There is something called a “43 folder system” that categorizes things by month and date but that seems to be more useful in an office setting.
The active tickler filer is a collection point and action point for paperwork and to do’s. When mail or other paperwork comes into the house this is step 1 for paper and step 2, once it is acted upon and ready for filing, is an archive filing cabinet, where it will wait for tax time, for your year-end paper clean out or live in there for future use.
You can use either a basic table top filer or can get crafty with a basket or cute bin, whatever works for your style and is fun to use!
From there get some files that can be labeled. RTB likes categories that are more specific, interactive and active than just months and days of the week like the 43 folder system uses. Make a separate category for all paper that comes into your home. Now some of you may think you’ll need a whole cabinet for that but certain things are linked. Something like a recipe card that you are wanting to fill out for someone and a contact card of someone you are supposed to connect with would actually end up in the same category of “requires action” J
RTB suggests the following labels: Unopened Mail, Schedules and Upcoming Events, Bills to Pay, Gift Cards and Coupons, Requires Action, To File, To Read, Take-Out Menus, School Stuff, a file for each person in the family, etc.
If you are a visual person you can make the “requires action” a fun looking cork board that gets the most urgent things pinned on it. Even the night before it can become a habit to pull out whatever three things you want to get done the next day.
The final keys to the active tickler files success is 1) put in in a high traffic area of your home, usually this is in the kitchen or in the “Command Center” as outlined in RTB’s last blog post and 2) make sure everyone in the family is familiar with the active tickler file and knows how to use it.