Friday, July 24, 2015

Household Reboot Week 3 Hit-and-Run Recap

Sunday:  this happened:

It was NOT a dry heat.

Monday:  this happened:

I neglected to get an "after" picture but they were really white when they finished drying, and they smelled like fluffy sunshine.

Tuesday:  this happened:

Stage 1.  Thanks, random mom who sent her kid to camp with strep.  WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

Wednesday:  this happened some more:

Plus a fever.

Thursday:  this happened a lot more:

So Strep.  Much positive.  Wow.

Friday:  The Great Strep Throat Crisis of 2015 appears to have finally taken a turn for the better, which means I have a chance to work on these:

There's nothing like a composition notebook to put a mom in an organizational high.  I'll give you a tour of them next week.  

And now, your weekly moment of haiku.

I got nothing done.
A whole lot of nothing done.
Not even pickles.

Tomato sauce.  Not pickled.  One jar.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 20, 2015

If you're having a pillow fight, at least make it a clean fight.

The condition of our bed pillows has been bothering me for a long time.  We have a front loading washing machine, so they don't get "scrubbed" by agitation.  To even get them in the machine they have to be bent, which means one side is way less exposed to water and detergent and never got clean enough for me.

And don't even get me started on how long it takes to dry one of them, or how lumpy they are when they finally do get dry.

Today I decided to solve this problem.

Instead of one long cycle using a lot of detergent and bleach, I decided to try two, short cycle, with dishwashing powder and nothing else.  First cycle - one side of the pillow out.  Second cycle - the other side of the pillow out.

And then, I put them on a table in the sunshine.

Believe it or not, the pillow at the top of the picture is the "after" version.  Imagine how bad it was before.  I should enter it into the "Don't Judge" category at the state fair.  ;)   The pillow at the bottom has not been washed yet and is in the photo for comparison purposes.  It is now in the machine going thru the second cycle.  

Pillow washer caveats:  if yours is a feather pillow, do not use bleach or any product with bleach, as it will destroy the feathers.  And if you have outdoor allergies and are in the allergy season, consider putting a pillow case on your pillows before drying them outside.  You can remove the pillowcase before bringing them in and replace it with a clean pillowcase, then wash the outside one to remove allergens.

Sunshine Bonus!  Direct sunlight is a known bleaching agent and sanitizer/disinfectant.  It's almost as good as bleach.  And it is free.  It even works in the winter, because it isn't the heat, it's the UV rays.


There are all kinds of good links online for ways to clean your pillows.  Many of them recommend combinations of ingredients that I do not think are useful, or that concern me in their combinations.  When in doubt, don't cross the streams - one product at a time, and don't stand in front of your machine inhaling fumes.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Household Reboot Week 2 Hit-and-Run Recap

A summary in the traditional haiku format.

I got lots more done.
Lots, lots, lots, lots, lots more done.
I even made pickles.

Spicy dilly green beans.  Mmmmmmmmmmm.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Life-Changing and Tidying and Magic and What Not

Are you on this bandwagon yet?

Yep, I bought it.  Notice the lack of capital letters. 

I stumbled upon the book "the life-changing magic of tidying up" by marie kondo*, totally by accident one day at the library and was intrigued enough to check it out.  I liked it immediately, because I relate to my home and my things in much the same way she does, which made me think that this might actually work for me.  I mean, who doesn't want LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC???

If you've decided to give this method a try, let me offer you a few hints about how not to feel defeated by the process:

  1. This book was originally written for readers in Japan, who generally live in smaller houses than Americans do, and who generally have less stuff than we do.  So when Kondo wrote, "put all the clothes in a pile in the middle of the floor", she didn't expect readers who would have several closets and attics and boxes and and dressers full of the clothing of just one person.
  2. She anthropomorphises the objects in the home, which makes some readers uncomfortable.  You don't have to buy into that in order to follow her method.  Just overlook it the way you would if a young child did it, and move on.
  3. She recommends doing the job once and thoroughly, but that does not indicate speed.  She says somewhere in the book that it could take months to do the whole house.  (I tried to find the page number for you, but I got distracted by noticing how much I still have to accomplish).

Is it worth the effort?  For our family, the answer is most definitely YES.  Ella in particular has found great value in the process.  Since finishing her room several months ago she continues to remark that it is easy and pleasant to be able to enjoy all her things and still be able to restore her room to order without help and without much effort.


