Folder Hacks to Stop Losing Stray Papers

I know folders seem pretty boring. They’re helpful and compact but how important are they really?

VERY important.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people shove handouts into their notebooks (or even worse, directly into their backpacks) at the end of class as everyone rushes to leave. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done this on occasion when I needed to, but it certainly should not be your go-to method for paper storage.

We’ve all lost important papers over the years. Maybe you unwittingly threw them out. Maybe you dropped them somewhere. Maybe they just disappeared. Maybe you’ll never know.

But folders will save your life, more or less. I recommend having a folder for each class where you can keep the syllabus and any handouts and homework as well as quizzes and tests. For most of my classes, I use colorful transparent folders because they’re easy to color code (please see my post 3 Tips for Stepping Up Your Color Coding Game for more info on how to color code your life). They hold up well, and I can transition them from one semester to the next.


I love the colorful ones, but sometimes I need sturdier, more professional ones depending on the situation. I use glossy folders in solid colors for most of my business classes and for when I need to meet with professors or advisors. Typically, I buy them in more neutral colors like navy blue, black, maroon, white, etc. This looks more professional, and they don’t call attention to themselves like brighter colors would. It’s just personal preference for me, and it depends on what you’re using them for, so feel free to get brighter ones if you want.


Keep in mind that you can never have too many folders. You can think you have enough, but suddenly you realize they’re all full when you need a folder last minute for a meeting. Definitely keep a few empty ones on hand just in case.

Your folder collection will help you keep your papers organized by class so that you can find all your papers in one place, rather than having to sift through several notebooks and your backpack to find them. Frantically searching through multiple places like that to find your calc study guide is not worth the stress. And remember, you don’t have to shove papers into your backpack!


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