Organizing your Stuff


I always thought I was good at organizing until I started going through my "stuff." Boy, do I have a lot of stuff! If you are a teacher, professional developer, or administrator, you probably have paper, books, articles, software, and lots of other "stuff" that you don’t need anymore.

[drawing from Breathing Space (]

I started asking myself some questions that you might want to ask yourself:

  • How long do I really need to keep all of these old project files, journals, reference materials?
  • What will happen if I let this file go?
  • Is it available online?

Keep it Simple

  • Clean your desk before you leave the office or classroom.
  • Set up bookshelves for essentials just for you.
  • Be selective about what you keep on your desk and shelves.
  • Use stacking trays for things to read, file, or to give to someone else.


  • Go through your scrapbooks to find pictures to digitize.
  • Take inventory and don’t try to save or scan everything.
  • Save pictures on your computer, back up on CDs or upload into online photo albums at sites such as FlickR (, Shutterfly (, SnapFish ( and other photo album sites.
  • Store your files in folders. (I’ll probably do a tip on this later)
  • Save your favorite Websites in your Locker using the WRL builder in My eCoach (, bookmarks or favorites, the Firefox extension Scrapbook (, or check out the tip on (


  • Limit your reading material. You cannot read everything and yet retain all the information you read.
  • Throw out the oldest material (read or not) when that space is full. This was really tough for me. I still have journals from the 1990’s. I just know I’ll need them someday!
  • Touch it once and then move on. Use the DRAFT technique:
  • Delegate
  • Read
  • Act
  • File
  • Toss

Stop Buying

  • Think before acquiring more. Ask yourself if you really need this new item or where you will store it.
  • Purge file folders and storage items before adding more things to your limited space.

Next Tip: Renaming Photos