*That is my Amazon affiliate link, which sounds a lot more impressive than it is.  Essentially, if you buy the book using that link, I get enough money for a cup of coffee, but not enough for a whole pot of it.  :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Backward Engineering a Monetary Mind Hack

Sorry about not posting yesterday.  It was one of the busiest days of the summer and, well, I forgot.

One of the things I'm doing for my Household Reboot is to try to get a handle on the money end of things.  Argh.

When you're on a tight budget, it can feel like you're endlessly policing yourself, which is exhausting and can lead to a lot of resentment and feelings of deprivation.

My mechanism  for coping with that kind of mental mess is to reframe the problem in a way that makes it sound like a virtue instead of a burden.  For example, when making a choice to spend money, I look at what I could be spending it on now as compared to what future thing I could do with it instead.  In that light, a choice not to buy a thing today is a choice in favor of being able to buy some other thing tomorrow.

But it can feel like all you're doing is saying "not now, later", without having a clear picture of how much progress you're making in the now.  So I'm turning it into a game - I'm keeping track of all the money I don't spend, and giving myself a monthly tally as a trophy.

The twist is that "choosing not to buy" isn't the standard.  After all, I can choose not to buy a new pair of shoes that I don't really need in the first place, but that doesn't get me anywhere except on paper.

What we're looking for here is a way to mitigate the feeling of being deprived without actually becoming deprived.  The question then becomes, "How do I get/do this thing that I would typically need to spend money for, but without spending the money?"

And that is why yesterday I got on YouTube, and learned how to cut my own hair.

This picture would be way more dramatic if I had had the forethought to take a "Before" photo first.

It took me about 30 minutes to view enough videos to convince myself that I had a grip on the process, then about another 30 minutes to actually complete the cut.  So about an hour all together - which sounds like a lot except that it would have taken more time than that just to get to a salon and get a professional cut - and at Nashville mid-range prices I would have spent $50.00.

So the math is:  for an hour of my time, I got a mid-range haircut that I am actually quite satisfied with, and saved $50.00.  Or to look at it another way, I got a $50.00 haircut for free.  Or to look at it yet another way, I did not have to spend several hours of my husband's work life to pay for a $50.00 haircut.  Or to look at it another another way, I can put that $50.00 in a bank account and save it for a tank of gas to get to the beach.  Or to look at it yet another another way, I could take that money and go buy that pair of shoes.

I've started a page in my bullet journal for tracking my savings, and I'll update you from time to time. Do I dare set a figure as a goal?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Household Reboot Week 1 Hit-and-Run Recap

A summary in haiku format.

I'm lemon cucumber rich.

I did not get done.
I did not even get close.
I did make pickles.

Lemon cucumber refrigerator dill pickles.  Mmmmmmmm.

Oh well.  There's always next week.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Homeschool, Chapter 11. It's More Than Just Bankruptcy. It's A Way Of Life.

For most of our homeschool years I've made Ella a full partner in the decisions about what we do and when we do it. This has created a wonderfully collaborative relationship, but it has also resulted in a wonderfully disorganized educational process.

The disorganization used to really bother me.  Even as anti-authoritarian as I am, in the back of my mind were those little nagging voices, undermining my confidence and insinuating that was doing a disservice to my own child by not being more intentional in our process.

This concern was why I started offering homeschool classes in our studio.  It is also why our homeschool classes, for the most part, have been only so-so.  They weren't honest.  They were driven by a need to prove that we were "on track."

The problem with the track is that it's arbitrary.  Who says the track has to lead where it does?  What if that's not where we want to go?  What if that's not the track we want to use to get there?  What if we really prefer the other, longer, bumpier track?  WHAT IF I DON'T WANT YOUR TRACK TO BE THE BOSS OF ME?

So, after 7 years of carefully overthinking all the various "tracks" - Montessori and Classical and Reggio and unschooling and Charlotte Mason and Waldorf and inquiry-driven and delight-directed and unit studies and project-based and ALL THE HOMESCHOOL PHILOSOPHICAL THINGS, I decided to go back to the source:  Ella.

Her pace.  Her interests.  Her self-knowledge.  Her ambitions.  Her wisdom.

