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Why & How To Create A Tickler File

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Have you ever heard of a tickler file?

This is an idea I was personally introduced to when I read the book Getting Things Done by David Allen more years ago than I care to admit. Perhaps he wasn't the first to think of this concept, in fact he probably wasn't, but GTD is what made this a popular concept.

What Is A Tickler File?

How and why to create a tickler file to organize paperwork, including lots of examples and variations submitted by readers who got their papers organized {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest
So what is a tickler file? It is a way to jog your memory of things you need to do in the future, closer to when you need to do them.

Many people use it in their home to remind themselves of bills to pay before their due date, to find tickets or other items they need to take with them to an event, etc.

Yes, you can use a calendar for this purpose too, and many do.

However, the filing system is helpful for associating a piece of paper that goes with a task.

For example, on a family calendar you may write on Monday to pull meat out of the freezer to thaw for the next day's dinner. Obviously, no paper is involved in that task.

However, what if you need to remember to bring a ticket with you to an event two weeks from now? You could place the ticket in a pile of papers on your kitchen counter and hope for the best, or you could place it in your tickler file and then the day of the event pull it out of the designated days folder and voila, a stress free way to keep track of such stuff.

How To Use A Tickler File

Once you set up your system it doesn't take much time, but you do need to use it consistently.

So every single day you will check the designated day's folder and see what treasures, if any, you find in there. Typically this takes just a few seconds.

Here's an example: Your child's teacher has sent detailed instructions of what treats are acceptable for snack at school, but your designated snack is not until three weeks from now, so now is not the time to go out and buy snacks.

You know that you go grocery shopping on Mondays, and your snack day is on a Wednesday. Put the detailed written instruction sheet in the folder for that Monday three weeks from now, the day you'll do the shopping for those snacks, and don't worry about losing the instruction sheet in the mean time.

Then on that Monday's grocery day as usual you take a few seconds and pull everything out of the tickler file folder for the day, and you've got your hands back on the instruction sheet which you can take with you to the grocery store to make sure you buy something appropriate.

How To Make A Tickler File

Sounds great doesn't it? I'm telling you this system can save you so much time and headaches looking for the right information when you need it, and also helping you remember to do things when needed, but not at the very last minute.

Here's how you make one:

First, gather your supplies. You need
43 file folders, and either a file drawer or other container to hold the folders.

I know that sounds like a lot of folders, but once you make this system you can use it for years, so it is worth it.

Label the first 31 folders, the daily folders, with a number, 1 through 31.

Next, label the twelve other folders with each month, January through December.

Now put all 43 folders in them in a file holder (you can see pictures below from my friend Susan who recently created one of these systems and was nice enough to share her pictures with me).

The key is to put them in a special order, and the order changes from day to day (you move one to the back each day -- super simple).

Let's pretend the date is March 16th. Here's the order of the file folders on that date:

May - December
January - March

On March 16th in the morning you'll take your couple seconds to look in the file folder labeled 16, take anything out that needs to be dealt with that day, and then you place that file folder after file 15.

That means the next morning when you look at it again file 17 is now in the front.

When the end of the month comes along the next file folder, in this case April, will be at the front. You take just a few extra moments that day to take everything out of the April file folder and place it in the daily files.

So, for example, a few months ago you arranged that on April 23rd you'd go to the lake with friends, and they gave you hand written directions for a backroad. At the time you placed that piece of paper, perhaps with a sticky note attached with more explanation, in the April folder. Now that March is over though you come across the piece of paper again in the April folder and now you place it in the 23 folder and then on April 23rd it is right there, waiting for you.

Once you've spread out the papers from the April folder to the daily folders, then you place the April folder at the end of the filing system, and move up the May folder to be behind the daily 31 folder. That's it.

Simple but effective.

You Can Buy Similar Systems If You Don't Want To Make Your Own

If what I described seemed confusing or you are just not a do it yourself type of person you're in luck.

