Here is an unusual mnemonic e-mailed by Fred Baldwin of Pennsylvania USA that describes the only five ways to organise any list or grouping of items:


Indicating things organised by:

  • Location (eg. left-to-right, floor-by-floor, toyshop/sweetshop etc)
  • Alpha-numeric (ie. under A, B, C etc or by numerical sequence)
  • Time (eg. by year-file, by monthly sequence, chronological order of receipt etc)
  • Category (eg. fiction/non-fiction, red/green/blue, male/female etc)
  • Hierarchy (eg. McCartney under B-Beatles, Jagger under S-Stones etc)

Fred believes the mnemonic is mainly of interest to writers and researchers, but we beg to disagree! Almost everything we see or own is organised as above (and often by a combination of cross-organisation).

Take for example clothing - a closet usually contains shirts, t-shirts and jeans stored in separate neat piles (ie. by category), while a separate basket nearby holds old clothes or dirty laundry (ie. organised by time)!


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