Step-by-step Learning with Etymologically-Sensible Lists
Kanji lists by grade-level have been modified by Jason Yang from the official Japanese Board of Education list of kanji by grade-level (学年別漢字配当表), such that you will learn subcomponents before learning a kanji that combines them.
Power tip: be conscious of all components as you write them. Each kanji you learn will thus reinforce your knowledge of others.
Power tip: I have refrained from adding inventing my own etymologies, but you should invent your own to help you remember.
For example, in darkness 暗, the character "sound" 音 is purely a phonetic component that does not add to the meaning of the character, but you might picture "humming in the darkness" in order to remember it.