Study Skills Chapter 5 Organize your Backpack

Thursday, September 16, 2021

I like to run.  Whenever I complete long runs it helps to carry water, and some type of food to replace burned calories. For many years I ran with a fuel belt. A fuel belt is a terrible-looking contraption that resembles a mix between a fanny pack and an oversized, ugly belt. However, they can hold gel packs and water, making them very practical for running. In fact, I became so accustomed to wearing my fuel belt that I could not even consider going on a long run without it strapped around my waist. You may feel the same way about your backpack. They become your portable security blanket with everything you would ever need inside. I would like to make a couple of organizing suggestions to help you get the most out of your backpack.

Organize backpack

Here is a shortlist of helpful items to carry in your backpack:



Colored pens



Post-it notes

Pencil pouch

Cell phone charger

Mini stapler

Subject binders

Portable hole-punch (these can staple into your notebooks)

Zip drive (they might seem a little outdated or unnecessary but are still helpful)

Water bottle


Breath mints/gum

Hand sanitizer



School ID

“Emergency Money” ($5-10 just in case you ever run into a situation you need a few bucks)


The biggest problem I have witnessed over the years with backpacks is students not cleaning them out.  Your backpack needs to be cleaned out at least once every two weeks, and once a week is even better. When you clean out your backpack you can follow the simple acronym DIRT.

D  Dump everything out of your backpack.

I    Inventory the items in your backpack. When you inventory your backpack you are just getting an idea of what you have inside the backpack.

R Repack the backpack with all of your essentials. Make note of any items you are out of such as pens, pencils, band-aids, hand sanitizer, notecards, etc are rep

Also place important papers, that are not trash, back in the correct notebook. This habit will save you stress and time in the long run.

T Toss out any trash.

DIRT is a great habit to begin practicing and can follow you in life. I love to mountain bike. Like most mountain bikers I wear a specialized, sporty backpack when I ride. I have learned the hard way to always keep important tools and an extra tire tube with me. In the middle of a ride, several miles from my car, my tire went flat. I realized I had forgotten to pack my pump in my bag and had to push my bike back to the car. Another time, after driving over an hour to ride a trail, my chain broke and my handy dandy toolset was left at home. I was unable to ride and had to drive an hour back home. The moral of the story is: Take some time out of your schedule and use the DIRT method to organize your backpack. This keeps what you need with you at all times and what you don’t need out your bag. 

Summary Notes:

Schedule a set time every two weeks to clean out your backpack and restock supplies.

Use DIRT (Dump, Inventory, Repack, Trash) to clean out your school backpack.

Additional Resources

Entire Free Study Skills Workbook Playlist

Chapter 4



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