Dear American Girl,

I am not great at keeping things organized. My desk is usually a mess, and I lose things all the time. Next year I'm starting middle school, so I really want to work on my organization skills. Does anyone have any organization tips to share? I could use some help!
-Cluttered

Here's your advice:

Here's a simple way to stay organized: When you're finished with something, put it away. Your constant clutter just might disappear.
-Bri, age 12, Indiana

I have a tendency to shove my things into a backpack, into my locker, or under my bed. Since I know this about myself, I've made it a habit that every Friday, I spend a few minutes cleaning and organizing spots I've cluttered throughout the week. It also helps me to separate important items from the unimportant ones.
-Susan, age 13, Finland

First, start fresh and empty everything out from your desk. Sort things into piles, and get rid of anything you don't need. Then find a place for each item that's left, and stick to putting it there. Don't worry―Not every girl is neat all the time.
-Grette, age 11, Minnesota

Don't try to change your habits all at once. Instead, make it a goal to clean up and improve areas one at a time. For example, one day you could organize your books, and the next day you could label folders for school. That way, you might not feel as frustrated.
-Kathryn, age 12, Indiana

Straighten up your desk, and when it looks just right, snap a picture. Hang that picture next to your desk. Then, when it gets messy, look at the picture to remind yourself that your desk should match the photo.
-Kenna, age 10, Minnesota

In your room, have separate bins for items that tend to get lost in the shuffle, such as homework papers, pens and pencils, and art supplies. Then label each bin for easy sorting.
-Kaylee, age 11, Illinois

My school stuff used to be pretty disorganized, so I decided to start color-coding my notebooks and folders for each class. For example, if you try it, your notebook could be blue for your social studies class, and your folder for papers would be blue, too. It's an easy (and colorful!) way to stay organized.
-Sharon, age 13, New Mexico

Spend just five minutes every day organizing your things. Put away items you left out on your desk, go through your school papers for the next day, and make sure you have everything in your backpack that you'll need tomorrow.
-Madeline, age 10, Pennsylvania

If you're dreading organizing things in your room, turn on some fun, upbeat music while you clean up. Give yourself bonus points for singing and dancing, too!
-Teresa, age 11, Kentucky

Leave reminder notes for yourself to stay on top of organizing. For example, you could stick a note on your bathroom mirror that says, "Clean desk," or put a note on a school folder that says, "Put away homework."
-Sofia, age 8, Connecticut

Are there too many pencils on your desk? Or a stack of unread books? Start organizing by eliminating anything that is unnecessary. Stash those items somewhere else or ask if you can donate them. The fewer things that you have on your desk, the easier it'll be to stay organized.
-Clara, age 11, New York

Instead of waiting until you start middle school, come up with an organization system now. Decide where you should keep what in your desk, set up a binder for your homework, and make sure your locker is tidy, just to name a few ideas. Get organized as soon as you can, and it'll be an easier transition into middle school.
-Olivia, age 10, North Carolina

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