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Staying Organized, Part 4 – Filing

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It’s been a while since I added anything to my “Staying Organized” Series.  You can find the other posts in this series by going HERE (Part 1 – Singing Time Schedule), HERE (Part 2 – Binder) and HERE (Part 3 – Scheduling).
Back in February, reader Ben commented and said: 

“…I like your idea of having something you can use each year, but I am an “electronic filer” instead of a paper filer. So, I made the “Name that Primary Song about Love” sheet in Powerpoint, made all the hearts with the names & page numbers on them in the same Powerpoint file, along with all the words to the songs. I even put the word LOVE in red caps every place it shows up in the songs. Now, I print it out for this Sunday, and I keep it on my computer for next year!…”

He got me wishing my files were more organized.  They weren’t horrible but when I had to get stuff out, I was digging:
The tub on the left was for “papers” and the tub on the right was for “props.”  There was not much organizing I could do with the “props” tub but it was the “paper” one that was buggin’.  I had all the words for songs in one envelope, then various lesson plans in other folders, envelopes, clips, etc.
So I hit up Wal-Mart and $20.00 later, I had 100 file folders and 10 Bankers boxes (I only used 2 but maybe one day I’ll need all 10 – let’s hope not).  Again, it’s not fancy (like anything I do) but it is very convenient and very user friendly.
Here’s how they look now:
The “paper” box…
To start, I took all the words I have printed out for all of the Primary songs and made a file folder for each one.  I filed them alphabetically and each letter in the alphabet has a left, center or right tab (so “A” songs are a left tab, “B” songs are a center tab and “C” songs are a right tab, etc.).
Then I went through and added any lesson plan materials I have to the same file folders which include things I’ve printed, cut out, etc. that went with that particular song.  They had to be mostly flat (like my felt cut-outs from Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus) otherwise they went into the “props” box.  Flip charts would fit great in here too – I don’t use them very often but I do have a few.
Behind all my “songs” files are files for holidays or review activities like “Thanksgiving” and “Review Dice” and I filed them alphabetically using the same system above.  Then behind those folders I just placed my copy of A Children’s Songbook Companion and a few random binder things that fit.  I still have room for growth so we’ll see how much I end up collecting over the next few years.
Now when I need stuff on a particular song, I just pull out that file and in the file will be words and any lesson plan materials that pertain to it.
Then my “props” box…
This is really just miscellaneous items that won’t fit into a file folder.  Included in this box is my big 3-ring binder that holds my Gospel Art Book (GAB) that I have separated and put into plastic cover sheets (I would say it’s my most useful prop):

I do have a few posters but not many (like the ones I made for Children Around the World).  But I’ll be honest – along with flip charts, I don’t like posters either.  I don’t like hauling them to church and I don’t like storing them.  I know I’m weird that way.

And that’s that.  I know there are several ways of filing systems out there (like Ben’s which I think is another great way).  How do you store your things?  Leave a comment if you have found something that really works for you!

Find all my posts in my “Staying Organized” series HERE.

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7 thoughts on “Staying Organized, Part 4 – Filing”

  1. Avatar

    Now, because I live in a teeny tiny town no one has ever heard of AND it is in Georgia (any other state besides Utah would probably be the same)I belong to a TEENY TEENY TINY branch. We are the only unit that uses out teeny tiny building. So my teeny tiny primary room has several closets and there is one DEDICATED to posters!!!!!!! So I love my posters (because I make it and then LEAVE IT – and never does it cross into my home again).
    For my files at home, I keep everything I can get into 3 ring binders. My husband would never put up with boxes. At least I can hide things in binders. I currently have them sorted by calendar year. I was called in October of last year so one binder has fall 2012 and Spring of this year and it is full. I am not sure Easter will fit. So I am going to start another binder, but reading this, I may alter that.

    However, what I would like to know is how you were able to "unbind" the pictures in your gospel art book. That is a FABULOUS idea. But it doesn't look as if you cut any of them out. Did you just unwind the plastic spiral?

    1. Avatar

      That's exactly what I did – it was really simple and quick. I have since purchased another one because there are occasions when I actually like to use the book. Hope that helps!


  2. Avatar

    I save everything I can to my computer and have it organized under church callings I have files called: singing time schedule Listed by month and songs and props and lesson plans. I also have two file boxes one large and one small that hold props that I don't want to reprint and that I've laminated and then one big one that holds song Lyrics and lesson plans for Teaching those Songs. It works really well and I give a lot of The credit to you. Thanks!

  3. Avatar

    For all of my poster boards that I use I store them in a poster bag that I bought at a teacher store. I have also purchase many items (bulletin board type items – ice cream, leaves, fortune cookies etc) from the teacher stores as well.

    Thank you for all your help and wonderful ideas.

  4. Avatar

    I had about 30 years of posters I had made. I was called to Young Women for about 6 months, then called (re-called) to Music leader and all but 5 of my posters was gone! I am glad I also had (and still have) flip charts for many of the songs. I really miss the ones I had made, though. I try to keep the perspective that maybe I am just supposed to make new visuals for the songs. However, I have had teachers ( and Primary Presidents) say they remember the poster for this or that song from when they were in Primary. Yep! I've been in that long! 🙂

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