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Sunday, June 3, 2012

What I Keep in My Office in a Bag

At the suggestion of FlyLady I organized an "Office in a Bag" (OIAB), which is a folio that has a handle, is easy-to-carry and is fairly lightweight.  FlyLady sells the cover (folio)- one simply inputs a 1" binder & fills their other items into the outside cover.  The folio itself is nice because it has pockets for pens in the front, and one of the bigger pockets is zippered as well.  It also has a sturdy handle on the outside, making it easy to carry.  It'll fit in a tote bag, many adult-sized backpacks or a larger messenger bag (13"+ in length).  I don't carry it everywhere with me (for example, it doesn't follow me when I'm simply going to the grocery store), but it's nice to have everything organized into it already at home.  I do take it on longer trips, outings which will involve traveling more than twenty minutes driving time away from home and anywhere that I'm going to be sitting for several hours.  It's good to utilize time when you're waiting for your kids to finish up at a sports practice, when you're waiting in a doctor's office to be seen or to take into work with you.  When I worked outside the home, anything that came to my mind that I needed to do at home got written down in my OIAB, and vice versa.

Here is a Swiss Army folio that is also really well-made, has the binder already inside, will serve basically the same function as FlyLady's folio and already has a calculator built-in.  The only thing it doesn't have is a handle, which is the main drawback to it:

Finally, the Case-It brand has several options that work well for creating an OIAB.  While the zipper is not as smooth on the Case-It as on the Swiss Army folio, Case-It's has a handle on the exterior of their binder.  The binder below also has a five-pocket accordian file which is removable (via a Velcro tab) and I find it holds stationary products really nicely.

In my OIAB pockets which are located at the front of the folio, I keep the following:

2 black extra-fine Sharpie pens_
2 red fine-point Sharpie pens_
2 mechanical pencils (No. 2 size)_
1 black, thick-point Sharpie permanent marker_
1 retractable yellow highlighter_
Mini-stapler w/ a built-in staple remover_
Pair of scissors_
Roll of single-sided Scotch tape_
One pad of 3x3" Post-it notes_
A bottle of Wite-out_
Reinforcement tabs_
A tube of super glue_
A tab of Post-it flags (nice when you're reading a big document or a book and want to mark a page as important)_

In the binder itself, I put some important papers into it and also used plastic dividers with folders on the back and front of them.  I don't have my routines written out in it, though.  While FlyLady does suggest this (and I'm not against it), I actually prefer to have my routines come to me daily online.  I simply typed up my routines into my Google calendar and have them set to email me every day (or as applicable time-wise), about an hour before each event occurs.  Since I have a cell phone that I can easily read my email and calendar on, plus add to the calendar at any time, I don't need the routines written down in any other format.  However, if you like to have your routines in written format for your OIAB, just add them in sheet protectors and include a dry erase marker if you like to check off on each step as you're done with them.  My personal binder includes the following:

Some blank lined paper_
A copy of a simple routine family or a friend could follow if I'm ill or out-of-commission for some reason, to keep my household running smoothly.  This is shortened significantly from what I'd do myself in routines and is just designed to cover the bare necessities- feeding the cat, making a bed if it's been slept in, swishing the toilet with the toilet brush and a little all-purpose cleaner as needed, etc._
A copy of information on my pet's care, including the type of food she eats, her favorite toys, where her brush & comb are, her vet's name & number, etc.  If anything were to happen to me, I want the person who will need to take care of her not to be blindsided, and I'd want my pet to have as much normalcy as possible, even if I wasn't there.  And this info would be needed even if I was only going on vacation- it wasn't written just for times of disaster.  I don't have any kids, but if I did, I'd create the same type of page for them. :)_
A copy of my Advance Directive (also known as a living will or durable power of attorney- find the free copy of this form for your particular state, region or country of origin online- it may take a little searching, but it's worth it)_
A copy of my medical and surgical history, should I ever be incapacitated and need this info to be given out to medical personnel or others around me- include any medications or supplements that you take on this history_
A copy of friends/family/doctors/business associates' phone #'s, email & home addresses_
An emergency/evacuation/survival plan that has checklists_
A copy of my pharmacy's nearest locations, which includes their hours of operation, phone numbers and addresses_
A copy of my bank's nearest locations, including which ones have automatic teller machines & the hours of operation (important to have if the ATM is broken & you have to go to another branch, or need this info in an emergency)_
A copy of directions (I like utilizing to a few family members' addresses, the local police station(s) and one other safe haven (such as a halfway house or emergency shelter)- if you are leaving in an emergency, you should have a backup copy of this information printed out, especially if you haven't been to the place you're traveling to often.  If you work part- or full-time in a place different from your home, print out the info for the county or city where you work, as well.  Always have a copy of this information in your car's glove compartment, if nowhere else.  Your brain will be saddled with other thoughts during times of extreme duress, and the directions may help keep you from making wrong turns.  But it's also good to print out directions and take them with you if you're going to a new doctor's office, a job interview in a place you've never been to before or any other area you're visiting which is unknown to you.  Also take down the telephone # of the place where you're traveling to in case you still get lost & need better or updated directions.  If you're ever being followed by vehicle or are in a situation when you're driving & feel unsafe because of another driver, drive to the closest police station, period- don't take any chances.  Call 911 or your town's equivalent of that number as well, even if you have to do this while driving.

Never assume because you live in an area without natural disasters occurring often that you'll not ever need to leave your home, possibly forever.  Be prepared for any eventuality as much as you possibly can be.  Don't wait until you have no power, no computer, no energy and no time to print out an evacuation plan, survival checklists & directions to a safe place.  Do it now- it's a part of being organized.  The following helpful websites have several pages that you can print out for free:

Here are some survival kit checklists that you can print out:

In the back pocket of my OIAB folio, which is quite large and has one open pocket, I keep items for corresponding with others:
3 thank-you notes with 3 matching envelopes_
3 pages of stationary with 3 matching envelopes_
1 larger mailing envelope_
3 (#10) business envelopes_
1 sheet of postage stamps (I love being able to shop for stamps online from the Postal Service- no more standing in line & the shipping cost is super-cheap!)_
3 of my address labels_ 
Any letters or correspondence that I need to reply to_
Any forms or paper applications that need to be filled out (passport applications, PDF forms for membership applications, etc.)_

Clean out and restock your OIAB as needed once a week, along with your purse or backpack and wallet/checkbook.  Set aside a particular day for this task in your schedule and stick to it- my day is Friday, because it's the end of the work/school week for me. 

Here's to being an organized minimalist,

1 comment:

  1. This is really a well thought out OIB stuff. I am partly organized but never knew there is so much to planning for emergencies and the like. Should get one OIB ready soon.