May 7, 2009 / Consider This

It’s never too late

Written by Jan Hensel

You may have told yourself you were going to stay organized this year and already feel overwhelmed by piles of stuff stashed instead of stored. It’s not too late. Let today be the day you win control over the mess. You need to plan storage for paperwork, yearbook spreads, and company materials and tools. So, let’s not waste time. It’s time to get started!

First, grab an old notebook and designate it as “The Walsworth File.” (Masking tape makes a nice, clean surface to write on.) Take the mail you’ve already got – like your bill, if you’re a summer book – and three-hole-punch it for the notebook. Add all other Walsworth mail lying around, too. And please, promise yourself, as I have, that you will punch everything before even reading it. That way you will never waste time searching for some note from the plant about missing fonts. Oh, and make a note to yourself to buy index dividers, too, so you can section the notebook for correspondence, plant progress reports, proof carbons, etc. You need a notebook. You will sleep better. Just don’t forget to pay the bill!

Next, look around your room for places to store spreads. You must plan today where to put spreads tomorrow. It’s a lot like preparing for a new baby. You wouldn’t bring a newborn home from the hospital and then think about where to keep the precious bundle, would you? Precious cargo deserves a “nursery” so to speak – an organized space for completed pages, spreads sent, spreads in progress, and spreads waiting to be shipped.

You must put a copy of all completed pages into a notebook so you can refer to these during the year. We use our “Walsworth Organizer” notebook. Don’t discard all the leftover materials from the completed spreads, either. You never know when you will need another copy of the logo for the bank or interview notes to lengthen a story on proofs that shrinks when changed to the right point size. A file drawer will hold leftovers of shipped pages. Most importantly, all students should have mailboxes, and spreads in progress should stay in these mail boxes. If you don’t have mail boxes, before you go home tonight, head to Wal-Mart for those index dividers and a couple of cardboard 12-pair shoe holders. Sam’s Club sells an office mail box set-up for about $25, as well. Since mail boxes only serve work in progress, though, you still need another very safe place to store incomplete spreads (i.e. ones waiting for a better dominant photo). An old Walsworth Yearbook Kit box holds envelopes of incomplete spreads nicely.

Before we quit, it’s time to analyze where you keep company materials and tools like spread envelopes, stickers and croppers. These supplies need a handy home. If space is at a premium, then improvise. Cardboard is your friend; if necessary, split the Kit box into two halves and sort supplies into smaller boxes so grease pencils don’t roll under photo pads and ad contracts aren’t mutilated. What matters most is that company materials are accessible, organized, and protected. That’s not to say you won’t order grease pencils three times because they disappear faster than socks in a dryer. Still, if you start with chaos, the job of publishing the yearbook is unnecessarily harder.

Now, it’s time to go buy dividers and mail boxes. And, why not pick up a few more supplies at the same time? Like plastic baskets, clear storage boxes with lids, drawer organizers, new Crayola Stampers and animal crackers.

Finally, this is very important – do not ever forget how to have fun!

Jan Hensel

Jan Hensel is the former adviser at Liberty High School in Liberty, Mo., where she taught yearbook, newspaper and photography.