Author: D'Argenio, Jessica
Date published: August 1, 2011
It's time to mess less. We had some of our fave neat freaks share their no-fail tips on how absolutely anyone (yep, even the most discombobulated babes) can streamline their entire life. A couple tiny tweaks here and there will lead to major payoffs, like never losing your cell or forgetting a homework assignment again. How very neat!
TIME TO KICK OFF YOUR SPICK-AND-SPAN PLAN
Get a head start and by the end of August, you'll have a clean slate.
Jump on it. Your mind is less cluttered during the summer, which makes it perf for this kind of project, says Jamie Novak, expert organizer and author of the blog bitesizeliving.com.
Customize. "Create systems that work for you," adds Peter Walsh, organizational living expert and host of OWN's Enough Already with Peter Walsh. Visual girls might do well with a desktop calendar highlighting important days while tech-y types may be all about the list functions on their cellie.
Pinpoint those mistakes. It's time to be honest about your disorderly conduct. Constantly missing assignments? Stop writing your homework on your hand and keep a day planner glued to you. Can't remember the date of your next violin lesson? Set a cell reminder so you'll have that bow in tow.
Stick with it. As daunting as it seems, you gotta make staying in shipshape a priority. Don't stress if you make a couple missteps. Sunday nights are the ultimate do-over day to kill clutter and prep for the week ahead.
NEXT UP, STRAIGHTEN OUT YOUR SCHOOL BAG
Need a map and a flashlight to locate stuff in your bag? This year, don't let a trashed tote weigh you down.
Rock the rainbow. Pick out 1-inch binders in different colors for all of your classes, suggests Peter. Add tabbed dividers for notes and handouts.
Pick a pocket. Designate a specific spot in your bag for your cell, keys and wallet, then check this pocket before you head out the door or go back home. No more forgetting your phone!
Just in case. Colorful cosmetic bags aren't just for show. They guard tampons and lip gloss from getting crushed under your books (total moolah saver).
Get dumped. Schedule a monthly bag cleanout. File loose work sheets and toss any trashed stuff like dried-up pens.
MASTER YOUR DOMAIN
Nix the sweaty gym socks and mangled notes. You're officially a member of the clean locker club.
Get vertical. Measure your locker and find a narrow plastic bin to place upright on its side. Neatly stow books inside the bin and on top of it.
Short Stacks. Line up your books in order from first period to last, with the spines facing out. At the end of the day, "Always take the extra moment to put them back up," says Jamie.
Stick 'em up. Double your space with removable adhesive hooks for hanging your gym bag, lunch bag, coat, etc.
In-jean-ious. Jamie shares a crafty DIY: Snip the pockets out of an old pair of jeans and use magnetic tape to hang them in your locker. Stuff the pockets with personal items like a small hairbrush, panty liners or lip balm.
Write on. Score a dry-erase board for your door so you can jot notes to yourself as you dash between classes. We heart the Azuna Dry Erase Board ($7, Staples) that you can coordinate to match your locker décor.
DOLL UP YOUR DESK
Clear the decks! A streamlined space helps ya focus so you can finish assignments faster.
In with the new. Create an "inbox" so homework and other important assignments don't get buried. Snag the lid of a clothing gift box and cover with pretty wrapping paper. Cute and functional!
Sort in Style. Pick a colorful over-thedoor shoe hanger and pop it on the wall near your desk. Fill the pockets with your stapler, calculator and other desk supplies instead of your flip-flops.
File happy. Find a cute accordion file to organize all your important school papers. Note: It's A-OK to toss crumpled work sheets from three years ago.
Go big to o green. Most girls don't have a big enough recycling bin under their desks, says Jamie. You'll do the Earth (and your neatnik self!) a solid by having one nearby.
PULL TOGETHER THAT PLANNER
Get calm 'n' clear-headed by keeping yourself on a sched.
The game plan. Use your planner - for everything. Write down deadlines, exam dates, games, even dances, parties and family dinners, and keep it on you at all times. Seriously.
Go digital. Update a digital calendar every week with the notes from your planner (we heart Gmail's cal 'cause you can access it anywhere). Color code each part of your life: One for sports, one for extracurrics, one for school assignments, etc. Check it nightly to see if you've got anything major on the docket for the following day.
Keep on task. Don't underestimate the to-do list. Stay on top of larger projects by setting interim deadlines for yourself, along with notes about things you can't forget to do, like make cupcakes for Friday's bake sale. Plus, let's be honest, crossing items off your list is one of the best feelings ever (psst...we sometimes add obvious musts, just for the mental boost. Flossing? Done and done.)
EXTREME MAKEOVER: E-LIFE EDITION
Your desktop is a sea of random docs and pics? Delete that cyberclutter.
Out With the Old. Create folders for each school year and subfolders for every class. Pop all your old Word docs and PowerPoints in 'em. Anything you're working on currently can remain on your desktop, but after you've turned it in, file that sucker away!
Picture perfect. Once you've posted all the cutest pics to FB, don't let them linger on your laptop. Edit batches down to the best shots, then label them based on the event using short keywords, which'll make them easier to search for down the road when you're making collages or scrapbooks.
Good FB karma. Yes, it exists. Why not delete any negative comments or posts you put out into the blogosphere? Get off on the right (more positive!) foot.
Join the flash mob. Invest in a cute flash drive so you can tote files easily back and forth from the computer lab to your home laptop, Jamie adds. (Try the adorable panda from EMTEC Animal USB Flash Drive, $13, Staples.)