The concept of a tickler file is extremely popular and so they sell products that have basically made it for you already.

Here are some examples:

Now below my friend Susan has shared pictures of the tickler system she created, and how she did it.

If you've also created such a file system I'd love to see yours as well, as well as hear what types of things you use it for in your home to keep you organized. You can share your pictures and tips here and I'll add the best ones to the page.

Top photo courtesy of Susan Matthews

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I Just Made A Tickler File Using Your Instructions!

My Tickler File Bag showing tomorrow's date up front as today is already filed in the back

My Tickler File Bag showing tomorrow's date up front as today is already filed in the back

Margo sent in these photos above when she finished this mission. She said:

"I am just jumping in at week 16, but to be most effective I am jumping back and doing some of the previous ones.

I created a tickler file. I have it in a small bag/tote for now because it is portable and compact. It's a start.

At the back of the tickler I have a "File" file for things to file away on my paperwork day. This is my inbox of sorts for now. I also have my bill binder in the back as well.

The day after I made this I was at the doctor with my son where they gave me his paperwork for the next school year. In the past I would have put this up in a "safe" place but by the time school rolls around in late July I would have long since buried it under other important things and/or not even remember I need it or even where to look for it.

It was very nice to come home and put it right away in the July folder and now I know where it is and it will not be forgotten.

In time, the one thing I might do differently with the folders is to have all the tabs on the same side for the dates and then all the months on the opposite side or down the middle.

I did not do this up front because the box of folders I purchased came in 1/3 tabs and I didn't want to buy multiple boxes."

Melinda Created One Too!

tickler file in kitchen

Melinda says: "Here is my kitchen filing system I found on this wonderful site. Thanks for the idea."

So Did Shirley!

tickler file

Shirley says: "My new tickler file. Here's hoping I can keep it up."

Cindy Did A Twist On This System Using Envelopes

tickler file using envelopes

Cindy says: "I set one up using 5x7 envelopes I had an excess of. I also have sticky note pad and pen I leave in the basket for reminders that can be stuck to any envelope. My biggest change is remembering to check it everyday. I'm setting up a reminder on my phone."

Here's Samantha's

Tickler file system using the Thirty One Double Duty Caddy and Martha Stewart Vertical Folder Files {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

Samantha sent in her photo and explained, "Just wanted to say that my tickler file system using the Thirty One Double Duty Caddy and the Martha Stewart Vertical Folder Files is working out pretty good so far. I am taking care of most things as soon as they come in. The few things that I can't (or to be honest don't want to) get to are put in the few extra files I made (Scan, File, Research, Waiting on something). They aren't piling up at all. I'm enjoying this new system. It is definitely more efficient and fun than the way I was doing it before."

Jen's Version In Use For Over A Year!

Tickler files can be used long term, for years and years, to keep your paper organized and you able to find the things you need when you need them {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

Jen sent in this photo saying, "Here's mine. In use for over a year."

Ashleys' Files

Simple tickler file. Use it, love it! {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

Ashley said about this photo she sent in, "Love mine!!!!"

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Even More Readers Have Made Tickler Files!

Christine submitted the photos above, and she said, "So happy!! Finally got my tickler file together. Now to add the papers.

Can't wait for this to become 'second nature.' Tired of papers all over the place &/or missing deadlines. Thanx!!"

In fact, I've been amazed at how many people have made one of these files, and sent in the photos!

Here's even more from more readers.

DIY tickler file for paper organization {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

Cathy sent in the photo above, and said, "I've tried to go paperless, but with 3 kids there is always paper. I made this up over the weekend. Hoping that it will tame that pile always hanging around (info on field trips, scout events, cards to send out, etc). Can't say how it works yet since I'm on day 3!!!!"

Tickler file plus #Declutter365 calendar equals organized paper in your home!

Laurie sent in the photo above and said, "THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!! I started this past January and did it my own way, with just the days. So excellent!!! It is on my counter with the Declutter 365 calendar on the front."

