Accordion Folder, Movers & Storage

January 28, 2011

accordion folder open

Here’s another one of those practical posts about France. It’s features the accordion folder above (which has lately become a beloved object of mine) and how we are moving and storing our belongings while out of the country.

file folder sticky notes

But before I tell you about all of that, I must show you these post-it notes I’ve been using with the accordion folder. They’re part of the organization system designed by Peter Walsh. They come with tapered corners(!) and I think they are much prettier than the typical post-it colors.

accordion folder closed

The accordion folder was originally purchased to carry all our paperwork to Los Angeles for our visa appointments. I found it at Target for under $10 and I think it’s perfection. Since the L.A. trip, I have been using it to gather originals and copies of all the forms we’ll need while in France — things like birth certificates, immunization records, insurance information, copies of our passports and drivers licenses (did I tell you I got a ticket today? bummer!) and all the other essential paperwork we’ve been advised to pack up.

The book The Expert Expat has a really helpful list to work from, if you’re curious.

accordion folder

We are storing our information in several different locations. We have scans of everything and are keeping the digital files in 4 places (our computer, our backup harddrive, a thumb drive which Ben will carry, and a thumb drive we’re leaving in Denver). We also have hard copies in two places — originals and photocopies are in the accordion folder, and a second set of photocopies is in a smaller, one-pocket folder that will be carried in a different suitcase than the accordion folder.

That’s probably over-preparation, but I tell you, all these books have me a bit paranoid and I’m trying to be prepared. : )

For moving and storage, we’ve decided to go with some small local Denver companies since it’s such a local move. Galt Brothers Movers will be packing our things on Saturday. Then, they’ll bring the moving truck around on Sunday, load everything up and move it into storage. On Monday, our carpets are being cleaned (part of our rental agreement), we’ll check the kids out of school, and hand in our car lease.

On Tuesday, we’ll fly away!

P.S. — For my next practical post, I’ll show you the luggage we’re using (less than $100 for 3 pieces!) and share some of the practical costs of this adventure.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sherry January 28, 2011 at 9:04 am

I’m so excited to read every step of your adventure. Don’t think it’s boring. We are living vicariously through you on this one. Good luck with the final countdown.

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2 Jodi January 28, 2011 at 9:22 am

My husband and I may be moving to Europe for a post-doc next year when he finishes school, and I am so glad you are sharing all this info! What I do want to know- what are you doing with your car?? And how did you decide what to take with you?

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3 Trina McNeilly January 28, 2011 at 9:37 am

This is a dream of mine {my family in France for a year} you’re posts on the preparation and details is just as exciting to me as the “here is where we are staying” kind of posts. I’m so happy for you and you’re family. Thank you for sharing you’re adventure with all of us. It’s so inspiring!
Take a deep breath & good luck with all of the last minute craziness!
xo Trina

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4 Tanya January 28, 2011 at 10:09 am

I dont think its over preparing at all with the paperwork. I think you’re being super smart about it.

I cannot believe how fast this adventure came together! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!

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5 McKay January 28, 2011 at 11:36 am

Not too much detail at all. I’ve had a dream for a while of taking our family abroad for a year, so it’s wonderful to read exactly what that means for your family.

Good luck with your busy, exciting, stressful, and emotional weekend. ;-)

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6 Katherine in Paris January 28, 2011 at 11:46 am

I am so lucky I expatriated at 16 – no houses, cars, kids… Copies of everything is definitely a good thing. When I was younger, my Mom always gave me a laminated copy of my passport just in case. She was right. I can think of two disastrous occasions when it came in handy. Now I keep copies of documents for my kids and myself everywhere.
Love all the updates and best of luck.

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7 Barb @ getupandplay January 28, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I have excited butterflies for you!!

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8 Anita January 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Bonne chance et bon voyage! I love reading about your preparation as well, and hope the experience is fabulous.

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9 Alisa January 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm

just breathe and relax….it’s a crazy time I know but soon you’ll be on the plane and your new year will begin. Very exciting. We love it here and France and or year we spent in 2008 changed our lives…so much that we sold the business and moved back in 2010 for good. Maybe you’ll stay longer than a year. Who knows.

