Finding school supplies that are catered to your needs while keeping within a budget can be frustrating and discouraging. As a person who fears the unknowns the new school year can bring, having my school supplies customized helps me feel like I have control over my organization skills. Throughout Middle and High School, finding different techniques that work for you can take a lot of trial and error so to help fix that, I compiled some suggestions that have not only allowed me to customize my school supplies but also have helped me save money — by the usage of sticky notes. Sticky notes are mostly known for taking notes and they may seem plain; however, they are versatile in regards to creating DIY school supplies and study strategies to get you through the year.
1. A Homemade Calendar
Calendars help me keep all my activities and their respective scheduled times all in one place, which helps prevents me from over-scheduling. It also allows me to plan ahead of time if I know I have a busy week. Many stores carry calendars that are too big, that don't have enough room for certain days, or that have colors that don't match with your theme. Websites that allow you to personalize your calendar sometimes cost more than all of your other school supplies combined. If you want a cheap solution, use sticky notes to customize colors, format, and designs.
At the beginning of the year, I always set the expectation that I will fill out my calendar when I have an assignment due or have a club that day; however, by the time it is October I forget that I even have a calendar. I have found that the more you like your calendar, the more encouraging it is to use it. Each month you can easily switch the colors around, add new designs, or even try a new format while still saving money on a sustainable solution.
2. Storage for Stationary
Coming home to a cluttered desk with erasers, pencils, paper clips, and loose paper can get in the way of you being productive. When you sit at a desk, you are more likely to finish your homework in less time with the best quality rather than sitting in your bed completing your homework with the worst quality, along with wasting time. Sticky notes will help you keep your desk space neat for when you have to study for an important test. You can buy a stack of post-it notes of any size or color and carve out a square in the middle of the stack. The colorful stack will have a hole to store all your stationery.
My favorite aspects of this hack are that you can control how thick the border is, the amount of space the stack takes up on your desk, the colors, as well as use the remaining carved out post-it notes to make your DIY calendar (hack #1). Keeping a theme throughout my school supplies, whether it be a certain font, color, or graphic, helps me feel organized, which therefore minimizes the stress of missing a homework assignment or forgetting to do an important task. Saving room on your desk with the post-it note storage stack will allow you to put a lamp, a pencil sharpener, a basket of snacks, and have a large space to complete your to-do list.
3. Setting Reading Goals
I have always struggled with reading large amounts of pages in one sitting while still trying to remember the characters, plots, and overall theme. Breaking up the pages in chunks whether it be chapters, amount of pages, or paragraphs if they are long will help you set a more realistic goal. If you set an unrealistic goal, it is easier to procrastinate and harder to begin the task.
Sticky notes allow you to set goals by marking the page you will start off from and the page you will end on. You can visualize how many pages you have left with the sticky note sticking to the top of the page you are working towards which helps prevent procrastination. Because I have a hard time staying motivated to read a book that I don't enjoy, I either write encouraging quotes or an incentive such as " Now you can take a 5 minute break watching youtube videos". I like to use one color for the starting page and another color for the ending page so it's easier to keep track of what I need to accomplish.
4. Make Your To-Do List fun
You can always make a to-do list on one sticky note; however, if you are an artist or like to decorate your room you can make your to-do list into a small graphic. If you write each task on a sticky note using designated colors for tasks due tomorrow, within the next week, and within the next month, you can create a creative image that can be removed as you throw out the sticky-note task you completed in a jar. You can give yourself an incentive to finish all your tasks for that month to help motivate you when you feel the need to procrastinate. You can count up all the crumpled up tasks you have completed, and give yourself a little prize whether that be treating yourself to a message, splurging on clothes, or food.
5. Be Positive Towards Yourself
The morning I have a test, the only thing on my mind is reciting the information I need to know and where I can save time to study throughout the day. Sticky-notes remind me to put things into perspective and help put me in a positive mindset when it is time to take the test. I have overlooked this hack for way too long, and I wish I would’ve tried sooner. At the beginning of the school year, you want to have at least 50 sticky notes on hand with different quotes to boost your confidence. Each time you go to bed, grab one of the sticky-notes and put it either on your alarm clock, study guide, mirror, cereal box, milk jug, lunch box, the dashboard of your car, on your computer, desk, or even the outfit you chose the night before. Even if it is not related to your test, it could be a compliment to yourself!
6. Interactive Studying
Flashcards are great for studying; however, over time, they start to get boring and less engaging. Sticky notes offer a more entertaining study strategy that is less overwhelming and allows you to visualize what you are learning. If you take a language and need to study vocab, you can play a matching game on the wall without creating permanent damage. If you need to learn different tenses, you can write the endings of the conjugations on each sticky-note and stick them in order on the wall.
As a person who is bilingual, along with learning two other languages, this hack made studying for language fun. If I need to review a certain stack of sticky-notes, I know my review won’t be as boring as flashcards. If you have to study for a compare contrast essay, you can use your wall to create three columns: Topic one, Similarities, Topic two. This helps you retain information faster because it is laid out for you to visualize. You can save room on your desk by using the wall which makes your room seem less cluttered.