This is The Book. As I remarked in my previous blog post, it is currently the secret to my sanity. Well, that and a bottomless pot of coffee.
It’s really just a big binder with numbered labels that I bought at the local office supply store. I already owned those plastic, brightly-colored pocket folders (purchased in Germany more than 10 years ago, actually), and I was so pleased to see they match perfectly with the labels. There’s also a three-hole cloth pencil case in there, and it will eventually hold all the small receipts we’ll be collecting during our journey.
When it came to labeling the sections, I started from the top and bottom, and worked my way up the middle as things progressed, keeping in mind that documents that are going to be bulky, or have a ton of copies, or need to be in folders because they can’t be hole-punched, hold up better in the back. The stuff I refer to most are in the front. And while it’s silly to admit this, part of me wishes this list was alphabetized, but dividing it up based on paper weight and access is better for the wear-and-tear of the binder.
I’m also using those little sticky tabs for items that will need our attention, or signatures, at some point in the move. They also divide up sections grouped together, such as the travel and health documents (we have multiple reservations for things, for example, and each living being in our family has their own records) and the checklists.
In addition to my label machine, I really love those sticky tabs. When Martin took the pets up for their appointments, he took my orange folder which held the paperwork needed for the pets’ passports. (Yes! They get a sort of European passport for traveling!) There were three copies of the multi-page document, and I went through and tabbed every single section on all three copies that needed a stamp, initial, and/or signature. All Martin had to do was hand them the folder. With all those tabs, the paperwork actually looked … fluffy. The veterinarian staff said it was the most impressive thing they’d ever seen. And they promised to give my orange folder back.
As for the checklists, not only did I create and print my own, but I also found this cute one on Pinterest to use for the kids. We will be living out of suitcases for at least two months. It’s imperative to bring everything we need in as few items as possible. So, I printed packing lists for each child, and it’s on them to come up with mix-and-match outfits for each day. (Of course, I review before anything goes into their suitcases.) They are already accustomed to picking out their outfits ahead of time: this just documents it for them.
And everything documented is in The Book.
Fun, right? In the world of organization and organizational tools, this isn’t anything spectacular. But it’s my version of a survival guide. And I love it.
I was calling to make one of the many reservations needed for our upcoming move and as the customer service rep read back my confirmation number beginning with 8675, I actually interrupted her with a laugh, saying “Too bad my name’s not Jenny!!!”
This was followed by an awkward silence and after about five seconds of dead air, I explained the Tommy Tutone hit. And the operator had no idea what I was talking about because she wasn’t even born in the 80s.
But she politely laughed anyway.