Paladini Potpie

Adventures within The Crust!

The Numbered Box Retrieval System


John’s eyes popped when I walked into the house carrying his camo hunting jacket.  “How did you find it so fast?” he asked.  It had only been five minutes since he asked me if I could go find it in the garage. “How do you keep track of things like this?”

I laughed. My storage system sort of parallels my mental storage system – long and short term storage.

I don’t recall what I came into this room for…but I do remember my address from when I was in kindergarten, my teacher’s name, and all the words to most of Simon and Garfunkel’s songs. By the same token, I might not be able to find today’s newspaper, or the birthday card I just got for my aunt, but I can easily walk out to the garage and retrieve just about anything we have stored out there in long term storage.

A few days ago I wrote about how the cabinets and closets in my house prove the second law of thermodynamics, so why is it so easy to find things that are stored in the garage? The secret of my long-term storage memory is our numbered box system.

I don’t remember where I first heard about this storage method, but I’ve been doing it for about 30 years.

apple boxesBack when I first started, I scoured supermarkets and begged for apple boxes. I wanted lots of boxes that were about the same size and shape, so they could be neatly and easily stacked.  I numbered each box with a fat felt pen, and then made a corresponding index card describing what went into that box.

Box #1 had our Christmas decorations   Box #25 had old record albums. Box #15 had my children’s special baby clothes. etc etc.

card fileI put the index cards in a recipe file box, and stored it in an easily accessible, easy to remember place.  (*Very important to remember where you put the card file box.)

Over the years most of the boxes have disintegrated, and been replaced by computer paper boxes.  The index cards have been rewritten as the contents of the boxes changed.  But it’s still pretty easy to run out to the garage and find out where I stored all the report cards and science projects from my children’s elementary school days, or even John’s camo hunting jacket.


Author: paladinipotpie

Welcome! My name is Andrena Paladini and this is a blog about family and love and faith and fun. I call it Paladini Potpie because a potpie is like an adventure in a crust. You never know what might come up, but it’s always going to be good! Think of the best potpie you’ve ever eaten…hot flaky crust holding a rich savory sauce and all kinds of pieces of meat and vegetables…and who knows what? As a family, we’ve chosen to live within the parameters of God’s love and protection. This is the crust of our Paladini Potpie. The crust never changes. Within this crust, the savory sauce of family love binds it all together. That is also fairly constant. But beyond the crust and the sauce we can add just about anything! Good ideas come our way and we’ve adopted and adapted them to add to what John calls our treasure box of memories. These stories and ideas from John’s treasure box of memories are the ingredients I’m putting into our Paladini Potpie. (Okay, so this ridiculous mixing of metaphors about treasure boxes and potpies is exactly what I’m talking about. Silly and ungrammatically correct. But both illustrations work… so we’ll mix them together and it’ll be just fine!) John and I have been married for 30 years. Our children have wonderfully doubled in number since David married Amanda, Monica married Dan, and Matthew married Sarah. And the newest little treats that have been added to our potpie are six adorable grandchildren - Ethan, Angelina, Nathan, Audrey, Maleia and Caleb! I hope you’ll subscribe to my Paladini Potpie blog, and keep up with all the fun new ingredients I add. Hopefully you’ll enjoy our stories and ideas, and find something you’ll want to put into your own potpie! Bon appétit!

3 thoughts on “The Numbered Box Retrieval System

  1. My card file box is labeled “Jewell’s Junque Locator”….;-)

  2. Over the years from knowing you, this is one of the many things that pops into my mind about you. Your number system is amazing and so are you.

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