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yearly organization at a glance :: the file crate system

yearly organization at a glance :: the file crate system

When I first mentioned the file crate system, many of you wrote in excited to hear more – well, today is the day!

I’ve used this system for about 2.5 years, though it’s not my original idea!  I simply adopted Dawn from by Sun and Candlelight’s system.  Dawn is such an inspiration in the area of organization.

I enjoy a mix of paperless organizational tools as well as a good-old fashioned binder for keeping the family on track.  At the core, I’m a pen and paper gal.

 So, let me introduce what I do when it comes to yearly planning…

What is the File Crate System?

The file crate system helps me in two areas:

  • planning ahead on a monthly, yearly basis
  • tracking paperwork from months gone by

Used consistently this system provides a space for gathering the bits and pieces of our days.

There’s not a lot of fancy supplies needed, just a few simple tools:

  • a file crate (I use a drawer in our filing cabinet)
  • 52 file folders – check out these paisley print folders on Amazon!
  • hanging file dividers (you could use 52, one for each week – I put 4 folders per divider, so to organize by month)
  • pen or marker (I used my label maker)

Setup is quick, the longest thing probably being labeling or writing out the dates.  Dawn writes in dates specific to a year and refreshes folders annually.  Instead, I purchased sturdier file folders and reuse them – so my labeling is more generic:  The month and week.

I do keep one floating ‘week 5’ to use for fuller months, but other than this, it’s not difficult to setup.

What Goes Into a File Folder?

Honestly, anything you’d like!  

Keep track of birthday cards to send, summer ideas, vacation planning notes, invitations, print outs of events you’d like to attend, permission slips, Christmas gifts ideas, and any other list — the ideas are endless, but definitely should fit your needs.

How I Use the File Crate System

I am currently regrowing in my consistent use of this system.

But ideally, each weekend I’ll have the current week’s folder and take out the upcoming one.  Anything needing transferred to the next week gets moved (maybe it didn’t get done, or I filed it early on purpose), I discard/recycle papers no longer needed, or I leave items in to keep for future reference.  I then file away the previous week’s folder.

For example:

I receive a registration form for summer camp which needs completed by end of March.

I file this beginning of March.

When the time comes, I either fill out the form, toss it if it’s no longer going to work, or move it to the next week if we need more time to make a decision.  Make sense?

Ideas for Your File Crate System

I use the file crate/file folder system for dozens of things!  Here are a few more examples:

  • holiday food planning – ones which the same recipes are used, such as our Passover celebration.
  • holiday ideas – notes, lists, book lists, planning sheets from previous years and/or the current
  • cards to send (or reminder to send online card/note)
  • ministry reminder notes – often I’ve met with someone (prayer, counseling, etc.) and want to check-in at a future date.  Placing a note in the file folder of that week is a great way for me to keep up!
  • printed emails – if it contains info needed for later
  • seasonal plans or ideas
  • warranty reminders – if they expire w/in the year
  • some homeschooling paperwork – for general planning like field trips
  • coupons for retail stores – not grocery, but stores & restaurants; I file by expiration date
  • spring or fall cleaning checklists
  • to do lists
  • and MORE!


 :: ::

 Not every system works for each of us. If you’ve stuck with this post and think NO WAY— maybe it’s just not for you!

I hope we each find ways to ease our loads, to make lighter our paths.  If you have any questions or ideas – feel free to comment!



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  • JenniferJanuary 24, 2013 - 10:14 am

    I LOVED that end quote:
    “There is no separation between the sacred and the secular in Christ. All we do, all we are, should be fashioned to give highest praise to our God. When I work a system which in turn eases my task of serving my family and myself well – this, yes even this, gives praise to God.”
    What a great perspective on organizing…one I shall have to ruminate on further.

    Many blessings!

