Posted by Bel
from Spiral Garden
The most common item on my To Do list is "tidy office". My office is an alcove off the dining room which houses my husband's desk, the kids' laptops, my business stock, my desktop computer and all of our household paperwork and personal finance 'stuff'. It's only 3m x 3m and has no door - so it needs to be well-organised all the time!
So, every now and then I clear off the 2m x 2m dining table, which is just beside the office, and I start to make piles of things which need to go in different places to where they have accumulated. Of course, I could deal with paperwork and other items the day they arrive, but with six children, homeschooling, the farm, the business and LIFE - I am just not that organised. But I am a little organised, and I will share below some ideas I've found invaluable for keeping track of the paper trail...
I got the idea for a Household Notebook from organizedhome.com. I bought the biggest ring binder I could find - it's the white type with the clear insert cover. On the spine I used the printable 'household notebook' label from Organized Home, and on the front I inserted a beautiful photo of my garden. Inside I used a whole box of clear sheet protector sleeves and some plastic dividers I found in our house. I made labels for the divider tabs - farm, house, me, education, food, family, community, work. I left a couple of dividers at the back of the folder in case I decide to take on any more roles! All of those pieces of paper I've saved and wanted to keep were sorted and filed into this folder, which sits upon my desk to be grabbed whenever required. Items in it include maps of the orchard, drawings by children, scraps of poetry, booklets, brochures, handouts, master menu lists the very many other lists...
I have never kept a Garden Journal, but I wish I did! I do have maps of trees and perennial plants around the house paddock, but nothing for the vegie gardens. I searched online for images of Garden Journals, to see what sort of thing I'd like to create, and the options are endless! From online journals to scrapbooks, meticulous record books and everything in between! If I had a garden journal, I'd keep a record of which seeds I sow when, and the results. I'd write notes about frosts and rainfall if I had a system in place. I'd boast about harvests and preserves in my garden journal. Do you keep a garden journal? I'd love to hear about it!
Our finance folder is a bit like the household notebook, but it's all about money. It has a beautiful title page with an image of blooming flowers and quotes about wealth. Then there are a couple of pages of important numbers and details, a printed calendar for the current year for easy reference and a page with the months of the year with regular bills written in their month - insurance renewals, rates, vehicle registrations. There are sleeves for bills to be paid, my balance sheet summary (I work well with pen and paper, rather than spreadsheets or online budgeting programs), a sleeve for that month's receipts or accounts paid for my business, wish lists for birthdays, bank books for the younger kids' accounts and other taxation, budget and finance bits and pieces. This is a system I have used for over 10 years and I really like it. As soon as a bill comes in, or a receipt hits my desk, it is filed in the finance folder.
I like to cut recipes from magazines, receive hand-written recipes from friends, print recipes from forums and websites... So I bought 4 ring-binder folders last year and labelled them - sweets & baking, meals, preserves and Thermomix. In each folder I have more clear plastic sleeves and in the Thermomix folder I organise recipes approximately by recipe type - meals, sweets, preserves, dairy, etc. The folders look great on a shelf in my kitchen and anyone in the family can find our favourites. They are also a great inspiration at menu-planning time, because every single recipe is hand-picked by us, so there's no sifting through things we don't like in recipe books! I used to keep a lot of recipes bookmarked on the computer, but with our power outages and internet interuptions, especially in our summer wet season, I have gone back to paper versions. After creating these folders, I had a big clean-out of unused recipe books, copying the one or two recipes I used from many, and passing them on to others to enjoy and use!
We bought a 2nd hand filing cabinet for next-to-nothing about 18 years ago. At first it had just a few suspension files hanging in it, and some junk in the bottom drawer. As our family grew larger and our lives grew busier, the filing cabinet accumulated more folders. Each year, when I do our tax, I clear out unwanted pieces of paper from the filing cabinet and shred them for use in the chook nests, or to start the fire. There's something very satisfying about incinerating old bills! I don't file items as soon as they come in. Maybe because of the awkward corner the cabinet is in, or maybe because I'm just a procrastinator! I have a green file folder on top of the filing cabinet which fills with papers to-be-filed. Every couple of months or so, I file away these papers when having an office clean up. It's a method which suits me, and the two-step process in fact reduces some of the items filed, as I might put something in the green folder just-in-case, but by the time filing day comes, I realise I didn't need to keep it.
Next post: organising daily information - diaries, calendars, menus and more!