Terri Martinko is organized when her stress levels are low.
But, when it comes to starting a new semester, a new year and a
whole new set of commitments, it’s a different story.
“Let’s just say that there are a lot of piles,” said Martinko, a
junior health and exercise science major.
Piles may not be an unusual desk accessory for college students,
but Kenneth Tremblay, an interior design professor, said that even
if stress makes it more difficult to stay organized, the main issue
is that clutter causes stress.
“One of the things we really need to look at with organization
is that research says that one of the major causes of stress is a
lack of organization,” Tremblay said.
In any organizational task, Tremblay suggests utilizing four
First, prioritize and identify the most important task. Next,
prepare for the task by spending about 10 minutes at the beginning
of each day getting organized and determining necessary tasks.
Then, simplify the task by finding the most effective way to
accomplish the goal. Finally, keep track of what has been
accomplished and what has not been accomplished and analyze the
task to determine how to improve its organization.
“If you’re not organized than you are creating stress and what
should get done, won’t get done,” Tremblay said. “You are not being
as effective as you could be.”
Organizing all aspects of life may not be an easy task, but
there are several areas where some simple improvements are easy to
“I have it all in my head, as scary as that sounds,” said Judson
DuRocher, a senior wildlife biology major.
DuRocher’s organizational method of writing information down is
a practice that Tremblay tends to discourage his students from
“I tell my students the first week of classes that they need to
be attending all of their classes and then review their course
outlines,” Tremblay said. “Then, they need to record all the
important dates in a planner and prepare a study plan for the whole
semester. Obviously this is a hard thing to maintain all semester,
but it gives you something to go off of.”
Heather Spencer, a recent liberal arts graduate, found that
simplicity was the easiest way for her to remain organized during
her college career.
“I had a different color notebook for every class,” Spencer
said. “I tried to keep my book on top of the folder so that
everything was together.”
Still, students like Chris Richling, a senior international
studies major, require numerous resources to maximize their
“I carry everything with me all the time: pens, pencils, books,
folders,” Richling said. “I have to be in a certain mood to study
for certain subjects so I just bring it all.”
Regardless of individual learning styles, Tremblay believes that
something everyone can accomplish to become more effective is to
“In school, you should keep up with readings and divvy
everything up,” Tremblay said. “If you do your work gradually you
will not be overwhelmed.”
To keep optimum finances for the New Year, people need to be
constantly aware of their expenditures, said Crystal Register, the
lead sales associate at Community First National Bank.
“You need to pay off your credit card every month,” Register
said. “Don’t spend more than you have.”
Although, credit cards can lead to future debt, Judson DuRocher
found out that using an ATM card without a balanced checkbook can
also cause problems.
“I just take money off of it; I don’t balance my checkbook,”
DuRocher said. “One time an energy drink ended up costing me $30
because I bounced a check.”
This is why Register said consumers should be very cautious
about managing their checking account because even a small mistake
can be costly because of bounced checks.
“With a basic checking account the most important thing is to
balance your checkbook to a statement,” Register said. “It is
always a good idea because sometimes there are small fees that you
might not realize and $2 can make a lot of difference.”
Register also suggested overdraft protection, which allows
customers the flexibility to withdraw slightly more money than
their checking account contains without penalty.
Jason Adams, a junior Liberal Arts major, claims that keeping
his finances organized is not difficult.
“You just have to know your income and make a little budget,
whether you write it down or not,” Adams said. “Just stick to your
budget until you get a little bit of savings and then if you want a
‘buck-wild’ week, you can afford it.”
Most importantly, Register said that finances during college can
determine the quality of future investments.
“Do your research,” Register said. “If you establish good credit
when you are in college then you will have lower interest rates
when you get out of college.”
A car may be one of the last places people think of as needing
organization, but as a daily transportation tool, it can be one of
the most important.
Every vehicle should be equipped with certain items that can
ensure safety in case of an emergency, said Biff Barr, assistant
manager of Grease Monkey.
“Jumper cables are good and you should put together safety kits
and little tool kits that have emergency flags, road flares, tools,
a spare belt, an extra jug of antifreeze and wash fluid and a
blanket, especially for here in Colorado,” Barr said.
Heather Spencer said that her 2003 Jetta not only has a first
aid kit and an extra pair of shoes, but also contains items
necessary for contending with bad weather.
“I have extra jackets and a box of granola bars in my car in
case I get stuck somewhere and it is cold outside,” Spencer
Barr said that people should also understand the maintenance
checkups necessary for their vehicles.
An easy way to maintain a healthy car is to talk about potential
problems with a mechanic following oil change appointments, every 3
months or 3,000 miles.
“Most owners’ manuals have a checklist in the back that we can
fill out when we do the work on your car and it helps a lot with
your car’s warranty,” Barr said. “It is important not just to get
your oil changed, but to have your brakes checked, your radiator
flushed and your differential transmission checked because the
fluid in there is just like oil – it breaks down and needs to be
From cleaning the garage to rearranging the kitchen,
organization can turn a house into a home.
“It is so easy to clean your home now,” Tremblay said. “They
have electro-dry mops, so you don’t have to get water everywhere
and closet organizers.”
Jason Adams claims that he not only cleans because it is easy,
but also because it prevents roommate disputes.
“The inside’s clean, pretty neat for five guys,” Adams said. “It
has to be to keep the harmony amongst the roommates.”
Tremblay agrees that a clean home can promote happiness in
“The Soap and Detergent Association did a survey that found that
most people plan on spring cleaning pretty consistently and find
that they get an emotional kick from it,” Tremblay said.
Yet, one of the most important things to remember when
organizing your home is to eliminate clutter, said Cyndi Seidler,
founder/owner of HandyGirl Professional Organizers and a host for
the Organized Living television show.
“You need to look at what you are organizing,” Seidler said.
“Utilize storage containers and make sure that everything has a
home and that it stays in one place.”