Secrets to Organization Success

Hi y’all,

A highly requested blog post was how I stay so organized. If you know me, you know my room is always a mess, but anything else is impeccably organized. The amount of organization is almost mandatory with everything that I do.


I’m a teacher, go the gym/spin, Grad School, working on founding an alumnae association for my sorority in the area, blogger, second job, and in Junior League. Needless to say, I’m always busy or have something to do.


Tip 1: Buy a planner or Use a Digital Planner

Time management is my best friend. I have been using the Day Designer for Target planners for the past three years. All through undergrad at CNU I used Lilly Pulitzer planners. This year, I’m making the switch to a different planner and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I swear by planners, but the one I’ve bought is a regular weekly layout. I’ve gotten a lot better at figuring out time slots so I don’t feel the need for such a large planner. I cannot use a digital calendar as a planner. I’ve tried and failed many times. For teaching we have Google Calendars/Reminders for almost everything, faculty meetings, technology check out, etc. and that is the extent that I use it for. Honestly, if I don’t have a faculty meeting written in my planner chances are, I will miss it. If you can use a digital calendar like Google successfully, go ahead and use it because it’s free. It just doesn’t work for me with everything I have going on. I also have the problem that my phone will not remind me of anything in iCal. I’ve had 4 (a 4, 2 6’s and an 8) iPhones now, and none of them did it. I’ve tried changing settings and it just never worked.


Tip 2: Know your Limit

Know you limit of what you can and can’t do. I actually decided not to be an officer this upcoming year for Junior League because I knew I couldn’t handle the time commitment with grad school and everything else. I’ve also stepped down from another volunteer commitment because I don’t have the time. I will also skip spin class if I need to. It’s totally okay to say no to something!

I will be the first to say I will turn down a social obligation before anything else (I’m an introvert if you can’t tell), but I’m trying to prioritize them a little more to push myself.

Tip 3: Color Code

I love color coding. For instance, I use the different colored pens for obligations in my planner. I tend to pick “official colors” for the organization-like Junior League is red, my second job is pink, pay days/bill due dates are green, sorority is in purple, Grad School is in blue and orange (a color for each class), etc. It really helps me to use the official color of the organization because I already associate the color with it and don’t have to keep re-writing it. I will re-write the class name with the assignment that is due.

Sidenote: I did stop color coding in December because I didn’t have time.


Tip 4: Find Pens you Love

Find the pens that you love. I love both Flair pens, Staedtler pens, and Papermate ink you. I have found that Flair pens tend to bleed through, so I don’t buy them very often unless I’m using them for grading. I will also use fine tip Crayola markers for grading. While I was getting my teaching license, my advisor and professors always knew I was at class when my pens were out, even if I had left the room for something.

Tip 5: Organize your Closet/Dresser

I organize my closet by type of clothing. All my skirts are at the start of my closet, followed by short sleeve shirts, then long sleeve shirts, and then dresses by category (sundress, strap size, etc.). It’s impossible to color code by closet (so much color) so I do it this way instead. I actually have two closets and both are organized the same way. My leggings and athletic clothes are in a drawer in my dresser. Pants are in bins I got from Target. My coats are either downstairs, in the cedar closet, or packed away for summer.

My dresser is organized by color and category. Tops are by color. White, grey and black are in a drawer together, green and blue are together, pinks and purples are together. Underwear is all together in a smaller drawer, and I have two drawers of sweatshirts. In my other dressers I have Lilly Pulitzer popovers, sweaters, etc. Tank tops are in a drawer in the wardrobe that holds my tv. I have three dressers; however, two have really tiny drawers (for children’s clothes) and one is an adult’s dresser. I love my “adult” dresser, it’s from IKEA.


Tip 6: Put Like Things Together

I always put like things together. My DVDs/Blu Ray discs are all together in IKEA bins. They are in alphabetical order by title. My pleasure books are on the bookshelf, and my educational texts are on another shelf in my room. Paperwork is in a container on my desk.

Tip 7: Prepare the Night Before

When I have school, I leave around 6/6:15 to get to school by 7ish. If I don’t lay out my clothes the night before, it’s guaranteed I won’t be on time. I also try to have some of my lunch prepped the night before. I have my school bag packed the night before. I live about 45 minutes from school, so if I forget something at home, I’m not going to have time to make it back home and then back to school. My first year, I forgot my lunch at home but realized it before I passed Wal-Mart so I was able to stop and get lunch. After that, I kept extra frozen lunches in my mini fridge/freezer at school. I kept a second pair of shoes in my school bag at all times. We can’t wear flip flops, but those are the most comfortable for my feet, so I wear flip flops before and after school. I keep the second pair in my bag to make sure I always have a backup pair.

Tip 8: Be Consistent

I keep the same system in place pretty consistently. I might tweak something, but it’s rarely a major change. For instance, I don’t keep notes on my computer for classes or school. I never go back and look at notes unless they’re written down. I tried using my iPad in college for 2 days, and went right back to a notebook because I knew I would end up printing out the notes. For one class I did type notes, but wrote it all down afterward. I buy a notebook for teaching every year. This is where I write down new information at faculty meetings, meetings with parents, what copies need to be made, information from team meetings, etc. I also buy a new notebook for each semester of grad school. I buy a three subject one even though I only take 2 classes. This way, I know I have enough paper and if I need to pull from the extra section I do. I don’t like having two notebooks to keep up with, and I can never find a two subject notebook.

Tip 9: Set Aside Time for Yourself

One of the biggest tips for organization is actually to just set aside time for yourself. If you start feeling overwhelmed, you won’t be organized. My room, school, overall life is more disorganized when I don’t set aside time for myself.

Tip 10: Leave your Workspace Ready for the Next Day

Leave your space at work ready for the next day. For me, this might mean I leave a paper out that I need to copy first thing, or I leave a website up that I need to use. My chromebook and laptop are always plugged in, TV remote out on my table. If I have work for my students to do for Morning Work, I leave that out on the table spots. I even do this when I clean my classroom at the end of the year! I put things where I will find them.


Tip 11: Pick the System that Works for You

This one is the most important. I can tell you how I do things all day long; however, what works for me, might not work for you. You’ll need to try out a few of these things for yourself.



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Secrets to Organization Success appeared first on lindseyemartin.

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