Maybe it is just by virtue of necessity, but I find it much easier to organize my day-to-day schedule than I do one-time events that occur throughout the year. I needed a place to put event tickets without carrying them with me in my daily planner and needed a way to organize birthday and anniversary cards as I stocked up long before the actual celebration. In addition, infrequent renewals needed to be recorded somewhere. This folder organizational system was born out of those needs. You, too, can have a simple system for organizing monthly and annual events and reminders that is fun to make and easy to use!
Making the Folders
Start with 12 manila folders. Label each folder on the tab with a month of the year. To add pizzazz to the folders, attach a 12” X 12” scrapbook paper to the front outside of each folder and trim so it matches the folder’s shape. Choose paper that reminds you of something during that month whether it be a holiday from that month, the typical weather, or a celebration unique to your family (for example, we have lots of June birthdays in our family so my June folder has birthday-themed paper), etc.
On the inside of each folder, attach a printable calendar for that month. Since you will use this folder system for more than one year, just remove the year from the title before printing. It does not matter what day of the week corresponds to each date. On the other inside panel of the folder, attach a printable sheet that you create with specific things you want to keep track of for each month. Mine has three sections—Notes to Remember, To Dos, and Journaling.
Put all of your completed folders in a magazine holder and place it on your desk. It’s pretty enough that you can leave it out and be festive all year long!
Using the Folders
Once you have your 12 folders, you can add some items to them right away and add others as you go throughout the year. For example, I pre-record birthdays for all months on the calendar section by writing the person’s name in the box for their birth date. Then I just have to record new birthdays as I meet new friends or as babies are born. If I already have a stock-pile of birthday cards that I have designated for certain recipients, I slide those into the correct month’s folder corresponding to that person’s birthday. All I have to do is look in the folder at the beginning of the month, pull out and write the cards and get them sent off. As I re-stock my cards, I place the cards immediately into the folders when I purchase them.
In addition to birthdays, I also use the folder system to house event tickets. If you purchase tickets to an event that is months away but still print them out right away or get them in the mail early on, you can easily keep them in the middle of the event month’s folder. This is also a great spot to keep magazine and newspaper clippings about activity ideas to do for specific holidays.
Finally, I use my folders to organize happenings that don’t occur regularly. For example, I know my car insurance always comes up for renewal in February so I keep a record in the notes section of that and a reminder to pay it in the “To Do” section. Any annual (or even more infrequent) expenses, renewals and expirations are easy to keep track of here- car registration, driver’s license or professional license renewal dates, airline mile expiration dates, etc. These can be recorded in the notes or task list sections on the inside of the folder. The journal section is a place to remember those special moments that occur once-in-a-lifetime but are worth remembering year after year such as dedications and baptisms.
I hope you can enjoy a little “craft” project on a chilly day this month and trust it will help you stay organized throughout the years to come! This folder system works well as a personalized gift for your organizationally-minded friends, too.