You can get the entire Declutter 365 calendar here if you'd like to add this to your tickler file like Laurie did.

Tickler file made by a reader, Kath {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

Kath sent in these two photos above, and said, "Very simple Tickler File, using a painted wooden wine box, coloured JAN-DEC dividers and white 1-31 dividers.

This has been amazing for allocating paper clutter and chores to appropriate days. It's really helpful for planning towards events like birthdays as you can just keep moving the event card with the list of tasks to the day it will be looked-at. Tickler files help with anxiety and breaking things down to one-day-at-a-time. They also prevent the formation of piles of papers laying around needing auctioning and draining your motivation. 'Love my Tickler File :) "

Add some fun decorations to your tickler file to make it easier to remember to check it each day {on Home Storage Solutions 101}

Ashley sent in this photo, saying, "Nothing a little paint marker can't make more fun. Helps to remind me to make sure I check it in the morning."

You can tweak your tickler file to be a weekly planning tool, not just a daily planning tool like a reader, Trisha, did {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

Trisha sent in the photo above of her filing system, and she tweaked it to be a weekly planning tool instead of just a daily planning tool. She said, "I made a ticker file with file folders and hanging files. I had tried the 31 folders before but liked to plan ahead more. So I made a folder for each week. Some months have 5 weeks instead of four weeks if you look at them on a calendar. I can still check them daily, but it reinforces future days of the week every time I look at an individual file. Planning in one week increments is also what I do for grocery shopping and planning meals."

Tickler file held in basket {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}

Arlene showed hers as well. She said, "Mine is by my calendar. It hold bills, appointments, paperwork for school/events, and notes to self!"

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Susan's Tickler File: How She Made Hers

by Susan

Susan shared these great pictures with me about how to create a tickler file.

She says: The key is to check the tickler file each day as it holds reminders of things to do. Sounds like obvious advice but it took me some time to develop the habit of doing so.

I have my tickler file in a file box that's about 10 inches deep (from the office store) and I have a separate container for my monthly folders as they wouldn't fit into my tickler file box.

I use my month folders to hold things pertaining to that month (Dr. Appts, B-day Cards, etc) then I distribute to appropriate folders in the tickler file, when that month arrives (ex: date of appts, date I want to mail a card, etc).

I find it to be really useful.

For the first photo she said: A pic of the file box itself (it's about 10 inches deep - from front to back). Some people like to create a tickler file in their file cabinet. I chose the box because I don't have room in my cabinet plus this is easier for me to access and move from room to room if needed.

For the second photo she said: I already cleared out today's folder so it's in the back (3 - for the 3rd). I like using the tabs for the days of the week as it makes the folders stand out and they are easy to move to the next week as well.

For the third photo she said: Monthly folders (didn't have room for them in main tickler file).

Want To Do More Decluttering Missions? Get Started With Declutter 365 Today!

Declutter 365 missions: 15 minute missions for your entire home

Once you declutter one type of item in your home I bet you'll want to declutter some more. After all, decluttering gives you a great reward for even a small investment of time and energy.

The Declutter 365 system is designed to help you declutter, over the course of a year, your entire house, with just 15 minutes of decluttering each day!

Hundreds of thousands of people use this proven system to get rid of their clutter, and bring peace and calm back to their homes.

Declutter 365 works to guide you to clear the clutter without overwhelm, focusing on just one small area at a time, and without making a huge mess in the process, so you see consistent forward progress without all that "messy middle" that makes it even harder to function in your home than before you started.

In addition to building a daily decluttering habit, the Declutter 365 program, along with the accompanying 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, teaches you the skills, habits, routines, and mindsets necessary to maintain the clutter free and organized state of your home from now on, so it'll never be as messy and cluttered as it is right now, ever again.

If you haven't already, make sure to get your copy of this year's Declutter 365 annual calendar here (it's FREE!), find today's date, and do 15 minutes of decluttering on the day's mission. Then, repeat again tomorrow, and again and again. Over the course of the next year, if you do this 15 minutes per day, you'll declutter your whole house!

