Thursday, May 31, 2012

Organization for the Nation

Despite having been the teacher's pet many a time and graduating with honours, I despised school.  I was the one child who counted down the days until summer vacation, (do you want the count with or without weekends?) and then counted down the remaining days of summer vacation with dread in my heart.  Just thinking about Labour Day weekend elicited palpitations in my young chest.

Every single one of my first-day-back-to-school photos shows me red-eyed and sniffling, wiping the snot across my face while I waited for the school bus.  I can only imagine my mother, walking back to the house, confoundedly shaking her head and wondering what she did wrong to have been burdened by such an anti-social and non-conformist progeny.

One slogan from my skool daze remains indelibly etched into my gray matter:  Sanitation for the Nation.  That's what the toilet paper holders said in every school I have ever attended, and it's stayed with me to this day.  G. H. Wood. was a supplier of toilet paper, hand paper, and a variety of institutional sundry goods, especially within our school jurisdiction.  The logo could be found everywhere if one was observant enough.

It goes without saying that pretty much any word ending in -ation makes me think of G. H. Wood and Co. and their "Sanitation for the Nation" catchphrase.  Procrastination for the Nation - that's one of my favorites.  Another one is Organization for the Nation.  Having spent exactly half of my lifetime working in some administrative capacity or another, organizing is something I take pride in.  Being able to find the receipt for a 13-year old toaster is a skill (!), and implementing cohesive systems that even alphabetically-challenged coworkers can use efficiently is my forté.

One thing I didn't take pride in was my jumbled recipe file.  Rather, files, folders and binder.  Since the advent of the internet, I have so many favorite cooking sites (Taste Spotting, anyone?) and I have printed up so many recipes that I hardly use my cookbooks anymore.  Organizing all those recipes was my proverbial Waterloo, however.  I tried a binder with a handy A- to Z- index.  Turns out I filed so much stuff under C- (cakes, cookies and chicken anyone?) that looking for the Chicken Marsala recipe caused me to salivate over things like Blondies (should that have been under B?), and swoon over Carrot Cake.  My system lacked a certain efficiency, but I knew where everything was, and pulling the files out and reminiscing about tried-and-true recipes is a task I quite enjoyed, thankyouverymuch.

But I've been on an organizational bender these days.  With our on-going renovations upstairs, we've had to store lots of things, and cull clothing, books and knick-knacks.  The other day I went through the bedroom and ended up with a trunk-full of clothing to be donated to Hudson's community health care society.  I sorted through old books, and many of them ended up in the handy bin at our neighbouring War Memorial Library.  Household goods can be dropped off at the War Memorial Library as well, and are sold on Saturday mornings from 10-12.  Going into "The Bunker", as the basement is affectionately known, requires restraint.  The last time I went, I had to control myself from buying a tiny red table-top piano.  And I don't even play piano.  Go figure.

But back to the recipes.  The other day, I spotted a clear plastic accordion folder at my grocery store.  It was sturdy, it could be wiped clean, and my wheels started to turn.  I picked it up for $5.  If it didn't work for my recipes, it would work for my knitting patterns (again, blame the internet for enabling us knitters).

It took me a while to create my headings, trying to maximize the use of the 24 folders in an efficient matter.  Where do I file my Osso Bucco recipe?  What about my slowcooker recipes?  And those handy little booklets from Carnation Milk and Robin Hood Flour and the BC Salmon Fishing Council?   I needed a cohesive and intuitive system, and wanted to utilize the folder to its full capacity.  With a few Post-it notes and dry-runs under my belt,  I was confident enough to make permanent folder names with my beloved P-touch labeller.

Oh bliss:

I am enjoying my new filing system more than you can imagine.

Now, what's for dinner again?


Miriam said...

Oh, I really, really, really want a label-making machine! I know, deep in my heart, that if I had one of those my life would be soooooo much better...

Shim Farm said...

LOL, I LOVE my P-touch labeller. I am a label fiend, and NEED organization in my life. The P-touch completes me LOL. They're 30 bucks at Staples...what are you waiting for!?!

Unknown said...

Oh, please, please could you come and organise me? I wouldn't be able to find the toaster, much less the receipt!

Knitigatingcircumstances said...

Oops, that was me! I haven't quite mastered my ipad yet.

Shim Farm said...

Hi Kelly...I'm LOLing...I do take on contracts! I have to say, I'm pretty damn good at organising! I love a good challenge, and now that I've beaten those recipes into submission, the world is my oyster, muahahaha. Now I'm working on my stash-reduction program, so it's back to knitting for me. I hope to have a few more FO's to show in the weeks to come.

Becca@Skip Bins Sydney said...

What a brilliant ideas... I'm also looking for a good and efficient filing organization and this is something very special kind of thing.

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