Dear American Girl,

I'm having trouble staying organized for school. I always seem to be losing my homework, leaving textbooks at home, or forgetting to bring home my notes to study for tests. I want to get better grades, and I think being more organized could help me do that. Where should I start?

Here's your advice:

Start with a planner. A planner can help you keep track of due dates for homework, important tests, and the things you need to bring to school.
-Jackie, age 13, Maine

Whenever you get a few free minutes at school, such as before or after school or during recess, clean out your desk, locker, or shelf. It'll help you to see the important stuff instead of clutter.
-Mara, age 12, California

Use two folders for your homework. Label one "To Do" and the other "Turn In." Always put your homework in one of these two folders.
-An American Girl fan, age 11, North Carolina

At home, keep a special bin for school stuff. Put it in your room and drop your backpack and textbooks in it. Everything will be in one place instead of spread out all over your house.
-Gracie, age 12, California

Keep a mini notebook in your pocket. Whenever you think of something important that you'll need to bring somewhere, write yourself a reminder in the notebook.
-Olivia, age 11, New York

Here are some ways to be cleaner and better organized. If your backpack is too small, ask for a bigger one. Label your folders. Throw away things you don't need, such as crumpled papers. Instead of stuffing drawings from art class into your backpack, take them home and put them in a binder. You'll be on your way to organization.
-Elise, age 10, Illinois

Write down everything you need on a checklist. Before you leave the house, look through your backpack to make sure you have everything on that list. It's a great way to stay organized.
-Katherine, age 9, Florida

Pack your backpack the night before school. That way, you won't have to scramble to pack up in the morning and possibly leave things behind.
-Leia, age 12, Oregon

If you have a binder, divide it into sections by subject, such as reading, social studies, science, and so on. When you get an assignment, put it in the binder under its category. When you're done with your homework, put the assignment back. This system will keep your binder organized, and it's an easy way to find things.
-Lia, age 11, Vermont

I have a dry-erase board on my bedroom wall. Every day, I write down the school stuff I need to do. Then, when I finish each task, I mark it off. This always keeps me organized.
-Nikita, age 13, North Carolina

To avoid leaving textbooks at home, put them right into your backpack when you're finished with them. So simple, but it works.
-Anna, age 12, Virginia

When you need to remember something, write it on a sticky note. If you have to bring a textbook home from school, write yourself a note and stick it up in your locker. Or if you need to bring something from home, put a note on your bedroom door. Use these reminders whenever you need them, and they'll become part of your routine.
-Zoe, age 9, Missouri

Ask your teacher if he or she has any suggestions for organization. You might learn some helpful tips.
-Jacelyn, age 12, New York

Before bed, go through your backpack. Ask yourself questions such as, Do I have my math book? Is there a quiz tomorrow? Did I grab my spelling homework? Ask yourself similar questions before leaving school, too. Sometimes you just need to stop and think for a second before rushing off to the next thing. When it comes to being organized, slowing down can help a lot.
-Amaris, age 11, New York

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