Click here to take me to this year's Declutter 365 calendar

Get This Paper & Filing Decluttering Checklist + 32 Other Decluttering Checklists For Your Home

Right now you're decluttering your papers and files, and there's a lot of types and varieties of these around your home.

Get your 2 page paper and filing decluttering checklist, plus 32 other decluttering checklists, to help you declutter your entire home here.

Get this paper and filing decluttering checklist and 32 other decluttering checklists for your home {on Home Storage Solutions 101}

I've done the hard work of breaking down these tasks into smaller more manageable steps for you, so you don't get overwhelmed or worry you're forgetting a task, and you can go at the pace you want, whether that's fast or slow.

In addition, you can tackle these decluttering tasks in whatever order you want when you use these checklists!

Click here to learn more about 33 Decluttering Checklists Pack

Has This Inspired You To Get More Organized?

organized home challenge
I hope this has inspired you to get more organized and take control of the paper in your home, instead of it controlling you.

During part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge we focus for several weeks on conquering paper clutter in our homes.

You may find that this tickler file system will help you with the following challenges:It may be helpful in other challenges as well, but these are the main two.

I would love for you to join the challenges with us, because each week we do a different task that slowly, over the course of the year, gets our whole house organized and decluttered.

Further, if you make a tickler file I'd love to see it, and for you to tell me how you use it in your home. You can share your pictures here and I'll add them to the page.

Some links on this page are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase a product through them I receive a small commission which helps me provide this information to you for free, plus support my family. My integrity and your satisfaction are very important to me so I only recommend products I would purchase myself, and that I believe would benefit you. To learn more please see my disclosure statement.

Related Pages You May Enjoy

Getting Clutter Free Fifteen Minutes At A Time Hall Of Fame

Go From How To Create A Tickler File To Home Page

Comments for Susan's Tickler File: How She Made Hers

Click here to add your own comments

by: Sonia Lemmer

Thanx a million. It will help me so much, as I had to change and store my things in various rooms in the past 8 years. Now I am in a flat spin and my frustration is higher than my IQ!!

by: Hilda

Great idea! I was also thinking about using a binder and they have numbered and monthly tabs at an office supply store for another way of organizing.

keeps me organized
by: Nancy

I keep one for my keeps me very organized. It makes me a better assistant, thats for sure!!

what I do instead
by: Cynthia

I just put things in a "Pending - School" or "Pending - Home" file. Snack lists I'll need to refer back to go in the individual kid's file. I tried a tickler -- too many files for me, and so many things have unspecified "need" dates!

great idea
by: Christie

Using this for work is a great idea! I'm a teacher and I'm always getting good ideas or instructions for something I can't do right away...

how I use it
by: Laurie

I used this type of system in all of my jobs! It is perfect for accounting type jobs and for managing family things. I file everything like party invites, special events, school info, basically any type of paperwork needed for a certain day!

used this system a long time
by: Adrianne

A very wise Admin Assistant showed me how to use this system way back in the 80s.

been using for over a decade
by: Jee

I love the tickler file system. I've been using this system to organize my office's workflow for over a decade and it's been a great way to manage bills and other important deadlines. If you prefer not to use hanging folders, you can also use a Pendaflex Expandable Desk File.

what I use
by: Julie

I use the Fold n File from ThirtyOne with one pocket folders I labeled and put in. Sits on bar counter.

I made one!
by: Amy

I just wanted to say thank you. I made the ticker file thing and it turned out great. Thank you for this wonderful website

It works!
by: Anonymous

Introduced to me in 1985. It works!

very helpful
by: Lisa

I have really found my new tickler system to be helpful. Made mine after your article. Just have to made sure to check it on a daily basis. Thank you.

