Organized Charm

Thursday, October 13, 2016

What to Carry in a Backpack for College

In college, your backpack is kind of like your home away from home. Wait... that’s your car. So, your backpack is like your car away from your car. Which is your home away from home. See where I’m going with that? 

Backpacks are really important. They hold everything that you may need as you voyage out into the day of trekking across a wet or hot or cold campus (uphill both ways, of course)! As you spend more time in school, you’ll really determine what your must-have items are. 

Here are the ones that I suggest! 

1. Mechanical Pencils

I love mechanical pencils because they have the benefits of a pen but they’re also erasable. I NEVER EVER try to color code my notes or make them pretty in class (learned that my freshman year). I simply write my class notes in pencil and rewrite them in a pretty way when I get home!

2. Black or Blue Pen

Carrying around a black or blue pen is just part of being an adult. You never know when you’ll have to sign something / turn it in... and it can be a little embarrassing when someone tells you they can’t accept something written in pink ink (true story from my life). 

3. Planner

Obviously! I never go anywhere without my planner

4. Stapler

I like having a tiny stapler (in a pretty color, of course). It makes me feel really put together when everyone is lining up to use the classroom stapler and I just whip out my own at my seat. Bonus: Pink staples! 

Purse Organization + Essentials

5. Water Bottle & Snack

Getting dehydrated can be really easy for college students. In order to be your most effective self, make sure to eat and drink consistently every day! It sounds so easy, but it can be challenging, especially towards the end of the semester when things get busy!

6. Textbooks (obvi.)

When you’re walking around campus, it’s super important to bring along those textbooks! And I prefer plain, old, paper textbooks over digital books any day! Just think of all the muscles you’re building by carrying them around! 

Back to School Shopping List

7. Notebook

I used to have an individual notebook for each class (partly because I just hoarded pretty notebooks and hoped they could be used in the future). However, I have really come to love having ONE notebook with different sections for each subject/class. 

OR if you can’t find one with enough different subjects for each class, buy notebooks and use them based on day. For example all of your M/W/F classes in one... all of your T/R classes in another. 

8. Class Folders

I have a really streamlined folder system. I would suggest buying one 2-pocket folder (that you think is really pretty) for each class. Inexpensive and doesn’t take up a lot of room in your backpack!

9. USB Drive

This is super essential for college! I do NOT love to carry my laptop around campus, so I would just have everything on my USB drive and use the school computers. 

10. Post-It Tabs

LITERALLY THE BEEEST! Instead of *highlighting while I’m in class, I flag any pages my professors say are important and revisit them later! This also makes making study guides a breeze! 

*You’ll notice I do NOT have highlighters on this list. That’s because I think that we get too excited and either highlight things that don’t need to be highlighted or highlight things inconsistently. I bring a mechanical pencil to class with me and write notes in the margins. I save the highlighting for studying at home so I know it follows a specific system. 

Here is my system for highlighting: Effective Ways to Highlight Your Textbooks

Welcome to Organized Charm, where the author has strong opinions on highlighting :) 

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What essentials to you have to have in your backpack? Leave your list below! 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

How I Organize My Passion Planner

I'm a bit of a planner addict. 

I love flipping through new planners at the store. I love buying new planners (unfortunately for my husband). 

I love bringing new planners home for the first time. I love planning out how I will use new planners and putting my "big" dates into them. I love washi tape and highlighters and stickers and color-coded pens and basically anything that pertains to a planner (and could also cost me money)!

It's a little weird; I know. 

My new favorite is the Passion Planner! Have you tried it? If not, you should!

The thing I like about the Passion Planner is that it's very "grown up" feeling. It's sleek and durable. And the inside makes you look like a total organization boss. 

So, I decided to show y'all how I've been using my planner! I've also stuck with the same planner for the entire year (which shouldn't be a big deal, but it is)! 

Alright, here we go!

A tour of my Passion Planner


So, first of all, I love color! I am a big fan of anything brightly-colored. I love Lilly. I love the beach. I am a total sucker for anything written in rainbow letters (what am I, 5?). I am totally crazy about color! And the traditional Passion Planner is black. 

