These days more and more college students are choosing to live at home with mom and dad. It’s a great way to save money and lessen the heavy burden of college debt. Not to mention the fact that a lot of universities are offering virtual classes or the ability to take classes online, which are available for students who live on their own.

Whether you are living at home, and spending more time at home, or taking convenient online classes, you are going to be faced with more distractions than if you were in a university lecture hall. Keeping yourself focused, and organized will go a long way toward getting the work done that you need to get done while pulling in the grades you need to justify the per-credit expense of getting a higher education.

The following are just a few tips to help keep things organized in your study space, to keep you focused and efficient.

Establish A Private Study Spot

Just like people who work from home, you need to have some sort of dedicated office space or study space. Especially if you are attending a virtual class online. The last thing you need is a “Roommate” or your parents walking around in the background of one of your zoom classes.

If you can’t lock a door, make sure to have a quick little talk about the need for privacy and “Quiet Time” during your online classes. It might also help to post a schedule on your door. Maybe even a classic subtle clue like a tie or hanger on the doorknob will help let them know that you shouldn’t be disturbed.

Keep Your Desk Organized

The last thing you want is to be rummaging around for a pen or pencil just to jot down notes when a professor gets on a tear droning out key details that you will surely need to know for the next essay test. A classic desk organizer set is a great way to help you keep everything in its proper place. Though you need not take such a traditional route. Even something as simple as a few pen cups and some stackable paper bins will go a long way toward keeping essential items close at hand when you need them.

Drawer Organization Is Essential

Most desks have a drawer or three to help hold essential work and study items. These are the sort of thing that you might not need every minute of every day, but they also aren’t the sort of thing that you want to waste a lot of time hunting for. This includes things like scissors, highlighters, art supplies, staplers, paper clips, and a lot of other lightweight loose items that have a knack for tangling together when they aren’t properly organized.

Drawer dividers are a simple and easy way to these items separated as well as easy to find. If anything, they can keep the top drawer of your desk from devolving into a junk drawer. Most can be as simple are stout pieces of cardboard, plastic or small wooden spacers that you can move at a moment’s notice when your drawer if your drawer organization needs happen to change.

Filing Cabinet Organization

Some desks come with one or two deep drawers with rails built into them. You can then hang folders from them to help you organize subjects and keep papers separated. It’s also a great way to store resource materials with the spine up so you can find them quickly.

If your home office desk doesn’t have a deep drawer or two like this, you might want to look into a short-stack filing cabinet. They can usually be found new for less than $50 or used for around $20 at a thrift store. Even if it doesn’t come with the rails installed, you can usually find them for pretty cheap. Most of these short-stack filing cabinets are short enough that they will tuck under most student desks or even a simple kitchen table.

Convert Shelves For Books Printers & Other Appliances

Printers, scanners, and other peripheral devices can eat up a lot of desktop space. The temptation is to forgo having them close at hand. Though this usually comes back to bite you when it comes time to print out that paper or if you need to take some documents with you. Even if you have a wireless network to tap into, most peripheral devices still want to be close to the laptop or tablet that’s transmitting the information.

One way to tackle this challenge is to install or covert a nearby shelf to hold it. This way the printer or other peripheral device will still be close by, but it won’t eat up your desk space. Just take a few extra minutes to come up with a way to make sure the device is secured on the shelf. This might include using some wood glue to install a lip at the front attaching a rubber traction pad or locking the feet in place with some contact adhesive.

While you are at it, you might want to also install some shelf dividers for course-related books and resources. This will help keep subjects and materials grouped together so you can find what you need without letting them accidentally mingle.

Use A White Board, Chalkboard Or Cork Board For Reminders

These days it’s easy for even the most organized person to find their schedule getting scrambled up like a pan of eggs. You can keep yourself from decorating your monitor with a spectrum of curled-up post-it notes, by giving yourself a dedicated wall space for key reminders. This might be a dry erase whiteboard, chalk board or a corkboard for thumbtack notes.

If your professor is going to change the time for a zoom lesson or an online test, you can see it at a glance. You can also leave yourself reminders or put up notes for your parents or roommates to stay up to date with key parts of your schedule.