Last time in “Help, My Kitchen is My File Cabinet”, I referred to the universal problem of overwhelming amounts of paperwork, and the resulting piles that usually end up in the kitchen. Part of the solution to this problem is the creation of Quick Access Files.
Quick Access Files are just that– files that you need to access often and quickly. Don’t let the word “file” in “Quick Access Files” throw you. These are files containing different information than we generally keep in our regular “Filing Cabinet”.
My Personal Quick Access Files
To create “Quick Access Files”, gather up all the bits of information lying around and plastered to your kitchen. Then separate them into logical categories. Because each of our lives and habits are different, so too will be each of our Quick Access Files.
You may end up with:
- A file for each school, which will hold current phone lists, school calendars, announcements, and newsletters
- A file for every sports team or club
- A file for volunteer organizations, which will hold current phone lists, announcements, schedules and newsletters
- Or, you may choose to create a file for each family member in which you can place all the information from each school, club or organization
- A “doctor/dentist” file with contact information, directions and appointment cards (which you will drop in the file AFTER you write it on the calendar)
- A file for prescriptions which can hold patient information for any current prescriptions that your family members are using
- A file for take out menus
- A file for parties and invitations (which you drop in AFTER you write on the calendar)
- A file for coupons and gift cards
For many of these categories you will also have a file in your regular file cabinet. For instance, each child will have an “Education” file in your regular files in which you will put all their permanent records, report cards and testing information. Each family member will have a “Medical” file, which will hold immunization records, surgery, allergy and all permanent medical records.
These papers, invitations, schedules, announcements, appointment reminders and take out menus in your Quick Access File will generally be used for a season and then discarded or updated. At the end of a school year or sports season, for example, most of the contents of the Quick Access File will be discarded. Any important information or documents, however, will be added to your regular long term filing system, and your Quick Access Files are ready for a new season!
Several of my clients have been hesitant to create a Quick Access File because their spouses didn’t like the idea of a file box setting out in the kitchen or family room. You may kindly suggest, to these well meaning spouses, that a small, nice looking file box (think compact and attractive) looks much nicer than a pile of papers in disarray!
Check out some of these links for ideas. Be creative!