My sister-in-law gave me a fantastic piece of advice, because she’s good like that.
I love my sister-in-law, who is not technically my sister-in-law (our family is not renown for following the rules and definitely doesn’t like to let a divorce or two get in the way of a good time). Laura Gardiner aka Rah is awesome and loved by all who meet her. She runs Smarter Admins and if you want to cut the hours you spend at work subscribe to her newsletter.
I’m not naturally an organised person, which is why this Love the Home You Have is so important for me, setting systems and order to get through the year. When it comes to filing – nails screech down blackboard – I needed to phone a friend.
This is when Rah told me about the ICE file for the first time. It’s the in case of emergency filing box containing all our important documents, so if we need to leave in an emergency, we just pick it up and leave. How very grown up.
In case of emergency file
It’s a home for documents that you would need: proof of identity, passports, birth certificates, civil union, marriage certificate, insurance paperwork, medical records, rental agreements, mortgages, title deeds, pet records and so on.
There’s no reason it should be an ugly box, it just needs handles and a lid. I’m also thinking it’s probably a good idea if it doesn’t look like a filing box that shouts, ‘You-hoo, I contain important documents!’
I was recently deigned the upcycle queen by a friend and it’s a crown I’d love to wear, so it is now my honour to make a file box out of waste. Here is a grocery box, unloved fabric and old belt.
See those fancy ‘brass’ fittings in the handles. It would’ve been sensible to go to the hardware store and buy a couple of brass bolts, but I had some galvanised bolts rattling around in the shed and I gave them a quick squirt with gold spray paint = fancy gold bolts.
The only thing to be careful of is to find a grocery box that fits the filing system frame (I bought the filing frame at Officeworks, but any big stationery place should have them).
I would love to say that you could reuse an old bed sheet, but I don’t think the fabric would be thick enough to disguise the box underneath. I used an old calico cover that had a few rips, but old tablecloths, bed covers would work, too. Also, a different coloured lid would also look super cute, a bit like this box set that means you could use two smaller pieces.
Storage box ingredients
Filing system frame Suspension files Tab holders Download tabs here: BlahBlahMagazine-HomeFilingPrintableA4 Grocery box with lid (big enough to fit the filing frame) Manilla folders Strong glue Thick fabric, about 2m x 1.5m (the size depends on your grocery box) scissors Old leather belt Utility knife or really big scissors for cutting leather Hammer and nail or leather hole punch Brass bolts
How to make a storage box
1. Glue manilla folders to the side of the box to cover holes.
2. Mark up the fabric with a pencil and a ruler so you know where to cut.
3. Glue the fabric.
4. Fold the fabric into the box and press to set the glue. Stapling in discrete spots is another good option.5. Measure side panels and cut leather to fit. If you don’t happen to own a ridiculously large pair of scissors, use a utility knife to cut the leather belt. Wear leather gloves and be seriously careful to cut away from you. Straight lines are easier and probably a good place to start, as you can always try rounding off the edges later when you’re feeling more confident. Dampen the leather to make the cutting a bit easier.
6. Cut the matching handle.
7. Measure and mark with a pencil for the handle holes.
8. Punch a hole, using a hammer and nail. If you need to make a big hole, hammer lots of holes in a little circle for the size you need.
9. My not very elegant way of sticking a hole in the side of the box with a pair of scissors.
10. Screw the bolts through the leather and side wall holes to fasten the handles.
11. Cut the lid.
12. Tape the lid to hold it together, if need be.
13. Glue the fabric to the lid.
14. Fit the filing system frame into box and add files.
Cybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn't cost the earth. Follow on google: +blahblahmagazine twitter: @blahblahzine or Instagram: BlahBlahMagazine