She is not "on track".  She is building her own track as she goes.  It is intuitive and holistic and well-rounded.  It fits her like a glove.

Which brings me to today's household correction.  You see this basket?

So Homeschool. Much ugh. Wow.

This basket mocks me.  It has been both the bureaucracy of what we do in "school" and the repository of all the things that we have "failed" to do.  I have put a lot of hope in it and a lot of guilt has seeped out as a result.  The basket is not to blame, and the part of me that likes to anthropomorphize things imagines the basket feels bad that it has become so FRAUGHT with symbolism, when all it wants to do is hold stuff stylishly and without any drama.

So today I held a little tonglen ceremony for the basket.

Breathe in all the burden, breathe out relief.

Breathe in all the expectations, breathe out non-attachment.  

Breathe in all the judgment, breathe out compassion. 

Breathe in all the bull droppings, breathe out all the aromatherapy.

Now the basket is empty again.  Now the basket is useful again.

Chapter 11 to the rescue once again.


So you're all wondering what went back in the basket.  Right now, it's Ella bullet journal, her laptop, her library book, and her diary.  And the occasional cat.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Freezer Entropy: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

One of the household corrections that I've needed to do for a while is freezer inventory.  We are fortunate to have an upright freezer, but without constant inventory maintenance, it turns into the frozen land that time forgot.

Imagine I had worked up the courage to show you a picture of the inside of my freezer pre-organizing, and mentally insert that image here.

Today's mission was to sort the contents of the freezer then organize them in such a way that entropy could at least be slowed to a crawl.

Going with my mantra, "Done is better than perfect," I acquired a few bins, laid them out on the floor, and as I removed each item from the freezer I tossed it into its intended bin.  Then I lovingly hand shoved the bins back into the freezer, took a couple of pictures, and called it Done™.

Top shelf:  purchased items ready to eat.
Second shelf:  home-prepared veggies and fruits.
Third shelf:  homemade stocks, stews, and soups.
Bottom shelf:  meats, chicken, fish.

Top row:  homemade slow cooker starters.
Second row:  items to make stock, frozen cooler packs
Third row:  homemade breakfast items.
Fourth row:  homemade and purchased juice mixes, more items to make stocks.
Bottom row:  frozen cooler packs, water bottles for to use in blanching.

This took about 25 minutes.  There is no list of items to mark off.  Nobody looks at those lists anyway, so at best they are busy work and at worst they serve only to taunt you with their judgment.  I figure as the bins get empty I will be able to see what we are low on and replenish.


VoHo ProTip:  Eat as much Chinese takeout as possible.  Those pint and quart soup containers are excellent for freezing liquids.  If you find a restaurant that uses square ones instead of round, court their sons/daughters like a boss so you can marry into a lifetime supply, because the square ones are more space efficient than the round ones.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Homemaking for Beginners, Part 4: Monthly Household Routines

Welcome to the Homemaking for Beginners series!  You can find the rest of the HfB series HERE.


So many possibilities.

Ha!  Bet you thought I'd forgotten about this series.

The point of a monthly routine is to automate all the monthly household things so you don't have to figure out when to do them 12 times a year.  Much like setting up an automatic draft in your bank account.  The key to my system is to link your routine items to something that is already in place on the schedule.

At the risk of sounding like that person who thinks they are really profound but in actual fact they are just high, here's what I recommend:

Step 1:  Decide what you want done on a monthly basis.
Step 2:  Identify existing activities and events that relate to the items in Step 1, then link them on your schedule.
Step 3:  Do the things.

For example, on my street the trash is picked up every Tuesday, but recycling is only picked up on the second Tuesday of the month.  Since the city of Nashville has helpfully set up this periodic household garbage schedule, I tie all my garbage-related activities to that schedule:

1st Tuesday:  trash pick up - wash and sanitize trash cans.
2nd Tuesday:  trash and recycling pick up - take glass to recycling center. (The city doesn't pick up glass)
3rd Tuesday:  trash pick up - pest control appointment - sweep cobwebs out of corners of the porch, apply monthly flea and tick control.  (We recently started using Seresto collars for all our pets - they work great! - so flea and tick control have now moved to the seasonal schedule, but I mention it here because it was an important part of the routine.)
4th Tuesday:  trash pick up only - turn/stir/shake the composters.