Loving this!
by: Cindy

Loving the tickler file! I made one after your article, too. I put the current month at the front and leave the paper copies of sports schedules in it (after writing things down on the calendar - good to have the extra reference though).

many uses for this
by: Cindy

I have something similar that I made. I used to have a business where I printed postcards to be mailed. They were mailed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I put them in the correct date with postage. My husband worked for the post office, so every morning he took wast was for that date. So worked for me.

Another use is if you still pay your bills by mailing a check or dropping by, just put the bill in the due date and then you know when it has to be paid. Benefit is you never misplace the bills.

This is a great system for many things.

by: jbrown122012

Thanks for the awesome idea! I've made a file box for my paperwork, but needed something for those papers I wasn't ready to use yet. This is a great way to organize them, and maybe I won't always be hunting for those papers! Thanks for the advice.

this has worked well for me for 6 months now!
by: Mary

About 6 months ago I found your article about tickler files, and I made one for both home and work. This has worked very well in both situations, and I am no longer misplacing bills, paperwork, etc. that I need to access readily and deal with in a timely manner. Thank you for the idea, and to anyone who is undecided, I highly recommend this method of tracking paperwork. The biggest thing you have to remember is to check it regularly. I check it either the night before or first thing in the morning. Once you create the habit of putting papers in here and checking it daily, it is a very smooth running system.

4 months, so far so good
by: Arlene

Using this 4 months now and it's a life saver! I put bills, appointment cards, letters from school and other activities, and even post it notes for reminders. Less stress because you take care of one day!

Additional Idea - add month's calendar to folders
by: Kat

I love this system and added one extra thing to enhance it. I took a calendar, cut it up and put the month's calendar in each folder. I jot down birthdays, bill due dates, and anything upcoming that I'd want to make a mental note of before the day arrives. Just move the calendar to the next day's folder each day, or keep it in the month folder if you don't think you need to review it daily.

by: Sherry

My life is so simple, I probably don't have a paper to put in a tickler file more than once or twice a year. Perhaps a dentist appt or a list of something to bring to church. Our calendar is on the fridge on a corkboard, so we just attach it there next to the calendar.

The tickler file really seems like a great idea for people with busy lives. For me though, it would just be busy work. Great job!

setting up tickler file
by: Laura

I'm a little confused. Do I need 43 hanging folders or 1 hanging folder for each month with file folders inside?

I want to be ready for January 1, 2015 at home and at school (I am a teacher)!

Thank you in advance :)

response to question about setting up your tickler file
by: Taylor

Hi Laura, you need 43 files. In the original picture example Susan chose to use 43 hanging files, which is what worked for the file box she chose. You could choose to have less hanging files though and add some of your folders to hanging files to group them together. You can also see that another reader, Margo, didn't use any hanging file at all, but just used regular file folders instead. Honestly that is the beauty of the system, just use whichever will work best for you and the container you've chosen to hold your files in! Hope that helps.

I made a weekly/season one for homeschool
by: Valorie

I use the same type system for my homeschool. I put papers/worksheets/booklets I will need for a certain week in the weekly file and seasonal things in the seasons folders. I added a planner folder as well. I pull the weeks, planner and seasonal folders out when making my plans for the week. As paperwork/worksheets are completed they go into that weeks folder. Accountability should I ever need to show what work my daughter is doing in school to anyone. I think I will set up one for my personal life now. Thanks!

Thanks for the explanation, never knew what this was before!
by: Andy

Thanks for the explanation. I always heard ''tickler'' but never looked into what exactly it was. I'm going to try to do this digitally using either todoist or Evernote.

daily mail influx
by: Becca

Thanks for great suggestions; doing pretty well with daily mail influx until holidays in late Nov and Dec. Wonderful cards and letters mixed in with year end financial statements, tax documents roll in with the bills! I appreciate your ideas to manage this paper flow!

An Even Simpler Tickle File
by: RKT

When I was working full-time and always under a lot of pressure, I used a tickle file daily. It saved my sanity. Mine was very simple.