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10 Holly January 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm

France will be wonderful!

Peter Walsh post it’s are wonderful!

Wishing you a safe and trouble free move.
xo

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11 Robin Kendall January 28, 2011 at 1:09 pm

You are wonderfully organized. Good luck this last weekend. Love you guys!

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12 Summer January 28, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I don’t know what this says about me, but I’m crazy jealous of you – and not because of France! I mean, that part is awesome too, but you are so organized…but you make it look manageable/cute and not crazy/overbearing. I’ve followed your blog for awhile, and I seriously want to be you when I grow up (we’re about the same age, but you know what I mean). :) Best wishes, and I can’t wait to read all about it! Thank you for sharing your journey!

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13 Erin January 28, 2011 at 2:22 pm

This is so exciting! I am living vicariously through you and wish you all the best!

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14 Marlo January 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Triplicate I tell you. It will become your favorite (or most used) word. Even organization is fun when you are moving to France. Just wait until you have to carry around your own medical records there. The fun never stops. Good luck this weekend.

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15 kate January 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Hi! You’ve inspired us to expand our horizons, too – did I tell you?!? We are deep in planning mode ourselves and have found that Dropbox.com is great for digital back-ups. It’s accessible from anywhere and all your info lives in the cloud. You should really look into it…I bet it would be easier than having to cart around your own digital files. You can start out with free hard drive storage, but if you’ve got a lot of files, then there are plans that cost $$. Anyway, my 2 cents. Vive le France!

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16 CEO January 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm

So excited for you guys… it will be amazing…..

xxx
CEO

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17 lakshmi January 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm

I don’t think you can ever be over prepared. You are right about having multiple copies and everything .
We had a moment a month after we moved to australia and once the dust settled down , my hubby couldn’t find our son’s passport ! After searching hi and lo , we found it was safe in our accordian folder with the other passports..just hidden way back ..!
Good organization !

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18 Chris January 28, 2011 at 7:51 pm

I am a sucker for the this sort of thing. We are a two country family and always have many copies of everything. It sounds like you are prepping perfectly. Better safe than in another country without your marriage license….you never know. I know this from experience.

It all looks wonderful. Enjoy the journey!

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19 Globe trottin' mama January 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm

i am so grateful that you’re moving abroad before me. i find myself starring most of your move related posts using my google reader. safe travels!

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20 Junglewife January 28, 2011 at 9:42 pm

We use the accordion folder system too! In the past few years our family has made several trips back to the States, usually only a month or two long. But in that time, it is amazing how much paperwork, receipts, mail, bills, etc tend to accumulate! I figured out the accordion folder was the best way to keep all of that organized and in one place while we were traveling. Like you, I also have a section for birth certificates/marriage license/important paperwork, and another for travel documents (printouts of itineraries, copies of hotel confirmations if we’re stopping somewhere along the way, etc). I keep all that in the big accordion folder until it’s time for us to actually travel. Then, I take the stuff out of those two (documents/travel) sections and put that all into a manila envelope with a flap and elastic closure. That goes into our carry-on, and the bigger folder goes into the checked luggage. That way we have our important documents with us, without having to dig through the bigger folder. Maybe on our next trip I will have to look for a prettier folder, like yours. Ours is getting pretty mangled!

I’m glad, too, that you have found The Expert Expat book helpful. I know that a lot of the information in there is pretty common-sense, but it’s nice (for me, anyway) to have it all compiled in one place so I can refer to it as necessary. And it’s a good reminder, too, when my mind is whirling with trip details!

Oh, and I love the post-its, too! I’ll definitely have to check those out!

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21 Bren January 29, 2011 at 9:19 pm

sounds like all is going according to plan! I’ve yet to start packing! argh.

B-
B So Chic!
http://www.bsochic.blogspot.com

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22 Jessica September 1, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Hello again!!! I was rereading your post because I’m trying to get some info from you and when you say you needed immunization records was that for just the kids or all of you?
Thank you!!!

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23 Mackenzie @ Chubbyfoot September 14, 2011 at 11:55 am

Purchased my accordian folder yesterday for our big move, thanks to you. Would not have crossed my mind, since I’m so used to everything being electronic these days! Thanks again for such great details ;)

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