However, I have found that (with all that other color going on), I really like the black! My planner is never drawing attention to itself in meetings. It's never too "flashy" or distracting. I feel totally comfortable getting it out at work. 

Plus, it's durable enough to live in my work bag (which is not an easy task)! 

I used Post-It tabs to give me quick access to "This Week" "Next Week", "This Month" and "Next Month". I like how the overall simplicity of this planner leaves a lot of room for creativity and personalization! 

Inside Cover

Something that's kind of cool about this planner is that it gives you suggestions for what to write where. You can totally ignore those if you want. Or you can choose to write everything that the planner suggests that you write. I choose to write everything that the planner suggests that I write. 

On the inside cover, it suggests that I write my favorite quotes. So I wrote... you guessed it... Favorite quotes! 

Passion Roadmap 

This is the coolest part of the planner and was the selling point for me! The Passion Roadmap! A place to write out your goals for the next few years and break them down into achievable steps! 

You write out your Lifetime goals, 3 year goals, 1 year goals, and 3 month goals. Then, under each monthly view AND each weekly view, there is a place for you to list tiny, achievable steps to get you to that goal!

Monthly View

The Monthly View section is another one of my favorite parts of this planner! I like that it has room for a "work focus" and "personal focus". I also like that it has a "work to do list" and a "personal to do list". 

Because, sometimes, some of us (*ahem* me) need help remembering that work and personal are two different parts of life. 

Weekly View 

The Weekly view is what keeps me feeling really organized! I love it because it has TIME SLOTS which are so awesome for planning! They also keep me from over-scheduling or double-booking myself. You can't write two things in the same time slot, after all! 

Monthly Reflection

For me, this is what separates this planner from others. It adds a journaling aspect that most planners don't have. Which turns into a great tool to use for planning for the future, but also for reflecting on the past. 

In grown-up world, "reflecting" is such a HUGE part of professional development. Presenters ask you to reflect. Your boss asks you to reflect. Your co-workers ask you to reflect. You ask yourself to reflect. So, it's a really great adult, professional habit to get into, if you aren't doing it already! 

Blank Pages 

Usually, I'm guilty of not using the "notes" pages in the back of a planner because I'm always over-analyzing how I will use it and waiting for the perfect thing to write back there. 

Knowing that I'll carry it around all year usually makes me very selective about what I write. 

However, there are SO many pages in the Passion Planner that I don't feel like they have to be that orchestrated. I've saved a lot of random thoughts back there, which is what it's for!

Here are some things that I've used the blank pages for:

  • Travel Journal 
  • Church Notes
  • Packing Lists
  • Cleaning Schedule (my husband is totally laughing right now)
  • Party Planning
  • Landscaping Ideas

Graph Paper

In high school, I HATED graph paper (unless I was using markers to fill in the squares with pretty colors). 

However, now that I'm an adult, the graph paper section is my favorite. Why? Because it's perfect for MAKING LISTS! And everything lines up perfectly! 

And I am a big fan of list-making and having things lined up perfectly! 

So, I really hope you enjoyed this planner tour! 

I've been using it since January and I am really determined to finish the year strong! They also have planners for the academic year (August-July), which is probably what I'll get next year! 

Do you have a Passion Planner or a bullet journal? If so, what kinds of ways have you thought of to use it? And what are some of your favorite lists to make? (list-obsessed here)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

What's New at Organized Charm

If you've been following this blog for a while, you may have noticed it's been inactive (or veeery sparsely active) for quite a while. 

If you've just landed here for the first time, welcome! I'm Kirsten!

I just wanted to give y'all a little update about what's been going on in my normal life, Organized Charm, and a few little changes:

First- Why Organized Charm only had 8 posts last year:

So, I've been teaching Kindergarten for as long as I've been writing OC posts. However, last year was a drastic change for me because I switched from private schools to public school. And wow, what a difference it was!

If you are a public school teacher, I definitely applaud you because it was SO MUCH MORE challenging than I could possibly have imagined! The meetings, the class sizes, the testing... The paperwork alone was exhausting!

