Organizing and Decluttering

The tickler file

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Yes I’m ticklish, no I’m not laughing – but I am smiling…

I’m so happy with my new tickler file system.



Yes these things make me happy! Who named this a “tickler” system anyways – kind of silly-  in my opinion!

I had mentioned in the File Overhaul post  that I wanted to try out a “tickler file”. I had heard of them years ago when a co-worker who used to work in a lawyers office mentioned that she always used one. She was always very organized and never going crazy working on something at the last minute. I think the system helped her to be prepared. At the time I had no idea what she was talking about, and I quickly forgot all about it.

Well when I was working on our home files I realized that I really don’t want to have to have a pile of bills sitting on my desk only for me to find the phone bill in the toy box a week after it was due. This happened – last week!! I also wanted a way to remember to RSVP to events, to send cards for birthdays, remember to return library books… you get the idea. I didn’t want to clutter my calender with some of these reminders… so I looked in to the Tickler system.

I found some great ideas online some companies even sell a Tickler file all set up for you. I had no desire to spend $30+ on a bunch of file folders that I could make for myself.

What you need:

  • A file box or file drawer depending on your preference. (I like to have mine on the desk so I found a nice looking one for the desk.)
  • 43 file folders-I would recommend using 5-tab file folders not the 3-tab one’s that I used. It would just look nicer in my opinion
  • A Labeler or labels– I just saw a really great labeler at Staples last week for only $9.99.
  • Your pile of bills, appointment cards, birthday card you have to send, directions, travel plans, letters, reports,

All you have to do is label your file folders with #1-31(for each day of the month) and one for each month of the year.

And you’re all set! Really it’s that simple!

Take your pile of paperwork and start to fill up your system. For bills I usually put them in 7 days prior to their due date. If I have to RSVP I put it in about 3-4 days before the RSVP date ( I have major irritations with people who don’t RSVP, more ranting on that later)

Some also include these other categories:

Send—letters to write
Errands—a folder to hold shopping lists, claim receipts, etc.
Call—a place to store phone messages until you have time to return calls
Data Entry—addresses, phone numbers, business cards to enter into address book and/or contact management system
Calendars—calendars for classes, meal planning calender, etc.

I also have a TO FILE, COUPONS and DAD’s FINANCES (I do my dads accounting). I may add more as I see a need for them, but so far this is working great. I think it’s important to keep it simple!

If you have a hard time keeping track of all of the odd paperwork, forget to pay bills or just want a simple way to organize these papers – try it out! I think you’ll like it!

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    February 26, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    I want to get a file cabinet so that I can have one drawer for all of my random paperwork that I can label ‘The X-Files’.

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    Hey Donna