Best Organization Tips for College Students

I’ve always been good with organization. Ever since I was in elementary school, I loved planning and organizing things (except my bedroom, haha). So the transition from high school to college wasn’t too hard for me. I was used to working hard and having a completely different schedule didn’t throw me off.

Organization is one of the things college students struggle with the most. Want to stop struggling with staying organized? Click through to read the best tips from me and other college bloggers!

 

But I know it’s not the case for everyone. Organization is one of the things college students struggle with the most. It also happens to be one of the most important skills you can develop during your college years! You will need it to stay on top of assignments and social commitments, just like you will need it in the future with deadlines and appointments!

While I may be an organization freak, I also know what it’s like to be a hot mess. So today I thought I’d share some of the knowledge I’ve gathered over the years with you! 

Use your planner

That’s a no-brainer. The #1 tool that helps me staying organized and manage my time correctly is my planner. I would be lost without mine. Between work, classes, blog-related things and my TV shows, I need a place where I can track down everything that is going on in my life. My planner helps me balance everything out.

And don’t just buy your planner and let is sit there. You need to actually use it! You don’t have to make it all pretty if that’s not your style, but making it cute actually helps stay organized! It will make using your planner much more fun. I personally don’t color code according to classes, I have my own system! But I like to use pretty pens and highlighters so it looks cuter on paper. I wrote a whole post about how I organize my planner if you’re curious!

weekly spread post its

If you’re not much of a paper person, that’s fine too! There are tons of apps that can help you get organized. One that I’ve started using recently and absolutely love is Google Calendar! It’s easy to use and you can use pretty colors for each of the “events” you log in. If you always have your phone, laptop or tablet with you, then you always have your schedule on you, which I think is great! I personally don’t carry my planner everywhere with me, so the app is a great way to stay organized when I’m on the go!

I use both Google Calendar and a planner and I really like that system! I use my planner for everything uni-related, like classes, internship-related things and assignments and exams due dates. I also write in work shift and my TV shows’ air time. I use Google Calendar for all the rest! I log in classes, work shifts, meetings and TV shows, but also blogging events (like chats). I’m still new to this system, so it might change, but so far I love the combo planner/app so far!

Highlight important things

One of the ways you can keep your planner organized is by highlighting what’s important. As I mentioned, I have a color code of my own: I use one color for exams, one color for assignment due dates, and one color for oral presentations and things that fall into the “other” category. Having a color system (or highlighting in general, for that matter) helps make what’s important stand out. That way, if I want to have a quick overview of what’s to come, I know what to prioritize.

Write down all due dates

I know you might think you’ll remember everything, but you won’t. You don’t want to be that student who comes to a class one day only to find that your midterm is today (#beentheredonethat) or that you had a paper to hand in. Instead, write down all deadlines and exams dates as soon as you receive your syllabus! Even if it might change throughout the semester, at least you’ll have a general idea of when things are due.

Keep a to-do list

One of the things I like to do when things get overwhelming is write down a to-do list. This is, once again, something that I cannot live without. Weekly and daily to-do lists are life savers when it comes to prioritizing. I’m quite the busy gal and I can’t always remember everything that I have to do during a week. So, what I like to do every Sunday night is to go through my planner and write down every single task that I have or want to accomplish during the upcoming week. It can be blog-related, homework, studying, personal… Everything I have to do, I write down. You can also have a daily to-do list if you prefer that system. I suggest writing it the night before so when you wake up the next day, you will already know what needs to get done and you can get started ASAP!

Keep your desk clean

That’s probably the thing I struggle the most with (if you could see my desk right now…). But, having a clean desk not only helps you be more productive, it also helps you with your organization skills. If you know where everything is all the time, you won’t have to search for that important paper all over your room when you need it. Instead, keep things tidy and make sure you have as much desk space as possible (even if you have a small desk)! Only keep what’s really important, such as a pen holder, your laptop, a desk lamp, etc. Try to keep your desk clutter-free. Trust me, you’ll feel much better this way (and I know what I’m talking about!).

desk flatlay-2

Use your syllabi

Remember that thing your professor handed to you on the first day of class? Don’t throw it away! It’s actually super important to ensure your success in your classes. I cannot tell you how many times I check my syllabi during the semester! Write down all assignment deadlines and exam dates in your planner! This will help you know what’s coming ahead so you can prepare correctly. You can also refer back to your syllabus for explanations concerning the different evaluations in each class. Normally, there are a few details to help you understand what you need to do and what your professor expects from you. Whenever I doubt about something, I always make sure to look back to my syllabus before asking the question to the professor. A lot of the time, the answer will be “check your syllabus” anyways.