Additionally, I was working in a low-income, urban environment so my class roster was constantly changing. Due to unstable living environments, I had students coming in and leaving throughout the year with no warning... which also made it a really emotional year.

As a teacher, it's really hard to invest your time and energy your students and then just have them disappear one day. It's also difficult to never really have your routines and procedures in place because new students are coming in every week. 

I learned SO much from my experience but I'll definitely save it for a different post!

On to the part that impacted Organized Charm- 

Our particular school had an extended day (7:45-4:30). I can probably count on one hand the number of days that I left "on time". 

On an early day, I left between 5:30-6:00. On a meeting night, my team stayed until the janitor kicked us out at 8:30. Luckily, I LOVED my teaching team because we spent a lot of time together. 

So, unfortunately, there wasn't really a lot of extra time/energy left for posting on Organized Charm or any of its social media outlets. 

If you have an unanswered comment, email, question, or requested post... I am SO sorry! I am currently working to catch up on them all!

Second- The "updated" version of Organized Charm

Another thing that's been difficult about writing is that... I'm not in college anymore. 

So, writing about college-related things and study tips can be kind of difficult the further and further into non-academic life that I get. But don't worry, I'm always one step away from going back to school... again :) I'll still write about school, of course, but I also need to throw in some more "grown up" stuff to keep OC relevant to my life! 

Even though I'm not regularly writing about school and studying anymore, there is already SO MUCH of that content on Organized Charm that I think it's still a good resource for college students! 

I rounded up all of those posts and put them together under the "Organized College" tab at the top of the page. If that page is a little too overwhelming for you, I also broke those posts down into 3 smaller categories:

If you've been a reader of OC since Day 1, chances are, you're getting pretty close to graduation!

If that's you, then you may want to start checking out the "Organized Career" tab, which will be updated frequently on job search tips, networking, and other fun "grown-up" things! 

I am really excited to say that I finally have my DREAM job in my DREAM school! So, I will definitely be sharing more tips about finding and starting a new job!

Another thing that is different about OC is that I closed my Etsy store and I am no longer accepting sponsorships and/or sponsored blog posts. 

I REALLY appreciate y'all's support of Organized Charm's Etsy store! And for entering the giveaways, checking out the products, etc.

BUT, you've heard that expression "too many irons in the fire"? 

I mean, I've never actually seen an iron in a fire, but I can certainly make up what I think it means. And what I think it means is that, when you try to do too much, you don't really do any of it well

That's kind of how I felt about Etsy. I just didn't have the time to invest what needed to be invested into it. Sponsorships were kind of the same thing. 

I have had the chance to work with some great companies and review some incredible products over the past few years. However, it can be really stressful to keep up with all the deadlines, requirements, etc. that come along with sponsorships. 

I just want OC to be a thing that brings me joy, not another obligation in my already busy life. I am excited to say that I feel like it's fun again! 

Third- Organized Charm around the Social Media Universe

Kind of along the same lines of making blogging fun again, I want to make social media fun again... not another obligation. 

Like everyone, I have platforms that I absolutely love and others that aren't particularly my favorite. So, I've decided that, instead of trying to post everywhere, I'll just post on my favorite platforms and not worry so much about the others!

I tend to be a big fan of platforms that are visual-based because I just want to look at pretty pictures (I mean, who doesn't?)! 

If you're looking for OC's social media accounts that will be used the most frequently, become a follower of these:

If you want to be notified about new posts but not be bombarded with endless photos of my planner and closet organization projects, become a follower of these: 

(Welll... they may still have a few photos of my planner.)

And, of course, you can always follow OC via email/RSS feed by entering your email address in the "Join Our List" box to the right!

You can also still request a post via the Request page! 

Reader requests are my absolute favorite and I am working to queue these posts as quickly as possible! :) 

Thank you SO much!

Thanks for making it to the end of this (lengthy) post!

OC readers are literally the best and I am truly excited to restart this blog and make it more post-grad friendly! :) 

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