I used a commercial numerical expanding file with tabs numbered 1-31. I'm not sure if we can mention brand names here, so I won't. But I am sure that you have seen them. They are blue with tabbed heavy duty divider pages. You can buy an alpha file with each tab having its own letter of the alphabet (A-Z) or you can buy a numerical file with each tab having its own number (1-31).

As I would want to put a paper in my tickle (call up) file, I would simply mark it at the top right hand corner: c/u with the appropriate month, date & year. Example: C/U 9-12-15.

Each morning I would go to the appropriate numerical day. Example: On September 12, 2015, I would go to tab 12. My c/u papers would be in month and year order; i.e., 4/12/15, 8/12/15,9/12/15 1/12/16, 3/12/16, 2/12/17.

I would simply retrieve any papers with a c/u date of 9/12/15 and leave the rest in the file to wait their turn to be retrieved.

Very simple, takes up only a little space, and saves sanity.

Lifes Work
by: Tanya

I have used this system for the opposite reason. I have used a hanging file for each year of my life and put any papers, school photos, reports, etc in the year they belong.

My theory is that I will get to writing some stories of events in my life and I decided to gather information in each year and write some stories and add them to the year they belong.

This hopefully breaks the job down into smaller parts and will mean one day most of the story will already be there.

I made one too but made some changes...
by: Grace

I figured our tickler file had to work for us and I just didn't have space for 43 hanging folders! So I have a folder for every 4 days and one for each month. Then I added a few more for credit card receipts sorted by card and post-it notes for flagging bills in the tickler. I also added a pouch on the front for receipts that need to be inputted in our spending tracking spreadsheet. So I combined general paper organizing and bills/mail to sort, etc in one station. Mail that needs to be looked at but is not time sensitive goes in the folder for that month. Anything with a due date gets put in the correct folder and flagged if it's a bill. I think the system will work, I just need to be self disciplined enough to use it...!

Can't wait!
by: Jennifer

I am sooooo excited to try this!! I had never heard of a tickler file before - but this is just up my alley. Last month my son needed his physical form for school and I knew I had it somewhere from when we had it done (in July!). I tore the house apart, blamed it on him for losing it, had to get the dr to fill out another form, pick it up, and run it to my son. Two days later I found it behind another form in our mail holder near the door. Agghhh! After apologizing to him, I knew I had to find a better way. I think this will be perfect!

Thank you so much!
by: Supernana

I am going to get the folders, etc. today! This has awakened a fire in me to get organized as well as a big time stress reducer. Thank you thank you thank you! Love this site.

To tickle or not to tickle...that was the question...
by: Jo-Anne

In the past I have always had a week to an opening diary for important dates and appointments, a note pad for running lists and a day planner I pull out for any task dense events to keep me on track. I also now use the alarm on my mobile phone to back up my diary.

I am retired and along with many other great systems I researched 43 Folders. However I felt it was overkill for me at this point in my life.

After completing a series of online decluttering courses I now have customised an A5 three ring 'To Do' binder, and in/out trays for home organisation.

I have 5 sections in my binder...1] this year for annually recurring events 2] this month for capturing whatever is happening month by month 3] this week/today full of sticky notes of the relevant and current stuff transferred from the other four sections 4] brain dump pages to collect any and everything that I may want to do to get it off my mind and onto paper...very important 5] longer projects lists for things that can only be done in stages.

I love sticky notes [write once and move around...even into my wallet when shopping] and use them liberally by putting them in the relevant sections ready to transfer them to this week/today page applying my personal versions of Kanban, the 4 Quadrants and the Rule of 3.

Like the 43 Folders system it is in the doing of it that you can make it yours.

Have used this before but need a suggestion
by: Vickie

I have done this before but remember I had a problem. If you file something into a specific date and you need it, but don't recall the date folder you placed it in, how do you find it? Look in each folder? Create a log noting where each thing is? Any ideas? Thanks.

