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How to Organize All Your Schoolwork in One Binder

Oct 03, 2017

If you have trouble keeping your homework and classwork papers organized, you're not alone. You're also not in great shape for success. When you aren't organized, papers get lost and you forget to turn things in. It's a terrible feeling when you take the time and effort to do your assignments and then can't hand them in. Schools start having you switch classrooms for different subjects around middle school, but even if you stay in one classroom all day, you should separate your subjects.

One way to keep everything organized is in one zipper binder that has room for more than just paper. A lot of big binders come with their own shoulder strap and can be carried like a messenger bag, either over your shoulder or across your body. Here’s a handy organization system the folks at Palos Verdes Intermediate School in Los Angeles came up with that helps you get organized and stay organized all year long — without having to lug around an overstuffed backpack!

An assignment book can make homework bearableAn assignment book can make homework bearable

What You’ll Need

  • 1 zippered binder
  • Soft-sided supply pouch with 3 holes
  • Loose-leaf paper
  • 3-hole punch
  • Dividers with pockets — one for each class
  • Assignment book (also called an Agenda or Planner)
  • 3-hole punch
  • Ruler with 3-holes to fit inside binder
  • 3-holed plastic sheet protectors

Single binder organizing systemSingle binder organizing system

Zippered binders come in different colors, styles, and brands. Mead, Five Star, and Case-It are the most popular brands, but even PB Teen has their own version now, at a similar price to the ones you can find at ordinary school supply stores. Most have one zipper that opens to reveal one or two 1.5 inch 3-ring binders, although the Z-Binder opens on two sides, which is helpful for separating your morning and afternoon classes.

How to organize your binder

In the front of the binder, snap your supply pouch in place. Fill the pouch with all of your small supplies, including pens, pencils, highlighters, markers or colored pencils, sharpener, eraser, and calculator.

Next, insert your planner. Always keep it at the front of your binder for easy access in every class.

Snap in the tabbed pocket folders and label each one with the name of your class, in the order of when you have them. If your class requires a separate notebook, insert it behind the class folder. As you get new papers for the class, punch holes in them right away and place them in the binder behind the folder. If you can’t punch holes in a particular page, place it in a sheet protector and then snap it into the binder.

Place the blank lined notebook paper after the tabbed folders. You’ll use this paper for taking notes and completing tasks and homework. Any time you use a sheet of paper, place it behind that class’ folder right away.

Finally, insert your ruler, three-hole punch, and extra sheet protectors behind the blank notebook paper.

An organized pencil caseAn organized pencil case

How to Use The System

Assignment book: Every day, write down the assignment and any reminders for each class. Write NOTHING or draw a line if there is no homework. Keep a list of upcoming projects, tests, and quizzes and their due dates in your planner.

Organizing each tab: Place all new notes and homework assignments just behind the folder so that the oldest work is at the back. Each month, go through the papers and take out anything you won’t need at school. Keep a large binder at home with the same tabs set up, and place old work behind the tabs of each class.

One binder or many - the choice is easy!One binder or many - the choice is easy!Stacked binders © Liz West

Staying neat

  • Never stuff papers into the pockets where they will get crumpled or lost.
  • If you don’t have time to punch holes right away, place all new work in the front pocket of each folder and file it as soon as you get home.
  • If you have a hard time remembering to turn in homework, you can create a separate turn-it-in section at the front or back of your folder.
  • Keep notes to parents, fliers, your student ID, hall passes, and other non-class items in the pocket at the front of the binder and remember to check it every day.
  • These binders are remarkably roomy. They can even hold an independent reading book — hint, hint — pack one each day and bring it along. You never know when you’ll have a free moment to dive into a good book!

Keeping things neat just takes a few minutes a dayKeeping things neat just takes a few minutes a day
Have Your Say

Do you have trouble organizing your schoolwork? What do you do to make sure no homework gets left behind?​ Comment below!