Organization Skills for Students: 7 Practical Tips

Staying organized is important for any student to be successful. Our recent survey highlights that a lack of organization is the leading barrier to student success.

For some, it’s an issue of getting started and for others, it’s difficult maintaining an organization system. Organizational skills for students apply to any age. It’s never too late to practice organization in the classroom.

Here are 7 ways to enhance organizational skills for students:


1. Start With Sorting

It may seem obvious, but sorting alleviates disorganization so that important papers and documents aren’t misplaced. Sorting school work into binders and folders is a practical skill to teach students. This skill not only teaches students organization skills but also how to prioritize items.

As students keep their documents and school work organized by assigning a place for each item. A logical method is by assigning a folder for each subject or class. Have students use folders and binders as a designated place for tasks and school work, including:

  • Handouts
  • Tests and quizzes
  • Class notes
  • Homework
  • Take-home forms
  • Graded assignments

High priority assignments or information can be sorted into a separate folder in the front of a student’s binder for fast approaching due dates.


2. Use a Checklist

Checklists are instrumental in helping disorganized students get their tasks in order. Preparing a checklist also demonstrates to students how to prioritize tasks.

For instance, you can provide checklists to students in elementary school so they can get familiar with deadlines and project details. Print out a checklist, so that the student has it available with them wherever they go.

Older students can leverage project management tools for organizing checklists and practice assigning tasks to group members during projects.


3. Emphasize Brevity

Too many tasks on a to-do list can lead to students putting things off. Have students focus on getting a set number of tasks completed within a day, such as only working on four assignments at any given time. By organizing a concise list, students successfully complete their goals.

Organization skills for students are important for success


4. Leverage School Planners

Being able to know when assignments are due is an important part of being organized. Teach students to stay organized by using a school planner. While it’s great to use calendars on smartphones, writing down deadlines actually increases retention.

A Psychology Science study found that writing with pen and paper helps to boost your memory more than writing via laptops. School planners also have a built-in benefit of a calendar that students can leverage to plan out projects and assignments.

A school planner calendar is a great resource for younger students. Parents can place their signatures to confirm that the child completed a homework assignment. This helps students to better manage their time and increases parent involvement and communication.

Create space inside a planner where students organize handwritten notes, create project timelines, and structure lists.


5. Use Visual Tools

A simple way to facilitate organizational skills for students is by using visual reminders. When you use visual reminders, students can easily identify what needs to be done. Stickers and color-coded labels remind students about an important deadline or project to complete.

Visual tools not only serve as reminders, but as an easy way to maintain organization in and outside of the classroom. Try handing out color-coded labels to students at the beginning of the academic year, quarter, or semester. Students can adhere color-coded labels to folders and organize school work by subjects. Your students can then use a matching highlighter to indicate upcoming due dates.


6. Assign “Buddies”

Hold students accountable for developing their organizational skills by assigning them a buddy. In this routine, paired student “buddies” are responsible to remind one another about important deadlines.

Older students can also serve as accountability partners and help absent students tackle missed assignments.


7. Schedule Cleaning Time

When your work area is messy, it’s hard to focus. Thus, setting aside time on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to clean is essential for success.

Teach your students the importance of scheduling time to clean their workspace and compartments, such as their desks, backpacks, lockers, or cubbies. Jars and cups function as a simple tool to hold pens, markers, or pencils.


Whether you’re teaching elementary school students or college students, organizational skills are necessary for students of any age in order to be successful. With the right organizational skills, students can achieve their educational goals.

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