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What a mess! Have you ever heard the words, “Time to clean up”? Organization is a mental and physical process of bringing order to chaos. It is an attempt to put objects in their place and to order things. Are you an organized person? Being organized is an important skill that helps you stay focused, complete tasks and work faster and more efficiently. Poor organization can lead to carelessness and wastefulness. Part of being organized is recognizing that everything has its time and place. People organize their belongings so that they are easy to access. For example you might organize your clothes. You might find that you put your sock in one place, your shoes in another. Should coats go in one closet and shirts and pants in drawers? If things are not organized, they soon become a messy mountain! When things are messy it sometimes takes a lot longer to find something. Besides organizing your things, you can organize your day. Benjamin Franklin created an hourly schedule for what he would do when. Organizing your activities helps you plan ahead and reminds you when you should be where! This journey encourages you to organize something to improve its function and/or its use.

Activity 1 – Make notes

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Write it down. When you get an idea have a notebook or journal handy to capture what you are thinking. Carry a pad of paper like a reporter. Keep records like a scientist. Make conceptual sketches like an architect. Making notes helps to organize what we are thinking, or what we imagine, or what we are trying to figure out.

Activity 2 – Make lists

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Make lists. It is impossible for almost all of us to remember everything. Writing down gives us a visual reference and reminder. Use posts it for reminders. Make To Do lists. Make notes on tablets or on an online calendar on a computer. Make one to do list for today! Besides organizing your things, you can organize your day. Benjamin Franklin created an hourly schedule for what he would do when. Organizing your activities helps you plan ahead and reminds you when you should be where!

Activity 3 – Color-code

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Color-coding is a really useful tool to organize your life. You can color code classes you are taking in different color folders. You can color code your clothes putting whites together, then grays, blacks and finally the rainbow ranges- yellow orange red purple blue green. You can color code your crayons, pencils or pens and then you know right where to reach to get the color you need. Color affects our mood and memory. Highlight notes in different colors: People can be orange. Dates can be yellow. You can also color code urgency into what takes priority over something else.

Activity 4 – Stack it

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What if all of the books in the library were in a pile? It truly would be very hard to find what you were looking for. The same goes for your books on your desks and your clothes in your drawers. Piles are not the most organized structures. Find a pile of magazines or books or clothes. Take a before picture. Organize your pile with the biggest item (folded if necessary) on the bottom all the way up to the smallest on top. Take an after picture. Compare the two pictures. Which do you prefer?

Activity 5 – Box it

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Boxes come in different shape and sizes. They are very good at stacking. Boxes can store just about anything! Boxes help organize clutter on shelves. When you collect so many paper, pencils, crayons, and school supplies, you can sort them in boxes. Label the boxes so that you know what is inside if the boxes are opaque and not transparent.

Activity 6 – Arrange it

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Open any cupboard or closet drawer. Are things in a disarray? Putting things in order often starts with arranging same with same. Pick one storage area such as a bookshelf or a dish cabinet or towel cupboard. Take everything out. Sort what you have taken out into piles of the same items. Fold and arrange all of the items when putting them back. You can arrange things by size, color, function, or frequency of use. Arranging things in an orderly fashion is an art!

Be an arranging artist!

Activity 7 – Clean it up!

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Look around your house or your classroom. What area of yours seems to be in a mess? What area looks like a traffic jam of materials! What area could be organized better? Your desk? Your top drawer????

Read about The Science of a Tidy Home for ideas on how to get started.

Pick any area, large or small that seems to be in need of new order! Take a before and after picture. Imagine a new order and a new you! Create a desk top organizer.

Remember, it is you vs. your stuff!

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Activity 8 – Clean it out!

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Start with your purse, your backpack, or a catch all drawer. First, sort everything into two piles. One pile is to throw away and the other is to put away. Now you can decide how to organize what is left. For instance you might organize by size notebooks on a shelf. You might organize by topics like books on a shelf. You might also organize by function putting pens with pens, paper with papers, etc. This activity is really good for desktops and drawers.

Start Cleaning!

Activity 9 – Organize Your Desktop

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Everyday at school you work at a table or a desk. At home you probably also have tables and desks where you can sit and do projects. What supplies do you need on hand? What tools do you need close by? Do you need a lamp? Do you need an electrical outlet? Will you use paper? What writing tools do you need? Brainstorm and conceptualize a desktop organizer that you can model and build our of cardboard. Make a conceptual model and upload it to the gallery!

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Activity 10 – Organizing the world!

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Now that you have actively set about to organize things close to you, imagine organizing the world. Since the beginning of time people have organized farming, transportation, housing, governments, culture and education. Use Vizuword to discover words like form, arrange, prepare, set up, arrange, schedule, choreograph, direct, structure, conceive and create to see how many careers organize something for some purpose. Make a list of people who organize. See how many you can come up with in five minutes. Be sure to write the name of the person or career, how they organize (use a variety of verbs) and what they organize.

What will you organize?


  • When cleaning out you can start by sorting things into piles
  • Color coding your lists can help you
  • Arranging items in a drawer or on a shelf or in a closet is an art.
  • Organization is a an effort to bring order to
  • Making lists helps you to
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