Seasonal Almanac

White dew: swallows leave (3 of 5)

March 14th, 2009

White dew 8 of 15Inspired by the government’s ‘stimulus package’, Redmond decided that he would be responsible for doing the tax this year. The task is now pressing as we head towards the end of the tax season.

I am ususally the party responsible for filing bills, notifications, financial documents, letters, receipts, and such like. Periodically, I would sort and order the paperwork acculumated in the colour-coded trays and moved them to the individually labelled arch-lever files while watching television. It seems that since I have stopped watching televion, I have also stopped filing. The last time I tackled this task was when we first moved in last April so the papers in each tray are now very high and have formed formidable piles.

At first, sorting piles spread over the large dinning table, then as each individual pile was collated it was transferred to the floor. The arch-lever files soon joined the grid. This image reminds me of well-known photograph André Malraux (who served as the French Minister of Information from 1958) posed for his museum without walls.

4 Responses to “White dew: swallows leave (3 of 5)”

  1. 1 Louise
    March 18th, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Hi Jo

    This is quintessential records management in the home. I keep transferring the list of filing categories I created for Peter from list to list on the fridge door so he doesn’t forget the categories – personal business, pre Canberra NAA, collectibles, Shaw family, conservation research.
    He, like all good members of organisations (ours is the home) has just decided to keep going as he was and completely ignore the filing system. This is the fate of most recordkeeping systems in most organisations unless they have executive support ie the boss says you have to. I guess that shows that ours is a flat structure.
    Now the best ever private recordkeeping system I have seen is at the photo lab in Forster up on the north coast. The guy uses coloured manilla folders on the ground behind the counter. It looked like it worked faultlessly but it took up about 6m x 1m for all the folders. He obviously had some scheme where he could repeat colours but locate them geographically so they meant something different. Very clever.
    PS I am very sad about one of Violette, Blanche and the other chook. It’s very sad.
    PPS I agree it looks like a real studio now that it has its plan cabinet. I hope you have it filled with photo etchings very soon.

  2. 2 jolaw
    March 20th, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Louise, people think the likes of us are mad, you know, probably quite rightly so. I got this filing obsession from growing up in a household where everything is ordered and labelled (often with dymotype). And look – my sister became a senior clinical pharmacist!

    If you like the photo lab in Forster, you will love the collecting archives of the experimental filmmaker, Alan Berliner. He is obsessed with collecting, filing and archiving. He first categorises the materials he collects, then he sorts them accordingly and put them into a boxes labelled with the categories. These boxes are further ordered alphabetically and then by colour. This archives wrap around a decent size room, extending from floor to ceiling. The room is the colour of a rainbow.
    Here is a picture: (second from the right).

    He also made an interesting audio installation using file cabinets, see

  3. 3 lizzie
    March 24th, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    i am totally inspired to file! and i want a copy of this for our fridge to inspire lucas too. tho i fear he is of the peter variety where paperwork is concerned

  4. 4 jolaw
    March 30th, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    What do people have against filing and organisation? Especially when there is a chance to buy some attractive stationery!

    It’s always hard when you live with non-believers (in the power of the file), but then again it would be just as difficult to live with a total filing nut (like my sister who takes labelling to a new height)!

    I can’t resist telling the rest of this story: the piles of paperwork did sit in the lounge floor for another week and a half until I decided to complete the job. But at least this is done for another 12 months!