More than one way to skin a cat

We all have a left and right side of the brain. Or at least that’s what they tell us. The two sides of the brain communicate with each other but — and this is just a non-scientific opinion — not everybody’s brain sides communicate well.


Now that the tax deadline has arrived and departed once more, I can think of no other particular situation that gives as fine an example of a brain at war with itself.

olivia6-25 Page 4A.inddSome of us tend to be more visual than others, so a file cabinet can be particularly disturbing. We know that some people find file cabinets helpful because they file things in them in an order that makes perfect sense, at least to them, and then are able to remember the name of the file, where it is located in the cabinet and what it contains.

Allow me to say that this system doesn’t work for everyone as it is supposed to.

Some people are handicapped in that they view paperwork in a different way.

I’ve found that color works for me. That is, I have to have a basket on a counter or shelf that has a bright color that I can see.

For some of us, if something such as a folder is put away in a file cabinet out of sight, the brain thinks it has disappeared from the face of the earth because it is no longer visible.

It no longer exists, so therefore no more thought is given to this folder until the tax deadline rears its ugly head. That’s when a mad search begins, looking for the vital lost documents that are invisible to people suffering from this particular condition.

Many years ago, I worked as a bookkeeper for an insurance company. Part of the job included filing documents. This is when I used to have a recurring dream about pulling the file drawers open and removing all the folders, throwing them up in the air and watching them float down in complete disorder. Then, in the dream, I’d get a bottle of Coca Cola from the ice chest, shake it up thoroughly, pop the top and spray it all over the scattered papers.

It was a happy dream, as though a great celebration was occurring, and I always woke up in a state of jubilation.

It was as though I’d been freed from some form of slavery.

It was years before the realization hit me that just because I despised filing and regimentation didn’t mean I was a bad person. Just that that particular system didn’t work for me.

So I made up a system that does work for me. Also, I read a book loaned to me by a dear friend titled “Organizing for the Creative Person” that changed my life.

Each day when the mail comes, it no longer languishes on the counter. It is opened immediately while I stand next to the trash can, and the trash can is the recipient for most of it. Most of it doesn’t even have to be opened, just dumped.

This has cut clutter on the kitchen counter almost out. And it is probably the single greatest innovation introduced in our household since the beginning of time.

Keeping important papers in file folders, but not in a closed file cabinet has also been life-changing.

Anything with an open top or anything transparent works best. Just as long as it is clearly visible, everything works better for me.

So recognizing the problem and finding ways to work around it is possible for the non-regimented person. And it doesn’t mean the person is wrong, just that it is more effective for some people to approach filing in a different way. Or as Grandmama always said, “There is more than one way to skin a cat.”

Tax season has come and gone, and once more we’ve survived it more or less intact. And now we have a whole year before we have to do it again. Rejoice.