Freshman Tip: Easy, Stress-Free Ways To Keep Your Life Organized

By Tracey Rector, Alumna of IUPUI

Even though the semester is almost over, it's never too late to get organized! From your laptop to your planner, the little things you do to keep your world in order will definitely start to add up, giving you less stress in the long run.

Here's a breakdown of all the aspects of your life that are worth keeping organized:


Tests, study group sessions, homework deadlines, parties, events — there’s a lot to remember in college. By picking up a planner, you can keep it right along with all your books and keep track of all your deadlines. See if your school has planners, which will include special dates on campus throughout the year.

Dry Erase/Cork Boards

Forget things easily when walking out the door? Put up a dry erase/cork board on the wall in a place you normally look. This is a place where you can leave notes for yourself and hang up important things you need to do. It’s also fun to write messages on with friends.


It’s easy to throw your purse, jacket, keys, etc. on the floor or couch, making it not so easy to find them. Take some time and invest a few dollars in hooks you can put right inside the door. 3M’s Command hooks have small sticky strips you can hang things on the wall with that can be taken down later on without ruining the paint.

Shelves, Bins and Notebooks

Some semesters you will have a lot of books and notebooks. Clear a space on a bookshelf and try to remember to put it back when you’re done. Also, when buying your notebooks, try choosing a different color for each class. You’ll get used to which color is for which class, making it quick to grab what you need and go.

Tabs and Highlighting

When organizing your notes, some days your professor will say, “This will be on the test.” Make sure when he or she tells you this to make a point of highlighting or starring this information. Then, look into reusable tabs. You can stick these on each page of the day’s notes; even writing what section it is at the top. These tabs are also great for books, as they won’t damage the pages and you can tab important pages while being able to use them over and over again.

Computer Files and Back-Up
When your desktop is filled with files, it’s hard to find the right one. Take some time each semester and create desktop folders for each of your classes. Be sure to save your work regularly, and if you can, look into back-up sources in case your computer crashes. You can purchase portable hard drives anywhere from $30 to $80, which are great because many are now small in size and are great to transport data from computer to computer. You can even only work off the hard drive if you want to. Google Docs is also a good alternative — you can store and keep documents online through your Gmail account for free.


Smartphones can manage several of the planning and organizing tips listed above. Take advantage of your phone’s capabilities and look into apps. There are many to help keep you on track with all your assignments, activities, etc. Also, set reminder alarms for yourself if you need to remember something while on the go. Don’t have a smartphone? Many times, you can find certain apps to download and use on your computer.


For those of you who have a phobia of being too organized, don't worry about doing all of these at once! Do what feels natural. You might only need to do one or two of these things to feel organized and that is absolutely OK.


Image: Stuart Miles /

Head on over to 1,000 Dreams Fund to learn how to get funding for your dreams!