The new school year is just around the corner, and if you already cringing at the thought of your countertops overrun with projects and papers, today’s podcast is here to help!
My name is Alia (I’m April’s 18-year-old daughter), and my mom and I will be talking about five amazing tips and tricks that you and your students can use to minimize the clutter. The school year will definitely be busy, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be messy.
***And if you like what you hear and want me to teach your child/children how to get and stay organized, I have a fun–and free–introductory video I think they’ll love!
In order to keep school papers under control, it needs to be a joint effort between the parents and the children. We’re going to share some ideas that are mostly for the students, but they may need a little encouragement getting them set up.
- The Sneaky Sorter
What do you do with all of the cute Kindergarten art projects, the hundreds of coloring pages, and the themed creations that your kids bring home? My mom would try to minimize the clutter by saving the cutest/most special things and throwing away everything else, but we would often ask her to give us certain projects back (they would often be long gone :).
The solution? Two plastic bins in our laundry room. She would designate one bin for the papers and projects to save, and the other would house the things that she would eventually throw away. Every few months, she would go through the bins and get rid of the things that we hadn’t cared much about. We would take pictures of most things before throwing them away.
2. Google Drive
This is my favorite way to store digital files for work, school, and personal projects.
Here are the folder categories inside my “School” folder (you could number them, if you want them to appear in order):
Google Drive has been a lifesaver for my high school classes because most projects and papers are being turned in digitally. This method of organization has helped me to turn everything in on time and not worry about losing a file. Here is an example of the folders for my AP Psychology class:
3. Binder Organization
I have used binder dividers with double-sided pockets since sixth grade, and I have been able to keep my binder neat and tidy. I keep current homework assignments and projects in the front of the divider. When I sit down to do homework or when the teacher is collecting it, I know right where it is.
When papers are graded and returned to me, I keep them in the back of the divider. This is just in case a teacher gives the wrong grade or asks for a specific paper that was returned several weeks ago. I go through the back part of the divider once a trimester/semester and throw away everything that wasn’t needed or important to me.
I have been using Evernote for five years, and I started out by using it on my mom’s phone. I was able to take notes and save pictures in the app for future reference. Here are the ways I used it for school:
- Saved a picture of a syllabus with the teacher’s information and expectations so that I didn’t need the physical paper
- Wrote down my locker combinations so that I could look them up after a long break or period of not using the locker
- Saved pictures of notes (especially math) to use and look back on once I got to higher math classes (I used my early math notes all the time in advanced classes to remember the basics)
- Saved voice memos/recordings of important lectures (one teacher let us record her AP prep sessions so that we could listen to them later on)
5. File Box/Drawer
This is super simple, but I have a small file box with about ten hanging folders. This is where I store my long-term school and personal papers. I keep warranty papers, bank statements/information, and club-related papers that I will pass on to the next president. These files are constantly changing depending on my needs, but it is nice to have a central spot for the important (but often untouched) papers and projects.
If you liked these five tips, I have one more that I would love to share with you. Click here for my free video: How to Eliminate Piles with 3 Simple Folders
I also have step-by-step tutorials, printables, photos, videos, and lots of support available in my STEP for Students program, which you’ll find out about after getting the video linked above. Or you can go directly to the information page here!