45 Tips for Staying Organized in College

I love being in college. And, though my room may not always show it, I also love being organized and productive. One of my most popular posts on this blog is my Ultimate Guide to College Organization, and since it’s been read and shared so many times, I thought I’d make an updated, expanded guide. Here are my top 45 tips for staying organized in college!

It may seem like a lot, but you definitely don’t need to implement all these tips. Just read them over and see which ones fit you and your lifestyle. Above all, remember that caring for yourself is the most important. Having an organized life on the outside means nothing if you are not happy with yourself and your life.

1. Be motivated. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you are motivated to tackle the mess in your life. Otherwise, when the going gets tough, you will get sloppy. My advice is to make a list – yes, with real pen and paper – of why you want a clean, organized, and manageable life. Tack it up somewhere where you will see it when you start to feel unmotivated.

2. Keep a planner, or a planner app. During the school year, I use my planner religiously to track my classes, assignments, and social plans. You can see how I use my old Erin Condren planner here, or check out my review of the Emily Ley Planner App here.

3. Use only one planner. Just as important as using a planner is only keeping one. If you have both a paper planner and an app, or multiple planners, the odds are that something will eventually slip between the cracks when you forget to write down your plans in both. Also, having more than one will take up a lot of your time.

4. Keep it with you. During the school year, I always have my planner on-hand. That way, if I get a new assignment, make plans with friends, or have to schedule a doctor’s appointment, I can write it down immediately before I forget.

5. Stick to your plans. Have a rule: if you write it down, get it done. That way, your planner is more than a helpful reminder of what you could have accomplished today: it’s an actual guide to what you will be doing.

6. Plan at the beginning of every week or month. At the beginning of every new week, sit down and write in your activities, classes, and any reminders (call Mom!) for the coming days. I don’t have the time to do this all at once at the beginning of my semester, so doing it on a weekly basis works for me.

7. Use the days-before-it’s-due system. I learned this trick over at Organize My College Life. In your planner, use red pen to mark the day an assignment is due. Write it out in blue pen in the two days ahead; black for three to five days ahead; and green for six to nine days ahead. That way, you will always see assignments coming up on the horizon, and won’t ever be surprised by an essay that’s due tomorrow.

8. Schedule chores. Doing laundry, taking out the trash, you name it. Planning to do this every Sunday will keep your laundry from piling up on the floor, or your bin from overflowing.

9. Save all your syllabi. This is so important. If your professor gives you a guide to what your entire semester is going to look like, don’t lose it.

10. Annotate your syllabi. Mark your syllabus with everything you need to remember. I have a guide to this in my Ultimate Guide to College Organization, so to learn how, click here!

11. Make an assignment list. When I was taking five classes, keeping an assignment list saved my tail quite a few times. Gather all your syllabi together and make one long sheet of every day that an assignment is due. You can see how I do it here, or learn Organized Charm’s great method over at her blog.

12. Keep to-do lists. I keep a to do list every day. Do it in your planner, on your phone, or over email – the point is, it will help you stay on-track.

13. Wake up at the same time every day. Whether you’re a morning glory or a late riser, pick a time to wake up every day and stick to it. Often I find that when I oversleep, I feel that my morning has been “wasted” and I don’t do much work. Waking up at the same time every day will help you avoid this and get into a set schedule.

14. Make your bed when you get up. Making your bed will keep your room clean, and will keep you from crawling back in if you’re sleepy.

15. Have a consistent schedule. Try to keep a daily or weekly schedule that you’ll stick to. I find that I’m a lot less productive when my schedule is all over the place.

16. Figure out your most productive time. Figure out what time of the day you are the most productive. For some people, it’s in the early morning before breakfast; for others, mid-afternoon, or late at night. Find when you get the most work done and try to optimize that time for productivity and work.

17. Stock your backpack. I have a friend who spends 15 minutes a day filling their backpack with what they need to work that day. I find that a great time-saver is to have my backpack always stocked with pens, my planner, and a water bottle. In the mornings, you can slip in your laptop and a notebook and you’re ready to go!

18. Plan your outfit ahead of time. I used to spend forever in the mornings picking my outfit. Now I go to bed with a vague idea of what I’ll wear the next day. It helps me save time in the mornings to know what I want.

19. Clean-desk policy. I admit that I consistently fail at this, but I know that my boyfriend finds it very useful. At the end of every night, try to have a clear desk, with just your computer, lamp, or books on it, and no clutter. It will keep your room tidy and make it easier to find what you need in the morning.

20. Clean-floor policy. Ditto with the floor. Again, this is a weak spot for me, but I try not to have any clutter on my floor during the week so that it is easier to get and find what I need.

21. Spend 5 minutes a day cleaning. Seriously, you will be amazed at what you can do in five minutes a day. When I’m having a hard time staying motivated to keep organized, these few minutes at a time save me from total chaos.

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Bullet Journal 101

Declaimer: I am in no way, shape, or form an expert on Bullet Journaling. This post is here to help anyone who is struggling with the concept or is in need of some guidance. Thank you.

What is a Bullet Journal?

A Bullet Journal is a customizable organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above.

Bullet Journal website link: http://bulletjournal.com/

Some Bullet Journal Terminology:

Key- explanatory table of symbols used to aid in the finding of similar subjects/events/or notes

Weekly Spread- a week shown out over the course of one or more pages listing out events, notes, pictures, lists, etc.

Index- a list of names, subjects, etc., with references to the places where they occur over the course of the journal

Month on two pages view- two pages where on one page the big monthly events are listed and on the other is an overview of the month

Daily to do list- a list that changes day to day where it contains the activities or goals of that specific date

Migrate- to move a task that was not accomplished or finished on the day that it was intended to another day

How do I get started?

Step 1) Get a journal, notebook, planner, binder with notebook paper, basically anything that will allow you to write a copious amount in one organized place

Step 2) Use pencils, markers, pens, highlighters, or any form of writing utensil that will let you jot down your notes, plans, or daily schedules

Step 3) Find a design, links for some of my personal inspirations will be linked down below, or format that suits your liking. If any of those aren’t your cup of tea don’t feel like you have to choose one, make it your own and have fun!!!

Videos/Posts that inspired me:

Videos

Tumblr Posts

And my running tag for Bullet Journal inspiration:

Step 4) Decorate, decorate, DECORATE!!! This, again, is completely optional but don’t be afraid to spice up your journal with anything you like. Stickers, magazine cutouts, ribbon, washi tape, jewels, sequins, pictures, sticky notes, basically anything that you like!

  • What I use: I use sticky notes, washi tape, flags, and stickers

Step 5) Start your journey to a new style of organization and planning!!!

Feel free to message me about any further Bullet Journal questions :)

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This Ultra-Organized Photo Series Will Make Type A People Deliriously Happy

For years, photographer Emily Blincoe has been studying shape and color of everyday objects in her incredible series called “Arrangements.”The results are both breathtaking and soothing, as Blincoe shows the organized, color-coordinated beauty in items like eggs, tomatoes, matches and other miscellaneous home objects.