Introduction to S.H.E.
by CEO (Cynthia Ewer, Organized)
Editor, Organized Home
to 21 Essays to S.H.E.! In the next 21 essays, we'll learn and implement Pam
Young and Peggy Jones' card file system for home management from the book Sidetracked
Newcomers or old hands alike, the questions have been flying. What is this card file
business? How does it work? How do I start? Where do you get the cards--and where do you
put 'em? Today's essay is meant to introduce the system, so you get an idea of where
we will be traveling during the next 21 weeks.
The card file is the heart, nerve center and brain of Pam and Peggy's home executive
system. A rotating "tickler" file, it contains 3x5 cards for all the
household tasks necessary to maintain your home. The cards are color-coded according
to frequency: daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal jobs. When you've been on
the system for awhile, your card file is worth more than gold. It was the second
thing I grabbed when our family prepared to flee the Oakland Hills fire in 1995!
How does it work? Each morning (P&P recommend the night before), you pull a
stack of cards from the day's divider. They'll be different each day. Some cards
appear every day: make beds, wash dishes. Other cards roll around once or twice a
week: vacuum, laundry, mop floors. Some are monthly chores: tidy
closets, oil woodwork; a few are seasonal: shampoo carpets.
Here's the key: you pull out the cards and do what they say. At first, this
is daunting! You're digging your way out of a big hole, and you can't see the
sky! Laundry, waxing floors, windows--whew! It makes you want to throw the
cards in the air.
Don't do it! After a few weeks, your house will be clean, and you will be on the
system. Then, a few cards each day, (with one or two heavier cleaning days each
week) will be all that is needed to keep you on track. Getting started is the hardest
part--but the rewards of sticking with it are great.
Where do the cards come from? From Activity Lists. It's very simple. Take a
3-ring binder (with paper in it--one S.H.E. knows another S.H.E.), and walk
smack into the center of each room of your home. Stand there. Make a
360-degree turn and LOOK at the room. Now, write down everything that needs to be
done to keep that room clean and orderly. Is the woodwork grimy? Write down
"clean/oil the trim". How about the floor? Write down "vacuum",
"wash area rug", or "sweep". Do one room each morning, but do
them all before you go on.
Now you're ready to make your cards. Sit down with your 3-ring binder and your
Activity Lists. Make one more list: for yourself, listing exercises, manicures,
haircuts, and other personal care activities. I include trips to the library!
Decide how often you want to do each job. Estimate how long the job takes. Then
make out one card per job. Complete instructions are found in "Sidetracked Home
Executives", or you can order pre-printed cards from P&P!
When you've made out all your cards, you're ready to file. You'll use either 7
days-of-the-week dividers or "1-31" days of the month dividers, and a set of
dividers for the months of the year. File daily cards behind tomorrow's divider,
weekly cards within the next week, and monthly ones behind the next few months.
That's the system in a nutshell--but don't think you have to do it all today.
We'll start slowly and gradually, easing into a new way of life.!