Invest in storage items

If your room, desk, or backpack is a real mess, invest in some storage items! That way, you can put all of your clutter away, and you won’t be turning your room upside down to find these notes you took last week. I have a box underneath my bed where I put all of my notes and textbooks of previous semesters. I also use that box to put out-of-season clothes and anything that just doesn’t fit anywhere else but that I want to keep.

As for my backpack, I mentioned in my back-to-school essentials post that I love using an expanding file. I think it’s a great way to keep my notes and hand-outs organized, and it keeps them from getting wrinkled in my bag. Storage items are a great way to stay organized and they can be quite inexpensive!

Want more tips to be more organized?

Organization is a topic that is often covered in college blogs. Here are a few of my favorite posts on college organization:

What are your tips for staying organized in college?

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  • Such a great post Amelie! Thank you so much for featuring me 🙂

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

    • Thank you Kayla! And you’re totally welcome! 🙂

  • Yes, to-do lists are my savoir! Also, you are so wonderful for featuring me! Thank you!

    Caitlyn | http://www.collegewithcaitlyn.com

    • I couldn’t live without my to-do list! And you are very welcome!

  • Sydney Power

    My planner and my syllabus are like go to and my favourite things to have!

    • A lot of people forget how important your syllabi are! And I don’t know how anyone could survive without a planner!

  • Great tips Amelie! My planner was my lifeline in college!

    Rachel | http://www.theconfusedmillennial.com

    • Thank you, Rachel! I couldn’t survive without my planner!

  • These are such great tips! When I first started college, I was a disorganised mess! My planner and syllabi saved me – now I plan everything in advance way before the deadlines. I’m like you, and have trouble keeping my desk clean though, haha!

    • Haha it’s so hard to keep it clean! I just put everything on it, so sometimes it gets a little bit too much, haha

  • Savannah Ward

    I just got into highlighting this year and I do it to EVERYTHING – notes, planner events, etc. I definitely need to invest in some good storage though.

    http://thealwaysblog.com

    • I love highlighting! It helps me remember things better. Though, overhilghlighting can be just as bad as not highlighting, haha!

  • Greta Hollar

    Great tips! A lot of these helped me get through undergrad.

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

    • I’m glad you enjoyed, Greta!

  • Mackenzie

    Wonderful post! I am addicted to my planner and find that storage items help me keep my clothes organized. My next investment needs to be organization items for my desk, only three weeks in and already it’s frightening.

    • I’m addicted to my planner too! And storage items are a must! My desk would be a lot messier than it already is if I didn’t have any, haha

  • OnceUponADollhouse

    Keeping your desk clean is huge! It seems like a simple task – actually maybe daunting at times – but it makes all the difference. XO

    • I totally agree! Working at a clean desk makes me so much more productive.

  • I could still use these tips two years post grad!

    • I’m glad I could help! 🙂

  • I never utilized a planner in college and man–I should have!! These are great tips 🙂

    • You didn’t use a planner?! How did you survive?! haha

  • Adriana

    These are so on point! Writing everything down is the most important thing I did in college!

  • Sherry Keezer

    I was always obsessed with my agenda. I kept EVERYTHING in there and it so helped to keep me on track throughout the year.

    • Planners are such a useful tool! My whole life is in there, haha.

  • actually ~using~ your planner is important. I set it up for the week and never look at it. I try and transfer everything to to do lists to stay organized.
    Shaguna | gold&hearts

    • Totally agree! Actually using your planner is the key to staying organized.

  • A clean desk and organized planner seriously makes all the difference!

  • Writing down all of my due dates is such a huge thing for me!! If I don’t write the dates down and put them on two of my calendars I’m lost!

  • Courtney Drew

    I think that these are such great tips! Staying organized is the key to keeping sane. I always wrote down due dates at the beginning of each semester and I think it was a complete life saver. I am just like you and I write down everything, from what I’m making for dinner, to what tv shows I have that night and everything in between. Great tips!

    xo CourtneyDrew

    • I’m glad you enjoyed! I need to write everything down, otherwise I get completely lost!

  • I’m really late on this but thank you so much for featuring me Amelie! Thank you for all of the organization tips. They are great and even though they may seem basic it is stuff we sometimes forget to do (like highlighting).

    • It was my pleasure! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

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  • Carlee Hebert

    These are great tips!! I think I would die without my planner and I always keep a to do list on my phone. It helps me stay super organized and not at all stressed! http://carleehebert.com/

    • Thank you Carlee! I would be so lost without my planner, so I know how you feel! 😉 Keeping a to-do list on your phone is such a good idea! I’m more of a paper pal, but since we always have our phone with us, keeping it there is a great way to remember it!