The other day I was walking through an office supply store and came across some super-cute file folders by See Jane Work. I just had to get them. And I have to admit, this impulse buy has happened to me before. I love pretty office supplies!
I’ve picked up stylish file folders here and there over the years, but I have a problem: I never want to write on the tab or affix a label!
Maybe it’s a fear of commitment, but I like having the option of changing what I am going to use them for without having to continually buy more once the tab is ruined.
And then it happened. One day I thought of a way I could make every cute file folder I have re-usable. And the solution is SO simple!
Packing tape. Yep. That’s it! All you do is put a piece of heavy duty, clear packing tape over the tab, and instantly you have a perfect surface for writing and rewriting. I have been doing this for a long time and it works wonderfully.
Start with a cute file folder.
I am a huge fan of frugality, but sometimes the saying, “You get what you pay for” is very true. One thing I do not skimp on is packing tape. I have used cheap-o packing tape in the past, and it is for the birds. I only buy the heavy duty 3M Scotch variety. The link is for my Amazon affiliate. I’m not affiliated with 3M Scotch ~ I just love this tape!
Next, cover the tab with a piece of tape.
Fold the tape over the top of the tab so it sticks to the back of the folder and itself. This will prevent sticky edges that might catch on paper.
Next, just snip the tape away from the tab.
This heavy duty packing tape creates a perfect surface for wet erase markers. I don’t use dry erase markers because they will smudge. Wet erase markers will not smudge if you use a good brand. I LOVE the Staedtler fine and super-fine tip non-permanent markers. I think their original purpose was intended for overhead projectors, but they are amazing for this purpose, too. These are the same wet erase markers I use to make my Home Management Binder printables reusable.
One file I change the label on is my annual tax file.
When you want to change the label, simply wipe away the ink with a damp paper towel.
And there you have it! Now you can easily make any file folder have an erasable label.
Do you like this tip? I’d love for you to share it and pin it! xoxoxo
Judy M says
I love the idea! What a wonderful savings. Thank you. Great, great, great!
Thanks, Judy. Glad you like it. 🙂
Cathy King says
This is the best tip ever!! I’m the same and can’t stand to “ruin” a folder by writing on the tab or sticking a label on it!!
I pinned it so everyone else can see it. Thanks a million……off to tape some files!!
Thanks, Cathy! I appreciate the pin, too. I’m glad you found it helpful. 🙂
Tracey Whitney says
You never fail to impress or wow me! Thank you for all the great ideas and always sharing them!
Aww, thank you, Tracey! You are so sweet. I’m glad you found it helpful. 🙂
Great idea! I always feel bad crossing out the words on a nicer designer manila folder. I need to remember this for next time. I will definately share.
Becky - Clean Mama says
This is a GREAT tip Ginny!
I too have fallen prey to this. And I agree it is all in the
quality of the supplies that are used. 🙂
I love this! I have an addiction to pretty file folders, an I dislike the permanence of labels.
YAY!!! Now I won’t feel bad buying nice folders for ME! (I work from home so have to buy tons of the ugly plain folder and normally have to use them for everything). Thanks!
This. Is. Genius!!!
Thanks, Anna. <3
You are a smartie pants! Pinning!
Haha! Thanks, Leanne. 🙂
Fantastic idea. I’m going to “expand” the label and use it for plastic storage containers. I think it might work.
It does, CJ! Thanks for sharing. I didn’t mention it in the post, but there are so many things that can be labeled this way. 🙂
Steen Hansen says
Told one of my good friends about it and he said the same and started talking about it bring applied to box files and binders as well. Quite some savings.
Continue with the good work.
Glad to hear you liked the tip, Steen. I appreciate you sharing that because, yes, there are SO many ways to use this idea!
