Wednesday, January 11, 2012

52 Weeks of Organizing: Tickler File

I can't believe it's been a week since my last post. I'm eleven days into this whole "blogging" thing and I already went MIA. Oops. Anyway -- in my last post, I talked about how I went with Organize Junkie's "52 Weeks of Organizing" and changed it to "52 Weeks of Finishing" to help us finish our house. Over the past week and a half, we have been working on the kids' toy room (more on that tomorrow!). There are a lot of projects that are "hubby" projects and a lot of projects that I just can't do on my own, which results in a lot of time not spent finishing. What's second best to finishing something? Organizing something! Therefore, I decided to do both the 52 Weeks of Finishing and the 52 Weeks of Organizing. This week, I concentrated on organizing my monthly tickler file. A monthly tickler file is simply a way of dividing your tasks into the twelve months of the year.

To set up a monthly tickler file, you'll need:

  • File Box (I found mine at WalMart - $5)
  • 12 Hanging File Folders (Again, WalMart: 25 folders for $9.88)
  • A calender for each month of the year (I printed mine from Creative Mama. )
  • Any other monthly planner sheets you'd like (I'll go over mine in just a moment!)

 I LOVE this file box and was so thrilled to see it for only $5! I had a hard time choosing between pink and purple, but I stuck with my go-to-color, pink. This box has a built-in "pencil box" on top. I haven't stored anything in there just yet, but it would be a great place for extra pens, paper/binder clips, etc. 

I dressed up my file box a little bit using my Silhouette Cameo and some white vinyl. I tend to be drawn to color and pretty's, so the cuter it is, the more likely I am to use it! 

Close up of vinyl decoration:

I then took 12 file folders, alternated their colors and labeled them the twelve months of the year. I used my label maker to do this, but your handwriting would serve the same purpose.

And there you have it! That is my monthly tickler file system. Next, I'll show you how I fill it! I currently have three sheets in each monthly folder: A calender, organizing checklist, and my own monthly planner worksheet.

I printed 12 calenders, one for each month. I printed my calenders from: Creative Mama, because I like all the detail. To some, it might be distracting, but again - the cuter it is, the more likely I am to use it! :) I will use this calender to write in any events, appointments, birthdays, reminders, etc. I love the "Notes" section and typically use it to write in reminders for the following month. Ex: On May's "Notes" section, I have "Lucy's First Birthday Party." Even though the event is in June, I will need to schedule time in May to work on details, such as invitations, hall rental, ordering cake, etc.

The next thing in my monthly folders is a monthly get organized checklist from Simplify101. She recently just did a recap of all her monthly get organized checklist, and the above link will lead you right to the post where you can print off all twelve months. I LOVE her checklists because it reminds you to do things you should  do -- set your goals for the month, check your monthly tickler folder, etc. Things that you have to do -- file your taxes, Spring Forward, etc. & things that you need to do -- check your carbon monoxide detector, change the batteries in your smoke detectors, etc.

The last paper necessity in my folder is a monthly checklist that I created myself. I take my master to do list and categorize it into bite size pieces. My catergories are: Shopping, SYC (a youth group that I sponsor), Financial, Appointments, Computer, House, Misc. To-Do's, along with any holiday or event that needs extra attention. This sheet requires a whole different blog post, since it holds a lot of detail. More on that tomorrow :)

So there you have it. My monthly tickler file box which holds 12 monthly file folders, each with a calender, get organized checklist and my own monthly planner in each one. At the beginning of each month, I will sit down and plan out my month. I take out my handy-dandy calender and make sure I have all appointments, events, etc. penciled in. Next, I look at my Get Organized Checklist and schedule those tasks throughout the month. Finally, I also look at my own monthly planner and schedule in those tasks as well. This way, nothing gets forgotten throughout the month and everything gets done!


Of course, my monthly folders house other things, as well. Here are some examples:
  • February -- Ideas I have printed off for Valentine's for my son to hand out at school & our Phineas & Ferb Live Tickets.
  • May -- a thank you card for my son's teacher for the end of the school year. (I actually bought this last year and forgot to give it to his teacher!) & a wedding "Save the Date"
  • June -- return address labels with my daughter's name on them to put on her birthday invitations. 
  • July -- Another wedding "Save the Date."
  • August -- an anniversary card to my son's GodParents (again, forgot to mail last year!)
  • September -- Information on cabins we are staying at during a trip to Iowa for a rodeo.
  • November -- an idea list of possible weekend getaways for me and the hubby to take on our anniversary.
  • December -- my Christmas checklist. Never too early to start budgeting or gift buying :)

Hope this helps you put together your very own Monthly Tickler File! I'll be back tomorrow with a post on how I do my monthly planner!



  1. I LOVE utilizing a tickler file!

    I also have 30 'daily' files that help me manage my client work flow. Once I schedule a consultation, I simply put their contact/assessment forms in the folder that corresponds to the day that their appointment falls on. I can also put reminders to myself in there several weeks in advance.

    Love your cheerful and bright color choice! :)


  2. I actually thought about adding the 30 daily files. I think I may start with 4 weekly files first and add my menu planning sheets and weekly to do lists, along with any papers or reminders corresponding with the week. I'm not sure I would have enough paperwork to file in a 30 day system. Thanks for the idea!