As nerdy as this sounds, I love organizing my binders and backpack. This could be simply because the more organized I am the more organized I feel overall. So here are my suggestions:
If you are “advised” by your professor that you will need a certain sized binder, take that as an indication that you will need a binder JUST for that class. Otherwise I always group my binders by day. For instance, if I have 2 Monday/Wednesday classes I put those two subjects in one 1.5 to 2 inch binder. However, if you are carrying 12 units and all classes are on Monday/Wednesday (or Tuesday/Thursday) it might be a good idea to group them in “subjects” or similar subjects. For instance, Math and Science in one binder while English and History are in another. Some people prefer to have all subjects in their own binders, but that can be pretty space-consuming in your backpack!
Use 3-4 tabs for each subject depending on the course. I have one tab for handouts, one for notes and one for returned assignments. So if you group your classes in 2, you would need 6 tabs overall. Also — paper! I cannot tell you how many classmates have borrowed paper from me simply because they forget to put paper in their own binder.
And for inside your backpack here is my suggested must-haves:
Aside from what you should carry, it’s a good idea to clean out your backpack on a daily or weekly basis. I have in previous semesters left old papers and random stuff in my backpack and to be honest it just wasted space and weighed down my bag! Also, on top of organizing my backpack and binders, I try to keep my desk at home organized. I use a 3 drawer storage container to store my extra work that isn’t necessary to carry with me on campus. That way I don’t have to throw away papers and will have them in one spot for future use (like when studying for finals).
The more organized you are, the less stress you will feel especially as someone who is busy not only with school but also with children. Not only will you feel less stressed, but good organizational habits will also help you prevent procrastination.
I hope this helps! If you have any more questions please feel free to ask me! And if anyone would like to add their items to the list in the comments section, please feel free to chime in!