Apply the same system to all your non-garbage needs.

What happens when there are five Tuesdays?  The fifth Tuesday is the wild card day.  I use it to catch up on a missed Tuesday when I was out of town, or a Tuesday when I was, let's say, "less disciplined".  Or I can pat myself on the back and have tell Facebook that I'm on track.

When I have a chance, I will put all this in handy-dandy worksheet format.  Until then, you can print out a blank calendar from my favorite organizing website, Printables and Resources, and jot down what you want done when.  Use your starter schedule for a month then adjust as needed.

Remember, this is what we're trying to avoid.


VoHo Poll:  What is your default setting on things that are damaged or broken - keep and repair, or get rid of them?  I'm in need of making that decision on a few major household items and I'm torn.

Monday, July 6, 2015

2015 Mid-Summer, Mid-Year, Mid-Life Household Reboot

Part 1, in which I go on a bit about how I'm totally going to get it together now, I really mean it this time, you guys.

I was going to use a more relevant image but I got distracted by this.  You're welcome.

We've passed the halfway mark on this year, and we've also just passed the halfway mark on our way to high school graduation, and I might or might not be freaking out JUST A LITTLE BIT. So I'm dedicating the month of July to household reboot.  My goal is to get things back under "control" by the end of the month.  And to help keep myself on track I'm going to try to publish a post every weekday thru the end of the month, which means they aren't going to be pretty, but they are going to get done and you will have them in the palms of your internet.

Today I'm going to reboot my daily household routines.  If you are VoHo newletter reader (thank you!) you know about my Daily Three, which in a nutshell is my commitment to do 3 things without fail every day to keep the major systems under control.  My three are make the bed, do the dishes, one load of laundry.

The twist is that each week of July I'm going to set a Daily Three for other areas of my life as well. This week I'm going to do 3 things every day that I call household corrections - things that don't have to be done, but which will advance my quality of life.  This week, those things will be "bringing the home up to the current season".  That is how a vocational homemaker says things like "put away last year's school materials," or "take down the Easter decorations." I promise to give you a report on what I did at the end of the week.

Tomorrow I will share a bit about how I organize the monthly household routine.  It's riveting.


If you want to keep up with all my posts, please sign up for my newsletter!  You can find the sign up at the top of the blog on the left column.  I promise it will be worth it, if only for the laughs.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

All the Broccoli

This year my family is hosting a pickup site for Farmhouse Delivery CSA, which means that each week we have not only our own CSA share to enjoy, we also have the opportunity to buy additional produce at a great price.  This week it was broccoli - loads and loads of beautiful, gigantic heads of broccoli came to harvest this week, and the CSA offered it to customers for the low, low price of just $2.00 per head.  We're not talking about the precious little clusters of broccoli at the grocery store. No - these were each 10"-12" across and weighed about 2 pounds.

I was certain everyone who came to pickup would want to buy an extra head of broccoli.  I'd get all excited and show them the broccoli box and tell them about the low, low price of just $2.00 per head and every single person had the same reaction:

"I don't know what I'd do with that much broccoli."

So, I'm here today to tell you what you should do.  Not that I'm the boss of you or anything.

Step 1:  Buy all the broccoli.
Soak it in some salt water to exterminate any hitchhikers.  Cut it into pieces that are about the same size so they will process in the same amount of time.

Step 2:  Blanch all the broccoli.
Drop the broccoli in a pot of salted boiling water and boil for 2-4 minutes.  Then scoop the broccoli out and dump it into a pot of ice water to stop the blanching.  Leave it in the cooling pot at least as long as it was in the boiling pot. This process denatures the enzymes that cause the food to turn brown and mushy in the freezer.

Step 3:  Flash freeze all the broccoli.
Drain the blanched broccoli and lay it in a single layer on a lined baking sheet.  Put the sheet in the freezer until the broccoli is frozen.   Doing this prevents the pieces from sticking together.

Step 4:  Bag, tag, and return all the broccoli to the freezer.
Remove the broccoli from the baking sheet and put it into a freezer-safe bag.  Remove as much air as possible from the bag to help prevent freezer burn.  If you have a vacuum sealer, this is the perfect use for it.

