s) separate from other ones.
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    Remember those folders? Get them back out. Put each colored folder with each subject. The pile of papers that you have graded or must keep should go in the pocket opposite of your writing hand. The other group of papers that you are using that week, go in the pocket side that you write with. Put loose leaf paper behind the most used papers to use when you need it.
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    Match one notebook per folder for notes, not doodling. Only put a notebook there if you need one for that class. Put your last period's folder down, then its notebook, then the next period's folder and notebook.., keep going till you have nothing else to stack.
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    Put away all of your pencils, highlighters, pens, and pencil sharpeners. These should go in your pencil bag. If you have an agenda, put that on top of the notebook and folder pile you made (The Pile), then put on your pencil bag. If you don't have an agenda, get one.
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    Put your textbooks in first. Place them in the part of your backpack that will hit your back. Then put in The Pile, having the last period's folder touching the textbooks.
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    Put your cell phone, wallet, keys and so on, in a smaller compartment. Any books or things like that, should go in a medium compartment. But be warned that your items are in danger of being stolen from your backpack. It's best to keep items like your cell phone or MP3 player in your front pockets or pockets that no one can reach easily like hidden ones.
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    Keep your backpack like this by having a small organizing session each day. If you don't have time to organise it every day, then try to organise it at least once a week. Also have a large one every month or so.
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    Now you're finished and you have a nice clean backpack. Good for you!


  • If you don't have a locker, you will have to carry everything with you. But you can relieve back strain by placing heavier things closer to your back, like text books, and lighter things further away, like pencil bags. For example: first textbooks , then notebooks, folders and then pencil bags and other light items.
  • You should clean your backpack when you have time like the weekends or when you have nothing to do.
  • Have an open mind when cleaning your backpack. Know what you need and what you don't.
  • Clean it out at least once a month so it stays clean and organized.
  • Make sure to only put things that you need for that day in your backpack. You don't want to have a heavy backpack, do you?
  • You may think that you have a nice, clean, organized backpack. Well, test it. Take a stopwatch and name a random thing in your backpack. Don't think about the easiest thing to get to. The first thing that comes to your mind is what you need to find. Time yourself as you do it. If it takes you 30 seconds or more, then you don't have a very clean and organized backpack.
  • Have a separate folder for homework. If you can, try to get an accordion folder and separate sections for each class.
  • It helps to work in a quiet, distraction-free space because you will not be focused enough to complete the task at hand.
  • Don't expect your backpack to clean itself; clean it and it will be over in no time!
  • This is a good weekend project or a Winter/Spring Break project. Instead of saying "I'm bored...," you can do this!
  • Put 7 pencils, highlighter and pens in the front pocket so you won't have to keep going back for your pencil case.
  • Turn on your radio and listen to music as you work.
  • The bus or car ride home is a good time to get a head start on homework. Carry pencils and pens in your backpack so you can quickly pull them out (also carry a reading light if you catch the bus early in the morning. This could save your life if you forget to do your homework the night before.
  • You can use a mini-vacuum and suck up all the little pencil sharpening scraps inside your backpack.
  • When you go to put away the folder and notebook for that class, bring out the folder and notebook for your next class. That way, you won't need to open your backpack when you get to your next class.
  • Time. It's your time so if you mope around and take forever, that's on you! It can take 10 minutes or 2 hours, it depends on how you act.
  • Remember to vacuum your bag because it might have crumbs of food or garbage.
  • Every morning, or night, before school check you have everything in your bag and it is organized. Check at night because if you haven't organized it, you have time to do so before bed.
  • This cannot be stressed enough. Keep your backpack in good shape and keep the inside organized. If you keep your backpack like this, you won't have to organize it as often.
  • Remember! You have a locker. Don't carry everything around with you, that will help to keep strain off your back and help you find what you need without having to look through too many things.
  • If you are a pack rat, reward yourself if you throw something unimportant away! You could give yourself a chocolate bar/candy/something small.
  • Remember to throw out unnecessary things, like old papers from the beginning of the year.


  • Always keep an eye on your backpack to minimize the risk of theft.
  • Leave your backpack zipped so nothing falls out.
  • Never put your cell phone in the pocket on your shoulder strap made for it. People will go there as soon as they get a chance to steal it, knowing many other people keep their phones here. And it is possible for it to fall out when you aren't looking.
  • Don't throw away your homework!
  • Don't leave a huge mess when you're done.

Things You'll Need

  • Folders
  • Notebooks
  • Highlighters (different colors preferred)
  • Pens (Black and Red or Blue and Red)
  • Number 2 Pencils
  • Pencil Case (only if you don't have a pencil holder attached to your backpack)
  • Backpack with many divisions
  • Erasers (If needed)
  • Portable Pencil Sharpener (optional)
  • Umbrella (optional)
  • Crayons and/or color pencils and markers (optional)
  • Binder (optional)
  • Note Cards (If needed)

Article Info

Categories: School Materials