Organizing for Success

Did you know that organization is one of the key factors to success in school? Being organized in school can mean: being on time with assignments, knowing what is due when, and being able to plan ahead for longer projects. Since organization tends to be a learned behavior, let’s take a look at how students get organized through practice.

Have you ever looked in your backpack or locker and thought, “Wow, I’ll never find this assignment in here?” That is a sure sign that you may need some help getting organized. Other signs of being disorganized may be: poor grades, forgetting/losing papers, pens, books, not planning well for long term assignments and needing constant reminders to keep track of your “stuff.” Getting organized and staying organized can be tough but here are a few strategies that may help you get started in the right direction.

Start Fresh

Whether it is your binder, locker, desk, or backpack, start fresh by cleaning out clutter. Get rid of all old papers and assignments that you don’t need anymore. A clean slate is a great way to start.

Sort Items

Once you have cleaned out all of your school items, start putting like items together such as all math papers together and all science papers together. If you need to get folders or notebooks to keep them grouped together that is a good idea. Don’t have a folder or notebook handy? Use a paper clip until all items can be organized by subject. If your assignments are online sort them into folders or classes. Whatever you have to do to keep items in the place where you can find them when you need them, then do it. It may mean color coding notebooks and folders, or labeling binder and books. It will be worth it.

Create a Calendar

Many students find that being successful means seeing the “big picture.” This may mean getting your time organized as well as your study materials. Set up a calendar that helps you see what activities and assignments you have on each day. This will be helpful if you have long term assignments or assignments that are due at the end of each week. Plotting out which days you need to hurry off to an event or activity can mean getting homework out right away or skipping video games on certain days.


Once you have started a system to keep your time and materials organized, it is important to carve out some time each week to maintain your organization. Put papers where they belong, check off things on your to-do lists, and update your calendar. A little work each week can make or break staying organized.


Staying Organized in Middle School
Ways to Help Messy Kids Get Organized (An Occupational Therapists Point of View)
Organizational Skills for Students (that really work!)