How to Stay Organized in Architecture School

How to stay organized in architecture school

Trying to be really organized in architecture school can be daunting and a lot of work. However, when you’re able to practice different ways in a regular manner or in a routine, you’ll be able to save yourself from a lot of stress as your plates pile up. 

There are different things to consider in how to be organized everything. First, your physical/manual plates and I mean all the papers and such, including your drawing tools, and then you have your digital space containing your digital plates/work.

Whether it be for a general education subject or a major course, here are some of the ways you can adapt to keep organized throughout the school year. The earlier it is to adapt them, the better! I had no idea how important it was in my lower years which has caused me an amount of stress when it came to organizing my papers.

1) Use a specific cabinet/drawer for all your plates in paper.

My mom got me this steel drawer wherein I place all my rolled plates. In architecture, you know the papers are massive sizing from 20×30 to 30×40 papers. Even the minor plates are sized 15×20 and such. You NEED the space.

For some time a “bucket” or a container wherein I can shoot the rolls worked. However, as they pile up, that isn’t really ideal to me anymore. It can be a good thing if you constantly throw away some old plates in a much shorter amount of time but as for me, I didn’t throw away stuff as much.

If you have a stock of unused materials such as unused tracing papers or boards, then it it would be helpful as well for you to have a place for them.

2) Use a specfic cabinet/shelves for your drawing tools.

One of the worst things is if you’re cramming your plate and you can’t find that tool you need because your stuff is placed everywhere. The key to organizing everything is to keep in mind that everything should have a home. Your tools should have a “home.” Right after using it, you know where to put it back. This isn’t for every tool as some of the drawing tools, you end up bringing with you every single day. However for those tools that you don’t bring to school everyday, they should have their own space.

3) For your digital plates, use a cloud drive.

I don’t only do this for my plates but also for my academic work. The moment I save a document, the folder that it’s found in automatically syncs in the cloud. The drive I use is Google Drive because using my school email, the storage is unlimited. You can check out if your school offers the same thing.

Before the semester starts, I already prepare all folders with their corresponding labels. In each subject, I also make separare folders for notes, powerpoints, etc. When taking notes, sometimes I use Google Docs so I won’t need a third party application such as Microsoft Word when switching devices, especially knowing that I use different apple devices everywhere.

4) Don’t just use the cloud, have an external hard drive.

One of my struggles at the moment is that I can’t use my laptop because it’s already full and my old hardrive apparently stopped working. So instead, I use my mom’s on a day-to-day basis (as she doesn’t use it quite often.) But she is insisting that I go buy a hard drove asap.

Despite my documents automatically syncing in the cloud, since the Google Drive is connected to my Mac, it occupies storage. What I plan on doing is after getting myself a new external hard drive, I will disconnect the drive to my Mac and right after every new document I make, save it online in my drive folders and then back them up with my hardrive.

The files are huge. Non-photoshop and non-video files are really huge when accumulated, what more if you’ve got your CAD, BIM, Rendered files, photoshop, and video files altogether? Of course, you’ll need extra storage.

With files like that, you can never have too much back-up, especially if it’s a major plate.

5) Have a regular cleaning session – for both your papers and tools, and digital space.

Since I have not done this the soonest possible with me constantly making excuses saying, “I don’t have the time,” it has given me much stress to see my stuff pile up and not know which of it are the things I still need and which of them I do not. My classmates/friends have developed this habit of cleaning up every end or start of the semester to make room for the next. You just really have to know which one of them you’d like to keep for your portfolio and which one of them you’d never wanna see again.

I guess I’ve had this fear thinking, “I might need it someday,” which you know, actually happened when I was trying to set up my portfolio BUT it could have been a lot easier if I was already planning what to put in it along the way. My dad has been telling me about this since the beginning but did I listen? Guilty.

The same goes for drawing tools. I put out pens that aren’t working every cleaning sesh, and with the digital cleanup, I make sure to clean out my trash as much as I can, or arrange them in a folder. Being organized can seem like it’s a lot of work but when practiced regularly, it can reduce a lot of stress.


Here are some of the tips that can help you get organized throughout your stay in Architecture school:

  1. Use a specific cabinet/drawer for all your plates in paper.
  2. Use a specific cabinet/shelves for all your drawing tools.
  3. For your digital plates, use a cloud drive.
  4. Don’t just use the cloud, have an external hard drive.
  5. Have a regular cleaning session – for both your paper and tools, and digital space.

If you’re interested in reading more about being an architecture student, check out this page. If you want to check out my last post, you can read about Why You Shouldn’t Go to Architecture School (The Cons) here.

2 thoughts on “How to Stay Organized in Architecture School”

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