Say This, Not That by Ilana Kukoff and Jessica Huddy

Getting Organized at College

Dear Ilana and Jess: I’m starting my sophomore year of college. If I’m being honest, I am super excited to have my space and dorm back, but, I didn’t exactly organize it well last semester. How can I do better this time? – Erin

Dear Erin: You have a lot to keep track of in college and very little time to waste tracking it. Organization is a task that gets tossed to the wayside more often than not, and sometimes straightening up can feel like a needless (and mindless) chore. But to really create an organized life, you have to start with your living space. Here’s how.

Start from day 1. After lugging your entire life into the center of your dorm room, it’s tempting to leave it there to deal with some other time. Sadly, procrastination and organization are incompatible. To set off on the right track, don’t make straightening up a “do-it-tomorrow” task. Get yourself settled as soon as you get in. Place items in logical locations and keep like with like, to make it easier to remember where everything went. Keep the items you’ll be using the most in the most visible and accessible places.

Organize each “compartment” of your life. An organized room is one thing, an organized mind is another. Getting your space in order is the first step, but there’s plenty more where that came from. You’ll have syllabi for each of your classes. Before you start in on your homework, figure out what’s coming. Get a physical planner or electronic calendar, and plug in all the important due dates for major assignments as soon as you have them.

Practice makes perfect. Don’t just organize things once and leave it at that. Remember kindergarten, when you had to put things back where they belonged after you were done using them? It still applies. Make a habit of staying organized every day, and bookend the mornings and evenings with this habit. Take ten minutes at the beginning and end of every day to make sure everything is in its place, including your notes and homework.

Say This: “If I get my room organized today it will give me peace of mind and set the tone for the rest of the semester. It’s better in the long-run if I get everything sorted now.”

Not That: “I can always do it tomorrow.”

Say This, Not That is based on the work of Cognition Builders: a global, educational company headed by Ilana Kukoff (Founder & CEO) and Jessica Yuppa Huddy (Chief Learning Officer). Everywhere from New York City to California to Shanghai to Zurich, the Cognition Builders team is called upon by A-list entertainers, politicians, CEOs, and CFOs to resolve the conflicts that upend everyday life. When their work is done, the families they serve are stronger than ever. With their new book, Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter Kukoff and Yuppa Huddy have selected the most common conversational mistakes parents make, and fixed them. For more information, please visit: To purchase Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter visit: