Chances are, your backpack is tucked away somewhere right now, filled with everything from notebooks and binders to pencils and papers. But if you clean it out, you’ll actually be able to use it for lots of other purposes—and it’ll be so much easier to find things quickly once school starts back up. Start as you mean to go on with these backpack organization ideas. You’ll never have to rummage and scramble to find things again.
How To Organize Backpacks Like a Pro
1. CLEAR EVERYTHING OUT.
Start by taking everything out of your backpack—even the items you’re planning to put back in. Decide what items are worth mending (think: broken pencil halves that can be sharpened or dirty binders that need cleaning) and which ones should be thrown out or given away.
As you pull things out, divide everything up into categories so you can clearly see what you have. Don’t forget to organize any binders, notebooks, folders, and papers by subject. Then, be sure to note what you don’t need and what’s missing. Maybe you’ve got extra pens to put in your desk, for example, but need a new planner to keep track of deadlines.
2. CLEAN YOUR BACKPACK THOROUGHLY.
Now that your backpack is empty, it’s time to give it a clean. Turn everything inside out and shake your backpack over a trash can to get rid of any small crumbs, scraps, dirt, or other items. If you have a vacuum with a hose attachment, you can use it to remove small debris from the creases and corners of your bag.
Next, it’s time to wash your bag. If you have a Right Pack, Big Student, or SuperBreak® backpack, dampen a cloth with cool water and use it to wipe down your bag, avoiding any pieces of leather or suede. Never throw your bag in a washing machine or use detergents or bleach, as these can distort your bag’s shape, finish, and color. When you’re done, hang up your backpack and let it air dry.
Once your bag’s dry, you can decorate it with fabric markers or patches to show off your personality.
3. ADD ACCESSORIES
First, take a good look at your newly-cleaned backpack and think about the compartments that you have available. Do you have a built-in padded sleeve for your laptop? If not, you might need a case. Are there pen holders or will you need a separate pencil case or organization pouch like the Dopp Kit? How big are the compartments?
The Cinch Caddy is a great multitasker, while a Medium Accessory Pouch is great for pens, pencils, and any other stationery. And, Large Accessory Pouches have two compartments, which you could use for cords and chargers. If you need more than one case of the same size, consider getting them in different colors so that you know what’s inside without opening it.
4. ORGANIZE YOUR ITEMS
Now the backpack organization games really begin. There are a few things to consider before you start filling your backpack up. Sort the items you want to put back into your backpack into pouches and cases, sticking to one type of item in each one. This way, it’ll be easier to keep your bag neat, to find what you’re looking for, and to change up what’s in your bag based on the day’s needs.
Have specific kits for particular needs. For example, if you’re going to be out all day and want to pack some additional makeup items, make a beauty pouch. Keep your pencils and pens separate from your lip balm and SPF. That way you’ll be able to find what you need much faster without rummaging. And, it saves you from carrying around extra weight you don’t need for specific days.
A tech kit is always a great idea too. Keeping all your cords, chargers, earbuds, and thumb drives in one pouch is a game-changer.
Don’t forget to pack a refillable water bottle too. Make sure you wash it out thoroughly after each use, then refill it ready for your next outing.
If you’re packing a lunch for the day, keeping it separate from your other items not only protects your tech from sandwich crumbs or leaking yogurt, it also keeps your food items chilled and your warm items warm. The Lunch Break is a great addition for your backpack.
5. FILL IT UP.
Finally, it’s time to put your backpack organization into action and place the items back in your bag. Put the pouches with items you often use in front compartments which are more easily accessible. Heavier and bulkier items should go in the main compartment. Depending on what you’re carrying, you may want to put items that weigh more at the bottom, so that your bag stands upright without toppling over when you’re not using it.
Now that you’ve got your backpack organized, keep it up! Wipe your bag down regularly and always put everything back in its place. Don’t let things mount up again. This way it’ll be much easier to just grab your bag and go without having to re-organize it every time you head out.