How to Use a Tickler File to Organize Mail and Paperwork January 31, 2011 by Jodi Granok - Organizing Magic, LLC
are many ways to keep track of mail and other important paperwork. No
one system is right for all, but many have found a tickler file system
to be useful. Here is how a tickler file system works:
A tickler file (pictured left) can be used laying flat and stacked horizontally with paperwork, or it can be placed inside a box, turned sideways, with papers inserted into it vertically, as pictured on the right.
Either way, the file begins with the numbers 1-31 followed by tabs for each month of the year.
The numbers section represents the current month.
say today is February 1st. You open your mail and have a credit card
bill that is due on February 25th. Since you prefer to pay a week
early, you want to handle this bill on February 18th. Take the payment
slip and envelope and file it under the number 18.
You have a
flyer with details about your son's soccer team pizza party on February
5th. Write the date and time in your calendar, and file the flyer under
the number 5 because it has the directions on it.
Now, you open
a wedding invitation for the month of April. You need to reply by
March 14th, but right now you aren't sure if you can attend. File the
invitation and response card under the March tab.
2nd, in the morning (or the evening of February 1st if you prefer to
plan ahead), check the number 2 to see what actions need to be taken
care of that day (if any).
On the last couple days of February,
go to the March tab and pull out all of the items filed there. If you
are still not ready to act on these items, refile them in the numbers
section (because the current month is about to be March). For example,
you either reply to that wedding invitation now, or refile it under the
number 10 so that it is received by March 14th.
Using a tickler
file is one way to get your paper clutter off of your tabletops and
counters and organized in a way that is mostly out of sight, but never
out of mind. Just make sure to check your tickler file each day!