Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ode to My Card Catalog

I go to my blog once or twice a day to scan my list of blog links to see if anyone has posted anything new. Very few people seem to be updating much lately, least of all me! I have definitely been "off" blogging. I guess I will do my part and post something, though. I don't have it in me to try to tell you what we've been up to in the past four months, so instead I'm going to post an ode to my card catalog.

Now, some of you youngsters may not even know what a card catalog is, or what its purpose was/is. I'm not in the mood to give much of a history lesson right now, but I will say that this is how we used to find books in the library before computers became commonplace in libraries. Little cards filled all the little drawers. The cards listed all the materials in the library, searchable by title, subject, and author. With the advent of computerized catalogs, the old card catalog files became mostly obsolete. Some strange people now like to purchase them and repurpose them for use in the home. I've been wanting one for years, and about a year and a half ago my dream came true and I bought a card catalog formerly used at the College of Eastern Utah in Price, Utah.

Card catalogs come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and materials. Mine has 72 drawers, so it's a rather large one. We were living in our tiny basement apartment in Payson when I purchased it, so I couldn't even bring it in the house. If I had asked Tyson to move it down the stairs to the apartment...well, let's not go there.

I finally was able to set it up when we moved back to Cache Valley. The first question Tyson had asked when he first saw it was, "What are you going to use it for?" I said I was going to put stuff in it, of course! I think he thought there weren't 72 categories of stuff that could go in these little drawers, but there are! It's my 72-drawer junk drawer! From address books to a voice recorder, everything has an organized little home in my card catalog. In fact, here's the whole list:

Address Book, Batteries, Bills, Business Cards, Buttons, Cables - AV, Cables - Computer, Calculators, Camera, Candles - Long, Candles - Tea lights, Candy, Cards - Index, Cards - Note & Thank you, Cell phone, Change, Chapstick, Checks, Colored Pencils, Coupons, Crayons, Elastics & Twist Ties, Envelopes - Large, Envelopes - Small, Ephemera, Erasers, First Aid, Flashlights, Glasses, Glue, Gum, Hand Sanitizer, Hard Drive, Hardware, Hole Punches, Ink cartridges, iPod, Keys, Labels, Lighters, Lint Roller, Markers, Matches, Measuring Tapes, Medicine, Nail Clippers & Polish, Needles & Thread, Paper clips, Paints, Pencils, Pens, Pins, Playing Cards, Post-it Notes, Receipts, Rulers, Scissors, Shoe Polish, Sidewalk Chalk, Stamps - Ink, Stamps - Postage , Stapler, String, Sunglasses, Tape, Tools, Toys, Voice Recorder

That's not exactly 72. Some are split in two drawers, and I actually have two drawers leftover.

Enough with the talk. Here are the pictures.

Card catalog in our townhouse in North Logan. Note my creative kid-proofing. I didn't want to do anything to mar or alter the card catalog so I devised a dowel system that causes young children extreme difficulty when they try to open the drawers. One must pull on a dowel with significant and even force in order to open all the drawers in that row at once. This keeps kids away from the stuff they shouldn't get. Beck has now become interested in removing all the labels, however, a stage Sawyer went through when the card catalog was first set up.

Closeups of the "Batteries" drawer.

In context in Logan. If that sofa looks strange, it's because I removed the main part of the gray slipcover, leaving the piece with an odd two-tone look. It was just too heavy and gray with the full slipcover, which was skirted and hid the feet. I regretted this sofa within days of buying it, but it's too big and expensive to flush down the toilet.

Card catalog in context in our Pennsylvania living room. The rest of the furniture has been rearranged a few times since this picture, but the card catalog just stays there. We really need a rug, but the one I want is expensive (not to mention not available anymore).

So, there you have it. You're jealous, aren't you? :)


  1. I love the phrase "too big and expensive to flush down the toilet". There are so many things I will now say this about and enjoy the looks it causes. It's good to hear from you again, your post made me laugh and miss you all over again!

  2. I really am jealous! Such a good idea.

  3. I've always wanted a card catalog for a piece of furniture. I loved looking through them back in the olden days and imagined myself having a library of my own so I could have one of theses. I keep hoping that one day a library or school will have one for sale. I've acutally been tempted to offer Kade's school money for one sitting outside the library, which I'm sure is not longer in use. But they use if for decor too. Hmm.

  4. Ya. "Theses." I meant "these." You'd think I'd proofread my comments before I posted them. Especially if I'm the kind of person who wants a card catalog. And "if" instead of "it"? What kind of nerd am I? I'll do better next time.

  5. Yes, I am jealous. I love your card catalog. Maybe I would get organized if I had such a wonderful system.

  6. Having so many labeled little drawers to organize things in makes my ocd-ness feel happy.

    I love your fireplace/hardwood floors. Very nice.

  7. EVERY SINGLE DAY I search on KSL for a card catalog. Every. Single. Day. Some wacko wants $565 for one that has, like 15 drawers. Whatever. My experience is that if you search for something on KSL for long enough, one day the Gods of the Classifieds will grant it unto you. So we'll see how long I have to wait... (Logan thinks it's complete idiocy to purchase a card catalog for one's home. I told him that his face is complete idiocy.)

  8. Fantastic! We have several media cabinets that are made to look like card catalogs, but no real ones yet!

  9. Like EMILY, I sometimes thought that I would want a card catalog for our family library, but I just ended up cataloging our titles on LibrayThing instead (http://www.librarything.com/catalog/ukforever)

  10. I am extremely jealous of your card catalog but I love that you included the list of what you store in yours because I've actually wondered what I would put in one if I was lucky enough to find one! And I actually like the two tone look of your couch, it makes it quirky and it blends well with the houndstooth, good job!

  11. I also just wanted to say that love this post and your card catalog so much that I included it and a link to your blog in my blog post today. Thanks for sharing!