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A File Crate Question

I have either a really big post about my file crate system coming up or a series of smaller  ones (depending on the amount of computer time I can carve out this week, lol) but this morning I wanted to address a question from Susan, a lovely woman I met at the conference last weekend. Filecrate1

Susan writes:

I was wondering...Do you have a place for ideas that you think you might use in the future but are not ready to file in a certain week...where do "good ideas" get filed?

This is a really good question, and one I've been mulling over lately. I have two suggestions - one I've been doing and one I'm trying out. For me, I think it will come down to how much information I'll be storing and how good I can be about remembering the things that I file away.

In the past I've kept any information that is not timely inside the front of the current season's folder. So, let's say today I found an article in the Sunday Globe about a museum I'd like to visit with the boys ...

If I have no idea when we'd actually visit - it's just a neat place to keep in mind - I would place it inside the front of the current (July-August) hanging file, just in front of the first weekly folder. If the idea is not used by the end of August, I would move it into the September-October file. In this way I am keeping it in mind - not stored away where I'll forget about it. Of course, those files can (and do) quickly grow quite thick with potential, non-timely ideas.

So, last week I set up a hanging file in the very front of the crate before any of the seasonal folders; a "holding zone" I am calling it. In this file I've been slipping things "to be considered." Its dangerously close to a slush pile, I know, but its been a hectic few weeks and its been convenient to have this file. I will go through this file this weekend to address each piece of information that went in there. Some things could be timely and will get placed in the appropriate folder. Some things are not timely, but are "good ideas" like Sue spoke of - and I will need to find them a home.

For instance, in my holding zone right now are the following items:

  • a homemade finger paint recipe
  • an article about berry bushes that attract birds
  • a slip of paper with email addresses of new VBS friends

~ The finger paint recipe could go in the September-October hanging file as I want to make that for Earlybird very soon. Like, "first week of lessons" soon. OR it could be placed in a file (I have yet to make up) labeled "Arts and Crafts."

~ The berry bush article could go in the January-February folder (which is the season when we order spring plantings) OR it could go in a file to be labeled "Gardening."

~ The email addresses should be noted in my address book (which I store in my correspondence basket) BUT it could go in a file labeled "Contacts" or "Friends and Family."

~ The aforementioned (and imaginary) museum article could go in the September-October folder so that I keep it in mind as a possible fall activity OR it could go in a file labeled "Field Trips."

Right now I am leaning towards keeping some hanging files in the back of the crate for categories like the ones mentioned above as well as perhaps "Recipes," "Curriculum," "Special needs," "Shopping," etc.

The one drawback with these kinds of files, for me anyway, is that ideas can easily go out of sight/out of mind. I think I will still try to file information in a timely manner first if possible, so that I keep it within my circle of planning, but any overflow could go in the categorized files.

As you can probably tell, I'm still working this all out, so please bear with me while I tweak and think aloud. :)

Susan also wrote:

We are meeting Monday pm with a few other Moms to put our files together...Do you have any other information that might be helpful for us?

Well, I hope to address the file crate more this coming week; I know there were lots of questions after my conference talk. The key with this system (with any system!) is to tweak it until it works right for you. Susan, I bet once you ladies get talking you'll come up with all kinds of ideas! (And I'd love to hear about them!)

I will say one thing that I have been using quite a lot lately is my highlighter pen. When I file a piece of paper, I first mark any pertinent information in bright yellow so I can see at a glance what it's all about.

Well, it's now time to get the troops ready for Mass, so I'm off! I will be back as soon as I can. (First up: a post later today on back-to-(home)school supplies for Kim's Monday Fair!)

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone ...