|Idea file is in center of photo. Larger file in corner was|
acquired later and is used for personal and business
Years ago when I was in high school and still living at home with my parents, one of the items on my gift wish list was a file cabinet. It was on the birthday of either my junior or senior year when my mother got me the file cabinet that I had specifically picked out from the Sears catalog. The cabinet consisted of two standard size file drawers on one side and a compartment with shelves and a safe on the other side. This cabinet remained in my parents house for the next twenty years.
Since childhood I had always had an interest in organizational fixtures in which to keep my belongings. Usually I resorted to cardboard boxes. When I began collecting stamps I acquired an index card size two drawer file and some metal storage boxes. However, my storage capacity for papers and such was sadly lacking. The official file cabinet made a world of difference for certain aspects of my ability to organize things that were mine.
In the cabinet I kept mostly things that pertained to my writing and my personal memorabilia. One drawer held file folders of newspaper clippings and papers that served as story ideas and prompts and other articles that pertained to my life or people I knew. The other drawer was mainly for various publications, photos, personal documents, and other data that was important to me. After I moved out of my parents house, the file cabinet was moved to their basement laundry room where it remained for the period of over a decade when I was on the road in the entertainment business.
Eventually after I returned to Tennessee to settle down to a regular life, I retrieved the file cabinet contents from my parents basement and transferred them to a new file cabinet that I had purchased for my apartment. The old file cabinet had rusted away at the bottom and had seen its better days. As I looked at the cabinet by the curbside where I had hauled it to be removed by the sanitation department, I recalled those many years it had safely kept my files in an orderly fashion. The old piece of office furniture had served me well.
Now my newer more stylish looking file cabinet sits in my California writing office. It's now over 20 years old, but having been kept in a dry environment it still looks almost like new. My newspaper articles and other odds and ends are there waiting for me whenever I need a prompt or a memory.
Do you keep an official "idea file"? What types of things do you hang onto for purposes of writing research or records? How do you store your writing files?