BAM.  Done.  If you process just one head of broccoli you can be done before a pot of coffee has finished brewing.  If you do 7, as I did, you can be done by the time a load of laundry finishes drying.

ProTip:  In Step 2, you will need one big pot of salted water and one big pot of ice water.  Don't use your good ice.  You need it for your sweet tea.  Instead, fill an empty drink bottle with water and keep it in the freezer.  When you need to blanch something, use the frozen water bottle to chill your cooling pot.  As long as you don't break the bottle, you can just wash it off and put it back in the freezer to use over and over again.  It makes a great picnic cooler ice thingy too.

Label your bottles so your family doesn't wonder why you have a dozen different containers of unidentified chemicals in the freezer.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Handmade Handkerchiefs. That's how I roll.

Two months ago Ella and I attended the funeral of one of my dearest friends, Elizabeth DeHority.  As we were packing to go, I asked Ella to pack a few extra handkerchiefs for me, but she had already thought of that and had packed every one we had.
It wasn’t enough.  And we couldn’t even find boxes of paper handkerchiefs at the funeral home or church either.  I tried handing out my handkerchiefs to our friends there, because frankly some of us were a huge ugly blubbering mess, but they were reluctant to take mine, I guess because very few people will just hand you one of their own handmade handkerchiefs.  
Since then I’ve been teaching myself to do embroidery so that I can make some pretty handkerchiefs to give out for just such occasions.  Until recently my work was, how shall we say? - “primitive”. 
My very first hankie.  See?  Primitive.

I’m still very much a beginner, but I did at least hit upon a method of rolling the hems neatly and making the stitches and even size and even spacing.
First, I draw a line on the wrong side of the fabric, exactly where I want the hem fold to meet.  I use an ordinary #2 pencil because I have them, and the line won’t show when I’m done.  Then I set my sewing machine for the longest stitch length and run the edges thru the machine without any thread, to make tiny holes in the seam allowances.  I use these holes to help me space my stitches evenly.
This is the wrong side of the cloth.  Aren't you impressed with how neat that E is?

The fabric is a Ralph Lauren sheet that I found at the thrift store.  So soft.  I tear the fabric rather than cut it so the edges will be on grain.  It also creates a very soft edge which doesn't make a hard line in the hem.

To hem, I gently roll the edge of the fabric till it meets the line I drew, then I take a stitch in the line, a stitch in the roll, a stitch in the line, a stitch in the roll, over and over, until the whole hem is done. This post at purl bee shows exactly how to do this.  At the corners I fold a miter as in this post on my old blog.
The finest hem I've ever rolled.  So far.

Lately I’ve felt confident enough about my results to start gifting them, like a ministry to the grieving.  And just like that, I’m a literal woman of the cloth.  :)
This one is for me.  Because I still haven't stopped crying.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What’s Worth Buying at the Dollar Store?

Some of you will recognize this as the store I fondly refer to as The-Dollar-Tree-I-Love-That-Place.

Anyhoo, on Lifehacker they are discussing What’s Worth Buying at the Dollar Store?  Some things I totally agree with, like seasonal decorations, or party supplies.  But I've found that some things there do not serve my needs as well as the things at the Not-Dollar-Tree stores, such as aluminum pans for freezer meals.  The best aluminum foil freezer pans I've ever used are from the restaurant supplier, and they cost about the same per piece as the ones from a grocery store.

What things do you think are worth it at TDTILTP?  What things do you avoid, and where do you prefer to get them instead?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Through an oven door darkly, then brightly once more

So I started my Spring cleaning a few days ago, and one of the things on the list was to figure out how to clean the drips that are inside the ding-dang oven door.  How, I ask myself, how does this happen???  It's a riddle wrapped in a mystery and stuck between the panes of glass in my oven door.


When I searched for instructions on how to get to the glass to clean it, the first thing every site said was "unlock the hinges and remove the door".*  Ain't nobody got time for that, much less space or energy.  So I skipped ahead to the next instruction:  remove the screws that hold the door together.

Now, I can't speak for every oven in every home, but it turns out that on my oven, if you unscrew just the screws at the top of the door...

It looks like it requires a fancy tool, but I used an ordinary Phillip's head screwdriver.

...the door will magically pop apart and you can clean like a Vocational Homemaker till everything sparkles.

