A ❤ Thought for Your Day
Happy St. Valentine's Day!

An Update on the File Crate

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Hello, my friends! Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

I thought I'd do a quick(ish) post about my file crate system. It's been a while since I've talked about it, and recently I've noticed a lot of folks are coming here from links that lead to older fcs posts. Not too much has changed since those earlier posts, but I think it's a good idea to check in now and again and see if/how things are working (or not).

(Also, I just love to talk about the file crate!)

So ...

What's in the crate (or tote as the case may be)?

As you see above, I have my weekly file folders all labeled and organized in the tote. (The original plastic crate was passed onto college-bound Bookworm - I now use a fabric-covered, long-handled tote.) In the back of the tote I keep a Catholic calendar we get from our church each year - it lists all kind of liturgical information (feast days, fast days, solemnities etc.). Just behind that I store my favorite 12x12 scrapbook paper - simply because it fits here well and looks kind of pretty!

How are the folders organized?

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I get these folders set up at the start of the year - sometimes it's by the calendar year (January start) and sometimes it's by the academic year (July start). I use plain Staples brand folders and write directly on the tabs - one for each week of the year.

The folders are grouped by (six) seasons (Deep Winter, Early Spring, Late Spring, High Summer, Autumn, Holiday) and each season's folders are placed in a hanging folder. In front of each of these folders there is yet another hanging folder for general seasonal things. (Things that pertain say, to Winter but not to January or February specifically.)

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Describe a week in the life of a weekly file folder.

I keep the file tote on my desk in the library - out of the way but very accesible. On Thursdays I start planning out the coming week and my first step is to pull the next empty folder from the tote. (So tomorrow I will pull the folder labeled, "February 17 - February 23, 2014.") I take a look inside to see if I have any papers stashed inside. (Some weeks I do, some weeks I do not.)

I then attach a planning sheet to the front of the folder - I keep these sheets in my planning binder, behind a "Weekly Planning" tab:

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 I have 52 sheets in this section (or I did, at the start of the year). They are very simple in nature - just loose-leaf paper with a hand-written outline of things to plan in a given week (dinners, days of note, activities, to-do's, seasonal ideas, spending notes and blog topics).

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I have tinkered with various designs for this planning sheet - and one day I *will* get it just right - but for now I'm just writing things out by hand. Once I do settle on a design I'll produce it in such a way that I can print out the sheets with sections already blocked out and possibly embellished with illustrations/colors etc.

So back to Thursday - I take the sheet for the new week and attach (staple) it to the front of the folder.

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I use post-it notes for the to-do list and post ideas, because generally I don't finish my to-do's in a week nor do I actually blog about all those ideas. So I move these along to the next folder each week. (Unless miraculously I finish them off in which case I start anew.) The notes shown above are blank for privacy purposes.

So now the new folder is all ready and the week is on its way to getting all planned out. (Further planning includes consulting the calendar -  What does the week look like? How busy will we be with outings? Appointments? Special days? What seasonal activities can we fit in? How about dinners - easy or elaborate? What kinds of things do I want to blog about?)

Then over the weekend I look through the contents of the current week's folder and either leave things filed or move them into the new folder. The old folder goes back in the tote while the new folder gets placed "in position."

Where do I keep an active folder? 

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I keep the folder with my planning binder, tucked inside the left cover - so the half of the folder that is visible beside my daily journal page, shows dinners and to-dos.

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I generally leave the whole kit-and-kaboodle spread out somewhere (table, counter, windowsill, etc.) but if I have to pack up, I place the folder inside the binder cover pocket. The "active" folder stays "in position" through the week and then, as described above, gets retired over the weekend.

So what's inside the folders?

I'm often asked What kinds of things do I keep in the folders? And the answer is: all kinds of things! Right now, looking inside my current folder you'd find recipes I want to make this week (slowcooker paella, baked grapefruit donuts, whole wheat fruit cobbler), a pile of papers re ~ Earlybird's medical issues, things I want to read (Bookworm's first graded paper from Comp class, an article about emergency preparedness), directions for making modeling dough, an Abraham Lincoln coloring page, a catalog page showing curtains I want to order, Crackerjack's Mass participation sheet, a print-out from the pediatrician with baby-feeding guidelines, a couple of printed receipts for online purchases, a Valentine's card for you-know-who. ;) 

The folders in the tote hold things for the future (in future folders, natch) and things to keep on file (in retired folders). I just placed the following items into future folders:

* tickets for a play

* paperwork for the boys' dental appointments

* a recipe for Father's Day 

* a prescription refill reminder

* Spring cleaning recipes & Easter baking ideas (these go in the Early Spring hanging folder, not a specific week)


Finally, the folders are kept in place until the end of the year at which point I go through them all as I write up our year-end reports (for homeschooling). The notes I made and papers I kept help me remember the year we had and plan for the next year to come!

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As with anything I do (and share here) this "system" is far from perfect and hardly original ... but it's something I've done for years and have tweaked to work - for me anyways - pretty well. I get the feeling a lot of people are doing something similar or at the very least are quite interested in this type of thing so I hope this update is helpful, or at the very least not too boring! 

(And yes, I fibbed - this was not a quickish post at all! But are they ever, lol?)

Well that's all I have time for today my friends ... I have restless children in need of bed, a kitchen to clean, and a Valentine to chat with before I myself retire ... :)

I hope your week's going well, and if you live along the eastern US coast - batten down the hatches! We're in for yet another storm tomorrow!

See you all here again very soon ...