{Crash Test Update} Family Paperwork: Creating a “Tickler File”

This crash test started with my disgraceful filing (or non-filing) here and a challenge that I issued myself last week here.  Today I’m meant to come back and wow you with the results of my reformed paperwork skills.  Well, umm, not going to happen sorry.  As per usual, I bit off more than I could chew!  However, I thought I’d give you a quick update, because I have actually achieved something.

Step one was meant to be de-cluttering.  Not sexy enough for me!  This stationery geek turned her back on the mess, skipped to step two and raced down to the nearest Officeworks.  Because I was in such a rush and giddy state of stationery euphoria, I nearly took out Shane Warne with my trolley.  Why Warnie was in Officeworks on Father’s Day beats me.  Seriously Liz . . . Hugh Grant vs Shane Warne?  Hmmmmm.

Ok, I digress.  I came home lugging lots more of the cool $5 fabric bound expansion folders I talked about in the Crash Challenge.  These will be the mainstay of my regularly accessed archival system.  I don’t have any ready to show you yet because there was an incident with my label maker.  Apparently it’s far more fun to take it apart and unwind all the label tape from the spool than use it for something useful.  Let’s just say that CrashBoy is in dishes duty debt before he is even old enough to do them.  I’ll get back to you with a photo of all my lovely organised folders when I’ve done them.  This could take a while as I need to go back to Officeworks and buy more label stuff.  CrashHubby says I’ve almost exceeded my stationery budget for the year . . .

One thing that is almost finished is my ‘Tickler File’.  I had read about these before and decided to look into it.

What is a “Tickler File”?

The “tickler file” is a system which helps you file things that you need to action at a later date.  It is a physical file that acts as storage and also as a reminder system, so you don’t need to schedule electronic reminders as well.  It’s called a “tickler” because it tickles your memory or reminds you.  Stupid name if you ask me, but the idea is ingenious.  The file is made up of 43 folders – 32 days and 12 months.  When you have something that you need to action you just put it in the corresponding day folder for this month, or if further into the future, the month folder.  After each day you move the ‘day’ folder in the next month.  At the beginning of each month you can file the month folder’s contents into the day it needs to be actioned.  If you’re not following me (and I don’t blame you!) here’s some more info on this system.

Tickler File

Tickler File

What can I use the “Tickler File” for?

Think of all the paperwork that comes into your house:

  • bills
  • Kinder and school forms
  • invitations or tickets to events and parties
  • coupons and vouchers with expiry dates
  • receipts that need to be submitted for reimbursement
  • claim stubs for dry cleaning

On top of that there are ‘things to do’, birthdays to remember, house maintenance to schedule, the list goes on.  I bought some index cards which can be used to write reminders on and popped into the relevant folder.  I also plan to write birthdays on the front of each month folder.

So, what do you think.  Does this filing and reminder system tickle your fancy?


PS I promise I’ll be back with photos of the rest of my filing to prove I’ve done it!

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  1. Great work Laney – can’t wait for the photos (those supplies can be very tempting LOL).  I know of tickler files but have never used one myself – yours looks great.

  2. Clever idea Crash Test Mummy!!  I just have a file pile on  my desk atm!!

    • Crash Test Mummy says:

      Caz, I can’t even see my desk. I moved the computer to the dining table! Problem solved for now. Really need to get to that decluttering . . .

  3. I got inspired last week and have tidied up my lever arch files. I like the tickler file Idea though.

    • Crash Test Mummy says:

      Well done you! I bet you feel much better, unlike me who still has to tackle the paper pile! Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how the tickler file is working for me.

  4. My tickler file would need to come with a good sense of humour!

  5. What a sensational idea. The tickler file is something I will try to implement. Like dieting I suppose. Will I stick with it?

    • Crash Test Mummy says:

      I wondered too if I could stick with it. Sometimes I don’t check it every day, but it is actually working really well for me. I can highly recommend it if you have a lot of papers and bits and pieces you need to file for later action.


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