My desk will stay clean! I am tired of piles of papers everywhere! In the upper left corner of my desk is the pile that I will get to eventually. The bottom left pile has papers I need to deal with now. Papers on the right corner are there because I need to look at them from time to time. Papers on the counter behind me need to be handed out to students. Do these piles sound familiar to you? I spend so much time looking through the piles for that one form. I do that over and over.

I am through wasting my time and getting frustrated with my desk mess!

I scoured Pinterest for organization ideas. Oh how did I function before Pinterest?! I found WHY & HOW TO MAKE A TICKLER FILE  It’s a file system to help remind you of things you need to do. Let me show you how I am using it at work and at home.

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In my closest file draw at my desk, I have 12 files (the red, yellow, blue ones) labeled with January, February, March, April, etc. and 31 manila files labeled 1, 2, 3, 4…31. These 31 files represent each day of the month. That’s it!


I file EVERY SINGLE PAPER on my desk in this system. I either file or trash papers that do not fit in this system. As you can see in the picture, the day I took the photo was July 20. I checked the #20 file, completed the required tasks and moved the #20 file folder to the back. I’m done with that file for the month. It’s empty. If I had a paper/task/form in the #20 file that I could not complete, but would be able to tomorrow, I would put the paper in #21 file.

When I have papers that I do not need to address until mid August, I put the paper in the August folder. When August 1 arrives, I will sort all papers in the August file into the #1-#31 files.

Sooooo easy! It takes just seconds to pull out the day’s file to start tackling the day’s work. I love the feeling of accomplishment and MY DESK IS CLEAN! If I’m working on a task, but do not finish, it goes in tomorrow’s file. Desk clean!

Because the Tickler File has been successful for me the past 3 months at school, I wanted to try a similar system at home. I hated how the mail seemed to just grow and grow. My husband and I would throw the mail on the counter of the antique hutch. The counter quickly filled up. So the mail started to collect on the closest counter. When that spot filled up, we moved to the counter where we prep food. I hated having to move the papers and mail in order to prepare dinner! Did we clean up our piles? NO! We moved it to the dining room table! Grrrr!

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I adjusted the Tickler File to fit our needs at home. I had a file for each month of the year but did not think we needed a file for each day of the month. So I used 2 files: one for days 1-15 and one for 16-31. This is working for us!


I also added some extra files. I determined these extra files by what papers still needed a home when I went through all our mail. These extra files are:

  • To File-anything that needs to go in our file cabinet (there are Pinterest ideas for organizing your home filing system…did it…am thrilled!) such as investments, insurance forms, car repair receipts, etc.
  • Mail Supplies-stamps, a few envelopes, return address labels
  • Entertainment-we get flyers for the season’s productions for a couple of community theatres. We want to keep those handy.
  • Coupons (this file is hiding in the picture)-we are not serious coupon users. When we get coupons in the mail, they used to hang on the fridge or sit on the counter. Now they go into this file. Honestly, they usually stay in this file until they are out of date…sigh…. I admire folks who are good coupon shoppers.

My counters have been MAIL FREE for over a month now! That is a miracle!

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These files at home are organized in a FOLD N’ FILE from THIRTY-ONE. One FOLD N’ FILE has my Tickler File. The other FOLD N’ FILE holds sunglasses, cameras, etc. Notice the clean counter!


I love being organized with systems that are easy to maintain, effective, and save me time!

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