  • Dawn St Amand PaolettaJanuary 24, 2013 - 4:21 pm

    Love this – sharing….oh my I am in the midst of tackling my paper clutter and I LOVE THIS!!! God Bless you, Lady. I am a paper and pen girl, too~!ReplyCancel

  • saraJanuary 24, 2013 - 6:22 pm

    Thanks for the idea! I tend to have “piles” around the house, in the kitchen and in the office…I wonder if this would help with that?ReplyCancel

  • Fawn WeaverJanuary 24, 2013 - 8:35 pm

    This is so smart because I’m sitting with an inbox that’s stacked high on my home office desk. I’d definitely like to get that stuff organized and in a file drawer. I’ll get there…probably not this week…but I’ll get there :).ReplyCancel

  • LisaJanuary 24, 2013 - 11:01 pm

    Brilliant! Just may have to try this out!ReplyCancel

  • AleJanuary 29, 2013 - 1:39 pm


  • Homeschool VillageJanuary 30, 2013 - 8:21 pm

    Thanks for linking up with The Homeschool Village this week. What great ideas you have! We are featuring your post this week in our link-up!ReplyCancel

  • CassandraJanuary 31, 2013 - 10:16 am

    WOW. This is impressive. I’ve tried something similar but the best I’ve been able to stick to is a file folder with the days of the week. Haha… one week at a time, I guess. I do Mon-Friday and just put our work, print outs, activities, recipes, etc. in there. I really want to get more organized. I have no idea how you do the WHOLE YEAR!!! Wow… how long does that take you??
    Cassandra @ The Unplugged FamilyReplyCancel

  • Daniele @ Domestic SerenityFebruary 4, 2013 - 5:49 pm

    Oh my Cassandra – I do NOT plan a whole year at a time! 🙂 Often I’ll plan ahead for a month, but really I use the folders as things come along or come through.ReplyCancel

  • Ultimate Homeschool Link-up #3February 14, 2013 - 9:19 am

    […] Yearly Organization at a Glance […]ReplyCancel

  • NatalynFebruary 20, 2013 - 5:09 pm

    This is SUCH an excellent system! I have been thinking for the last several weeks about how I could implement a system for filing papers, and I really really like this. Going to do this myself! Thanks so much for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • History of Ninja Tossing StarMarch 16, 2013 - 2:23 am

    I was reading through some of your articles on this website and I believe this site is real informative! Retain putting up.ReplyCancel

  • Mish BeshoreMay 2, 2013 - 11:28 am

    I found this when I started surfing a wave of end-of-year paperwork last week…and I can’t tell you how blessed I feel now.

    This is similar to what I use for our home-school file (and that works well for us), and I don’t know why I didn’t try this as a monthly set-up for my miscellaneous household paperwork. I had tried doing something weekly as well, but ended up shoving so many papers in the box I lost the will to try and keep track of them. I kept thinking I should break down and try doing a week by week, monthly system, but felt discouraged by my lack of progress with the weekly system that I couldn’t focus on renovating what I had.

    Thank you so much for the inspiration to revamp and revise my paperwork. It’s going to make home-school planning easier too.ReplyCancel

  • Sommer ClarkJuly 30, 2013 - 10:32 pm

    Fabulous idea!!! Thank you for sharing in detail! I think this would be helpful also for me if I begin homeschooling our son in the next few weeks! God Bless You!!ReplyCancel

  • […] weekly file folders have been cleaned out and organized.  Lastly, I’m using the ebook Evernote for Moms to help […]ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca GiffordAugust 24, 2013 - 1:29 pm

    WONDERFUL!!! I’m a brand new (starting in 2 days) homeschool mom of 4 and I’ve been praying for a solution to my, well, EVERYTHING!! Your post is an answer to my prayers. Thank you thank you, and most of all thank you Dear Lord for once again Testifying to me that you hear, listen, and take care of all of our needs 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Daniele @ Domestic SerenityAugust 27, 2013 - 9:12 pm

    You are welcome Rebecca!!ReplyCancel

  • ReneJanuary 17, 2014 - 4:29 pm

    Fabulous idea. I added a couple of folders in the back…one for coupons, one for school stuff that does not apply to a specific day or week. I’m using the box to help with scrapbook collection stuff as well. Movie tickets, playbills, etc. Hoping this will help keep the stuff from being stuffed in all sorts of places all over the house.ReplyCancel

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Daniele Evans