Stay Organized this Spring

New semester, new course load, new club and other commitments-there’s plenty to lose track of as the semester starts picking up speed. But this time of the school year is always an opportunity to de-clutter and revamp your organization skills. Try these tips to keep you and your busy schedule happy, sane and right on track.

Make Mom proud-keep track of those socks!

It might be easy to get carried away at home, where clothes all over your bedroom floor usually result in little more than raised eyebrows from Mom and Dad. But throw in a roommate or two with the same habits, and your new home-away-from-home could end up looking more like a Black Friday dressing room than a place for civilized scholars.

A three-sectioned mesh laundry hamper on wheels ($14, makes it easy to organize your wash each time you wear something, eliminating color sorting later. And once they’re clean, hanging closet shelves ($11, are a handy way to create more space for clothes or shoes.

“I used mine every year except the year I lived in Laurel, because there was never enough drawer or shelf space for folded clothes,” senior Robin Netanel said.

Ace that class

Remember getting three-ringed binders for middle school, with color-coded pocket dividers for each class? That must-have school supply list wasn’t a must simply because we were kids. That type of organization works! Keep things structured and all in one place with a 3″ D-ring binder ($10, and some good old-fashioned pocket dividers. The divider tabs can be labeled for each course, and there’s often a little extra room for a divider or two for club notes. Keeping your syllabus in the front pocket of that class section can also be a great way to quickly double check assignments without having to root through a single unorganized folder.

Night on the town (or afternoon in a lecture).

Getting ready for the day can be a juggling act if everyone in your room is vying for a space at the bathroom mirror all at once. An over-the-door pocket organizer with a built-in mirror ($29, lets you stash everything from toiletries to a hairdryer. It could be a great way to get organized and let you get ready at your own speed.

Do your brain a favor: jot it down.

Keeping up with multiple responsibilities during the semester can be overwhelming. You might even begin to consider interning with a Zen guru in order to stay calm through every assignment, paper, exam, meeting time and event (all on top of your work schedule). But never fear-you can take on that internship at “Rolling Stone” after all, just give yourself a visible spot to write down all your commitments.

Freshman Emily Prentice chose a hanging calendar/planner ($12, and a dual whiteboard-corkboard ($14, to keep herself on task: 

“I put my homework assignments up for the next week and as I accomplished them, I erased them or took them down. As I did this I felt good about what I had done and it motivated me to do more and keep up with my work.”

Senior Peter McPherson also suggests a simple personal list to keep the peace in your dorm.

“Keeping track of what people borrow (video games, pencils, pens, etc.), is a simple yet effective way to keep everybody happy,” McPherson said. “I keep my own list of what is owed to me and by me.”

Regardless of how messy your semesters may have ended up in the past, every new one is an equally great chance to make a change. Finding the organization methods that work best for you can take a little trial and error. Though once you do find your favorites, don’t be surprised if your usual semester stress levels start to feel a little more balanced too.