What is a tickler file?

posted by Aby Garvey 7 Comments

organized paper tickler file

Have you heard about using a tickler file to organize your paperwork and thought “what is a tickler file?” If so, you’re in the right spot! In this post, originally written during tax season, I share what a tickler file is and why it could be a terrific system for you. 

Tickle Yourself Organized

With tax season just around the corner, any shortcomings in your paper management system may really be rearing their ugly little heads. The good news is this: when you create an effective paper management system, it takes the stress out of finding your important papers, not only during tax season, but all year long. In the spirit of effective paper management, this month’s storage solution will help you stay on top of your important, actionable papers.

What it is: the tickler file is a simple filing system made up of 43 folders—one folder for each day of the month (numbered 1 through 31), plus one folder for each month of the year, each labeled—you guessed it—with the name of one month.

How it works: a tickler file allows you to gain control over paper that you want or need to take action on at a date in the future, but not today. So, if you’re going out of town on the 15th of the month, you can file your travel itinerary, directions and confirmation numbers in the folder labeled 15. If your child’s birthday is in November, throughout the year you can collect birthday party ideas and file them in the October folder—giving you plenty of time to plan the big event in November. The best part of all, by having a spot for these future actions, you no longer need to let them pile up on the counter in hopes they remind you to take action! You simply check your tickler file each day, and your actionable papers are right there waiting for you.

Where to get one: You can make your own tickler file using plain manila file folders or decorated file folders and a labeler. Or, you can simplify things a bit and purchase a pre-made tickler file.

Who knew forty-three simple folders could make life so much easier? (And now you know what a tickler file is. ;) )

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  • February 23, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Love this tickler system. Where did you get the round # tabs