I'm disorganized; don't know how to create places for things—please help

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    I’m talking piles of files; stuff scattered; almost complete chaos;
    —the opposite of “A place for everything and everything in it’s place;” <—- that’s the big one (I DON”T KNOW HOW TO CREATE PLACES FOR THINGS)
    —“Stickers?! Heck if I know where to put these; I guess I’ll jet leave them on my desk.”
    —“Clarinet mouthpiece with no ligature… well I need to find a ligature for it before I find a place for it; I guess I will just leave it here for now.”
    —Donald Duck’s brain in Disney’s, “Donald in Mathemagic Land.”
    —If this was golf I would be shooting in the 120’s

    I’ve adapted to be able to function like this, but it is something I need to work on, one step at a time.
    Consider me a novice, beginner organizer. Pretend I do not know the first thing about organization. I need some very easy, simple, basic things I can to at my level.

    Were you like this and then improved? How did you do it? I don’t know how to create placed for things. Please help.


    OK- I’ll take a shot at this. I struggle with exactly the same thing, but I’ve been trying to work on it.
    For paperwork, stickers, flat things- get a box of file folders, file everything in a labeled folder, and store the folders in a filing cabinet or desk drawer alphabetically- ex: “Assessment forms,” “Articles (things I rip out of The Instrumentalist and other journals,” “Music Theory Worksheets,” “Programs,” “Stickers,” “Staff Paper,” etc. Don’t allow yourself a “miscellaneous” folder or drawer, or you’ll use it for everything.
    I have a set of stacking trays in my office- one is for things that need to be photocopied, one is for things I need to grade, one is for things to hand back to the kids. The one I need to get rid of is my “in” box, because I put too much in there and never deal with it. My new goal with mail is to “touch it once-” either toss it or deal with it right away.
    The one place where I’m very organized is our music library. It was worth it to take a couple of days to do a chart of every piece in the library- I have columns for title, composer, difficulty, length (if I have that info) and when we last performed it. I have a separate one for concert band, jazz band, pops, pep band, etc. I also keep a list each year of everything that we played, so that when I’m planning I can make sure that we’re not repeating something the kids have done, or that they all get to play the big ones at some point. I keep it all in a small binder, along with a section where I keep a wish list, and a section where I copied out the rep lists from the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band books, along with other rep lists.
    I keep the instrument inventory in a binder, too- a chart with every instrument, serial number, who has is signed out in the front, and the individual contracts in the rest of it. For me, it helps to keep anything related to instruments in score order.
    Big plastic bins can be helpful- make sure that you label it on all sides. I have one for lyres and flip folders, one for brass mutes, one for stand lights and extension cords, etc. If a bin isn’t labeled or transparent, it’s not helpful.
    As I said, I struggle with this, too, and I would love to hear suggestions from other people. My next goal is to get the percussion equipment more organized. I think the problem right now is that I don’t have the right sized shelves for everything. Does anyone have any luck with storing auxilliary percussion in bins? If so, how do you separate them, and where do you keep them?
    Thanks, and good luck!


    Hi! I have been the same way. I use everything….3-m hooks on the wall and labels….one thing you can do with papers you need is scan them in and email them to yourself with your school printer if you have this feature. Then store them as PDF on your computer! Saves a ton of space and you can file them on your computer. Also, every school has a surplus warehouse…I went to mine and found some great cabinets that were no longer being used. I labeled them and used 3-m hooks to hang loose auxiliary. I have each instrument labeled along with mallets and their strengths. My drummers actually put things away correctly now. 3 ring binders with clear paper protectors are also a great way to store paperwork or assignments. Just make sure you label EVERYTHING. I invested in a labeled from Walmart and use that.
    Good luck! Send a pic to pedaluda65@gmail.com of your office and room situation and may be I can give you some more ideas!

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