The Homefile System

The Organized Woman has a number of tools to make organizing easier.

In addition to the handy guidebooks on Cleaning Basics, Kids Clothing Management, and Recipe Organization, one of the best products we’ve ever found is the Homefile System

Sturdy tabs drop right into your hanging file folders, and best of all, it tells you exactly what to keep, for how long, and what not to keep at all.

Find important papers instantly, using the the Financial Planning Organizer Kit by Homefile works by organizing hundreds of documents into 22 easy to use categories. The kit has been recommended by The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, MSN Money, Money Magazine and others.

Once you set up your kit, you just slip in new papers as they come. No more waiting until you can find the time to file.

The Kit includes:

22 Category Cards that drop right into hanging folders. Each laminated divider card has a Mylar tab on the top with the category name on it. Each card tells you exactly what papers to save, and for how long, usually depending on the IRS regulations.

Sample Categories: Residence; Bank Accounts; Investments; Insurance: Autos, Boats & RVs; Insurance: Health & Disability; Charities; Schools and Child Care

A Quick-Find Index that you place right in the front of your files. The Quick-Find Index lists the location for over 200 items that you are likely to use at home. All you have to do to find or put away any paper is to look it up on the Index.

A 48-page Handbook with a wealth of information about setting up and maintaining your files and a Personal Information Center to record vital information about bank accounts, health care providers, emergency contacts and more.

Traveling with The Organized Woman (and her mother!)

I depart tomorrow for a long-anticipated 80th birthday celebration trip with my mother.

We are each embarking on our 10-day cruise with a carry-on size roll-aboard and a purse.

Packing has been a several month long negotiation with my mother, but I think we’re going to be the better for it!


First, because we won’t be wasting time waiting at the baggage carousel, or worse, waiting for luggage that never even shows up.

Several years ago, my mother’s suitcase – and her entire week’s worth of needed medicine – was sent to AUZ (Chicago/Aurora) instead of AUS (Austin).  If this had been a carry-on, this would not have been a problem, but because the luggage was checked, we had to move heaven and earth getting her pills refilled instead of enjoying the family wedding we had traveled to attend.

Next, our ship will have washing machines – we’ve packed enough for five days, and will do wash halfway through.  Neither of us cares that we’ll be seen in an outfit more than once.

Getting her to commit to a new handbag for the trip (and beyond) has been a real victory.  At 80, she’s in great shape, but can sometimes get a little wobbly.

Moving her from a pocketbook to a cross body bag means that now her hands will be free to stop herself if she stumbles, and wearing her purse makes it less likely to be stolen or left on the floor.  The smaller purse means she is forced to leave her unnecessary stuff at home (such as her dictionary-sized wallet and  checkbook!) and only take the few things she needs, such as sunglasses, a few credit cards, camera, tissues and her day’s supply of medications.

What’s in the suitcase?

  • 3 pair of pants (black, navy, khaki)
  • 4 blouses
  • 4 sleeveless tops
  • 2 cardigan sweaters
  • 1 pair of walking shoes
  • 1 pair nice shoes
  • 1 pair of pajamas
  • 5 pairs underwear and socks
  • Toiletries and medications
  • 2 Tide laundry pods
  • Travel umbrella
  • Rain jacket
  • Pashmina scarf/wrap
  • Camera

Carrying or Wearing

  • Fleece coat
  • Yoga pants
  • Pullover sweater
  • Walking shoes
  • Kindle
  • Purse

The blouses and cardigans can be layered for daytime touring, and the sleeveless tops can be paired with the cardigans to create more elegant dinner outfits.

I’ve called ahead to the boat, and if they have it, I’m not packing it. They provide shampoo, blow dryer, slippers and bathrobe and even Q-Tips!

My friends are always horrified by this, but I’m a travel “pitcher”.  I like to pack underwear at the end of its usefulness, and just pitch them when I’m done wearing them.  On a trip last week, I had packed a shirt I realized I didn’t like anymore.  I just threw it out after wearing it, and had that much more room in my suitcase for souvenirs!

I will admit I’ve packed a few extra items in my suitcase – an eye mask, because after years of living along, I’ve discovered (the hard way) that she does tend to flip on the light in the middle to the night to see the clock, and a pair of ear plugs, so she won’t worry about disturbing me if she gets up earlier than I do.

Like last time, when in a thoughtful effort not to disturb me, she spent a good 20 minutes *attempting* to silently unzip her suitcase.  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzip.

Bon Voyage!