Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Student Organizer Binder

In high school I considered myself pretty organized. Unfortunately, my organization system was not very practical. I had a binder per subject, each bursting with worksheets from months gone by and falling apart at the spine from daily excursions between home, class, and locker. By Grade 10 the annoyance of lugging around a binder-stuffed backpack inspired a new method of organization -- one I've been using ever since -- the organizer binder.

This one binder held the current work for each of my classes -- just the papers I needed for that week. On a shelf back home I kept a binder for each subject, containing the rest of my notes, organized by tabs into sections like class notes, study notes, homework, and quizzes. At the end of each week I transferred pages from my organizer binder into the respective subject binder. No longer did I need to purchase binders every year; without the wear-and-tear of being carried around, they remained pristine. My organizer binder, on the other hand, saw its fair share of duct tape.

To make an organizer binder, find a 1-inch binder. If you don't mind paying a bit extra, you can get a fancy one with inside pockets and a transparent sleeve on the cover. The pockets are good for storing yet-to-be-hole-punched papers or anything odd-sized (e.g. quizzes). The transparent cover sleeve is a good place to keep a study schedule or a class timetable.
student organize binder

Purchase tab dividers and label a tab for each of your subjects. Again, a bit of extra money will get you nicer ones with pockets (which can by handy for yet-to-be-hole-punched papers or important items that you want to keep up front for each subject). Keep just the current unit's (or week's) notes within each subject's section.

In the back of the binder (or in a pocket so that the bottom edge doesn't get tattered) keep spare lined paper.
student organize binder
student organize binder
Since you will be transferring notes between your organizer binder and your home subject binder, there is the potential for pages to get mixed up. I've gotten into the habit of labelling the top right corner as soon as I pull out a new page or receive a new worksheet. I write the subject, date, and page number (if applicable), to save me trouble later.
organize university high school

In university, walking farther distances between classes, I wanted to further minimize the amount I carried in my backpack. I replaced the binder with a two-pocket folder. I used clear packing tape to attach a sheet protector to the front, in which I kept my study schedule (the tape also reinforced the edges of the paper folder). Inside, I kept the current notes for each subject together with a distinct-coloured jumbo paperclip.
student organize folder
student organize folder

If this all seems like too much bother, you may want to consider trying it just around exam time, to help you organize review material for each subject. It's the most important time of the year to be organized!

How do you keep your school work organized?

If you're interested, here are other posts I've written about how I study:
On getting organized to study:

On studying:


  1. Great post, I really needed these tips. My binder was one big mess and I just couldn't get everything organized. Now it still looks a bit messy, but it's definitely better than it was before I read this post :)

    1. Thanks, glad it was helpful :) Good luck with the studying!


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