No lie, I nearly wept with joy when this happened.

It's hard to get a good picture of a very clear double layer of glass.

Shining like the top of the Chrysler building, as God intended.

Use whatever cleaning product or tool you like.  I happened to use a heaping helping of Bar Keeper's Friend, which I like because my parents always had a can of it under the kitchen sink in our childhood home so obviously it's the best.  But you should use anything that floats your oven door.

Once you get it all polished up and shiny, put the sections back together and admire your handiwork. If you have friends or loved ones close by, they will no doubt what to admire with you so plan on guests.

*That's not entirely true.  A few of the sites said to tape a piece of cloth to a piece of coat hanger and push it up between the glass from the bottom of the oven door.  NO.  Just NO.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Macro-managing Your Paperwork

Hey gang, I'm sorry for being absent so long!  Life and what not.  Anywho, I'm currently back :)  and I'm going to talk about paper.

On my Facebook page I asked what kind of household organizing solutions people wanted help with, and the first reply was "paperwork."  Now, I'm not going to front here.  If your standard is hospital-grade paper handling, my system is not for you.  However, if you're into "deal with it effectively and move on," I've got what you're looking for.

If your paper already looks like this, move along.  You're already done.

There are other, seemingly more orderly methods of handling your paper than what I'm about to describe, and you have possibly tried one or more of those systems.  If they haven't worked, try mine. It won't be harder, and it won't take more time.  But it will free you from having your file system be the boss of you.


SO, first things first:  Pour yourself a cup of something hot or a glass of something cold, then clear a big space on the dinner table or the bed or the living room floor.  Set out a bin or box or bag to collect paper that needs to be recycled.

Collect all the paper.  Don't sort it, just gather it all and put it in your cleared area.

NOW:  pick up the piece of paper closest at hand and decide what category it is.  It can be "Utilities" or "Home Repair" or "Vehicle", or whatever.  Just decide, then start a pile for that category.

I double-dog dare you to start this file and see how many people in your household  "organize" it for you.

Pick up the next piece of paper and decide what category it is.  If it is a different category from the one you just handled, start a new pile.  If it is the same as the one before, put it on that pile.  Don't get anal and start organizing the paper in the piles according to date or who sent it or other things that don't currently apply.  Just make sure the paper gets into the pile that it belongs with and move on.

Lather, rinse, repeat.  Pick up the next piece of paper, decide, put it in the chosen pile.  You will end up with as many piles as the number of categories you prefer.

PROTIP:  keep the number of piles under a dozen.  Fewer than that is fine, even dandy.

Some of the paper you handle will need to be shredded, so start a shredding pile.  I differentiate papers to shred by ripping them in half.  That also keeps me from changing my mind about shredding them.

Stop every now and then to refresh your drink.

Once you have sorted all the paper into piles, neaten the piles.

We're almost done!

If you have folders, label them according to whatever categories of paper you have:  "Utilities" or "Home Repair" or "Vehicle" or what have you. Then put your piles in their folders.  If you don't have folders, paperclip the piles together with a top sheet that is labeled according to the categories and put "file folders" on your shopping list.

Green Cross Insurance?

Put everything in your file cabinet or filing box or desk drawer or whatever container you are using. In the future, as paper comes into your home or you create it yourself, just stick it in the correct folder. If you happen to need a new category, just label a new folder and put it in the cabinet with the rest.

Shred what needs to be shredded, then take the shreds and the other recycling out to the bin.

I know what you're thinking:  we missed a step.  We didn't organize the papers in the stacks.

That is correct.  We did not. We don't need to.

The papers have been sorted into "families" and they are in a designated containment. If you need a piece of paper relating to your utilities or your home repairs or your vehicle, you will know where to look.  60 seconds of paging through that ONE folder will reveal the necessary piece of paper.

60 seconds, vs. potentially hours more work obsessively organizing paper
you might never need to lay your hands on again.

As you use this system over time, you will eventually discover that you have never even opened certain folders since putting them in the cabinet.  You will also see that after going thru the folder every month for a year, some papers aren't necessary anymore and you can shred them.  And if you find yourself with an empty 10 minutes on your hands, you can always take out a folder and organize the papers inside.

The main beauty of the system, however, is that you are done.


Images courtesy of scottchan, basketman, and pandpstock001, at