It works, at last!
by: Colleen

I was so anxious when I read what a TICKLER FILE did. This really does eliminate papers here and there, and the papers are no longer all over the counters. Thank you so much!

did this at the office for years, now I need to do it for myself in retirement!
by: Lois

When actively employed I ALWAYS used a "Come-Out" File. But I took all too quickly and well to my early retirement (nearly 19 yrs ago) and guess I thought I was retiring from having to keep up-to-date filing, OR a "Come-Out" File! Now I'm paying the price with countless hours of trying to undo my paperwork chaos! No, not 19 yrs worth, but HAVE found some papers for shredder, from 10 - 15 yrs ago! My paper problem's not helped by having a hobby of research (Family History). I told my sis that I'm going to create a file for "THINGS I WILL LOSE!" I'm reviving TODAY a COME-OUT file for home! I use a 31-day file folder. As a document comes in needing future attention I mark it in upper right-hand corner with "C/O 5/19" and into the C/O Folder it goes, under "19". If near the end of year a document received in November may have year added, like "C/O 2/03/16" ...then it still goes in same folder, but at BACK of section for "03". Then come Feb, it's already in proper section of my C/O File.

This system worked like a charm for me all those years (36!) at the office and I'm WAY overdue for reinstating some of the good habits I used then! Filing too -- I never left office on Friday until my filing was up-to-date. I had a job which demanded I be able to locate documents WITHOUT searching for them. Guess it's time for me to "come out of retirement" for MYSELF!

Staying organized with a tickler file
by: Barbara Curtis

I keep just ONE tickler folder. I place it in the front of my files and put everything in it that needs attention, sorted by date: today through the future. Each morning I look and see what needs doing next. Once I've taken care of an item, the paperwork is moved to the appropriate storage folder or, hopefully, trashed. This keeps me organized as everything I've not dealt with is all in one place and there's no need for extra folders or storage.

Cleaning schedule
by: Anonymous

I learned a fabulous house cleaning system using this same type system. I have never been more efficient in keeping my home clean and orderly than when I use it. Got it from the book, Side-tracked Home Executives (referral). A very fun read and hugely helpful for busy moms!

Tried and trusted
by: Mark

I've been using mine for years; couldn't imagine life without it.

Adding encouragement
by: Joanne

I've used a tickler file for years, but I recently started adding notes and cards I receive that encourage me deeply. If someone writes how I made a difference in her life, or a student draws me an I Love You picture, I insert it in a random folder. On many days, taking a minute to reread the words motivates me to keep pressing on. And on bad days, it's an instant mood-lifter!

re response to Joanne re encouragement notes
by: Taylor

Joanne, thank you so much for sharing this idea. I absolutely love it! This is wonderful. It is so easy to dwell on the negative, which we often remember even if we don't want to, and to forget the positive, so these little steps to help you re-remember the positive and encouraging is so great!

by: Lori Edwards

I love love love this. Why have I never heard of this before? I can't wait to get this going and train my Hubby how to use it!

I've been doing this for over 10 years!
by: Jill

Over 10 years ago I read a similar article and I was desperate so I implemented it. And it is a fantastic system! It takes up so little space but organizes so much!

Can't remember how much Halloween candy you went through last year? Write it down and put it in the October file. Buy birthday cards 6 months at a time and put them in the appropriate month files. It has saved me money because I was paying my bills on time since all bills went into the day a week before they were due (this was before online bill paying).

Now, as empty nesters, it is a bit more than what I need, so I've modified it. I still have the months, but I now just have the days of the week and a file named "The rest of the month" that at go through once/week to move to the current days of the week. I now have a file for each child (since they aren't at home anymore) and for our parents to contain things we need to give them or talk with them about. When I know the day I will see them, I move that folder behind (or in) the folder of the day we will see them.

I set this system up for each of my children when they left the house, in a portable file box.

Use Technology
by: CyndBThatsMe

I've known about Ticklers for nearly 40 years. I had a secretary that taught me about them. Love the concept.

