An Organized Life and Home

Sidetracked Home Executive Card File

Sidetracked Home Executive Card File

In many ways, I taught myself to be a homemaker.  Sure I learned some basics from my mother but I didn’t learn the fine art of being a homemaker from her.  I read some books and such but my first real “a-ha!” moments came when I checked some old books out from the library and I learned how to actually clean my home (it was cleanish–nothing horrifying– before but I learned how to really keep things clean beyond just vacuuming and dusting and wiping down the counters).

Fast forward to the 1990’s when I started my graduate studies in earnest.  I was having trouble keeping up with everything.  Because I was at a university, I had access to the internet before it really exploded into everyday existence and by the grace of God, I discovered The 21 Essays to S.H.E. by Cynthia Townley Ewer.  I received a new essay everyday telling me how I could organize my life simply by using a card file by the program developed by the Sidetracked Home Executives (aka The Slob Sisters).  I printed them out and studied them and did as I was told.  I still have the printouts and I still use my card system (that is my actual card file and cards in the photo…when I finish this posting, I will take the green card that says “Modern Retro Woman post” and will put it in the appropriate place in the box).

Over the years, I have strayed from The Box, have tried checkoff lists, notebooks, Flylady, emailing myself, and Outlook task lists, but I always return to The Box.  Why?  Because it seems to work for me.  The cards are gentle reminders that I need to dust my ceiling fan and to make my appointment for my annual exam.  A simple little tool helps me stay organized in a down to earth and inexpensive way.  Using the cards also helped me stay on top of my money management.  I no longer forgot that I had some bills to pay.  Money management simply became part of my weekly routine.

Unless you are one of those people who are born organized (and a lot of people think I am one of those…if they only knew!), you need to create some sort of organization system.  The system is not to keep you imprisoned.  No!  The system liberates you from being a slave to your disorganization (and high distractability, if you are like me).

Today’s 10-minute film, from 1949, shows the Miller family pre and post organization and how it helped them run the family like a business.

Click here to watch movie if the player below doesn’t show up.

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Dr. Julie-Ann

I'm Dr. Julie-Ann, a glamorous mid-century homemaker wannabe. I geek out on vintage cookbooks, charm school guides, sewing books and patterns, magazines, and homemaking advice. The Mister and I are vagabonds-- Native Californians currently living the glamorous lifestyle in the Midwest.

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Comments

  1. says

    Priceliess! I so enjoy your grandma’s sewing cabinet podcast and I don’t even sew anymore! But this one was priceless! I used to do the card system, maybe I should start again…

  2. Dr. Julie-Ann says

    Thanks, Robyn! I’m touched that you don’t even sew but you still listen to the podcast!

    You should get back into The Box.

  3. says

    I was introduced to the Sidetracked Home Executives in the early 1980s and loved the system. When I became a working mother I just couldn’t keep up with the system. (Yes, I know, I probably needed it then most of all.) I still run across the box and the cards. Unfortunately we’ve moved from that house.

  4. Dr. Julie-Ann says

    I’ve moved four times since I first made that box! I bet if you looked at those cards, you’d be amazed at how transferable a lot of those cards are. For some reason, I still have the cards that don’t work for this house in my desk drawer.

    Isn’t it funny what we hold onto? I can purge like nobody’s business but I can’t let go of those index cards.

  5. says

    I love index cards! So many uses. You could be right that they would be mostly transferable. It would be a matter of removing those I don’t need rather than making new ones.

    “Throw it away today, need it tomorrow,” my mother always said.

  6. Nita says

    I have been wanting to start a card system, but with so much to do, I am at a loss as to where to start. It seems as though my focus is sorta out of focus. With such a big task ahead of me, where do I start????

    • Dr. Julie-Ann says

      Start with the 21 Essays (link is in the post). The essays will help you get started. Also, have you read the Sidetracked books? They also will help you get started. Baby-steps, baby-steps.

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