Kris Lee says
I have been doing this sort of thing for years, but haven’t used it on file folders, genius. I use it mainly on my file boxes at work. But I also use those same cardboard file drawers, in legal size, for all my storage stuff; i.e. Christmas, Halloween, Kids stuff and etc. I love them because you can stack them up, and still access what is inside w/out having to unstack boxes. All the drawers are labeled as to what is inside and the packing tape is the perfect thing because I can change the label as needed. I also use packing tape on the inside of my wood cabinets that I tape papers up on. Just a quick strip across the top (or wherever you need it) and then tape your papers, artwork, recipes and etc on the packing tape w/out damaging the wood, paint or whatever the material is. Thanks for the extra tip.
another fantastic idea!
Thanks, Kristin! xoxox
Organize 365 says
Thanks, Lisa. <3
Rachel Brooks says
Thank you – will look for those pens next trip to Staples. I use the dry erase on many things like that, but they do smudge or get totally wiped off.
I love your website. I like things to have their proper places and enjoy your ideas. They are awesome. Thanks a bunch
Okay, ignore my other email questions regarding pens, I found it – searched for ‘pens’ of course! I love this tip, I too have always been hesitant to waste perfectly cute file folders. I will definitely be using this tip. Thank you.
This is BRILLIANT!!!! Thank you for sharing!
Marina St. Cyr says
I’m somewhat of a neat label freak. I like them computer printed in specific font and layout. I’m super curious to try and see if the clear packing tape will allow for easy on/off removal of a regular file folder label when it needs to change! A great tip for TEMPORARY labels that you know you won’t be keeping long and don’t want to damage your nice, unbent file folders is to use the a regular memo pad stick note. place the sticky side on the file folder tab and trim off the rest. This is the only time I “write” my file folder labels even though I have great penmanship. Its my own quirk. I can’t tell you how blessed I am to have found your blog and website. I am going to spend my next several days combing through it since I’ll be in the car no less than 22 hours over the next week on family vacation trips and I have built in internet on my laptop and iPad YEAH!
Ginny G says
Thanks, Melissa. 🙂
Courtney Jackson says
That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing.
Norma Jean says
Brilliant! And so simple.
I have problems with the wet erase markers sometimes. Sometimes they don’t write very well and othertimes I smudge them when they are dry somehow. So, I have started using permanent markers and the writing removes easily when rubbed with a pencil eraser.
Jo-Anne Jackson says
I wonder if it would work just as well if the folders were completely laminated? I would want my cute folders to last and last…so I’m curious if the marker would write and erase as well on lamination as it does on the 3M packing tape? Hmmmmmm???
I just found your blog via IHeartOrganizing – back to school printable bundles. Thank you SO MUCH for this idea. I have a lot of folders that need to be labeled, for short term projects. I’ve been using sticky notes (cutting off the non-sticky part so they don’t flip up and catch on the papers) to temporarily label my folders. I always have packing tape on hand and I’m going to pick up some of the pens.
I know I’m years late to the party, but thanks for the wet-erase vs. dry erase tip. I found wonderful “binder clip tabs” yesterday at Office Depot.
They’ll temporarily hold papers together in a mail/work station on my kitchen table. They’re a bit spendy and I want to re-use them. (Clip-rite Binder Tabs, 8 per package in 8 colors.)
They’re a small, silver metal binder clip inserted into a colored tab (piece of cardboard). For color addicts (me) it makes boring paper work more fun.
So for example, I just put 3 claim responses from our health insurance company (ugh) in a clip, and marked it “Ins/Call 12/21+” I want to call them around the 21st.
I don’t need a file folder since I have insurance folders. I need this in front of my face to clarify and take my next step, like to call the doctor’s office, etc.
Once I’ve taken my next step the papers will go into “Insurance Sent” or another insurance folder.
I LOVE THIS IDEA! I have the same problem with committing to “ruin” my cute un-reusable stuff. I have been toying with the idea of making wet-erase flash cards from spiral bound 3×5 cards using packing tape. I have never used wet-erase markers BUT NOW I’m gonna go for it! Also I really need to second your comment about packing tape. Having moved 11 times in 13 1/2 yrs of marriage (No we are NOT in the military!) Premium Heavy Duty Packing Tape is THE. ONLY. WAY. TO. GO.
Thanks so much! 🙂