However, as a suggestion, if you are techno savvy, use your smartphone. Rather than carrying around pieces of paper to the store, take a picture of that list the day you shop and chunk that paper list in the trash as you go out the door. I'm all for saving the paper in the Tickler, then taking its picture the day you need it! No sense in cluttering up your photo file months, weeks and days ahead of the actual use date.

And, another suggestion: make use of the bank app on your phone. I let the bank pay bills on their stamp. I still like a paper check, it's easier to trace. Save the bill in the Tickler on its due date and check your bank app to see if the check, for example your utility bill, has been posted to your checking account as paid. I schedule all bills to be paid 7 days in advance of their due date as soon as they come in the mail. File the bill away, then forget it! The day it's due, I pull the Tickler, check my bank app to see if it's posted, then check it off as cleared in my check register app!

I love and use my smartphone for everything. If you have a smartphone and are not making use of the available apps (most are free and secure), you might want to check into it. I'm retired now and have better things to do with my time than bookkeeping!

Monthly tickle roller-type file
by: Jenni

Somewhere, a couple of years ago, I read of someone's idea for a small "Rolodex" type file. It was designed to help the individual keep ahead of important things to remember that occurred annually like birthdays, anniversaries, paying property taxes, insurance premiums, and specific dates of that sort. I liked the idea because my husband and I couldn't find a traditional calendar with large enough blocks for both our notations. Also, not only did he tend to write in the middle of the day's space block, I wrote larger, and diagonally, so we often couldn't make the notations out!

So, a rolodex of file cards--either regular- or larger-sized, separated by monthly dividers, each month containing one card per special date within it, containing necessary data (name, occasion, address, email, etc.). Keep envelopes, return address labels and stamps nearby and--voila!--no searching for supplies.

One acquaintance keeps such a system with medium-sized envelopes with the date's occasion(s). Envelopes for each date to be remembered in any given month are filed chronologically behind one of the twelve monthly dividers.

used to use in attorney's office
by: Deborah

I set one of these up for an attorney I worked for several years ago because he was always running around looking for files in the morning for court and when clients came in for appt's. He loved it.

I didn't even know I knew
by: Savage

I had no clue what tickler system was until I read this, but what's crazy is I used this I thought I made my own thing up at work. I used it for past paper work saving 3 months to get rid of papers we didn't need anymore but needed to keep reference for back up just incase. I Had weekly sections 5 weeks, I had the months. And those clips you group paper with.

by: Anonymous

Hilda, I do use a binder and it works perfectly! I have month tabs and then the numbered 1-30. I also toss in some page protectors for things that I don't want to punch holes in. Then they get tossed into the page protector and put in the correct slot. Best of all is that it takes up minimal room and is easy to tuck away if I ever need to tidy that area up! :)

by: Gma Betty

I have used various types of filing systems throughout my 74 years of living. I am now retired and still filing papers. A tickler file doesn't seem to handle my sporadic needs. Banking, filing, papers needed for doc appts, all seem to land on my metal front door under magnets. I DO have to remember to retrieve things though. This method is working for me, but it is possible to forget something. Any suggestions ?

response to Gma Betty
by: Taylor

A tickler file is not a substitute for a regular filing system, it is just another tool in the paper organization tool belt. It sounds to me like you need to focus on organizing your actual home filing system, and you can check out the Organize Files Challenge here for more details on this task. Hope that helps!

by: Myrna T

The tickler file is the greatest creation ever. I buy tickets for a July 4th baseball game for a dozen folks and never know where to put them until July. I have play tickets for 2020, and contract for a trip next Feb. The tickler file is perfect, much better than adding more folders to my regular file cabinet. I use a nice rectangular basket, and keep a calendar and a few blank pages in the basket. Thank you.

by: Cheryl

I use my planner. I add what needs done, on the date in the planner. add tickets etc with a binder clip and this works well for me.

Well done
by: Anonymous

This is so helpful to get schedule-able items under control.

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