Problem Solver: Erasable File Folders

Maintaining filing systems can eat up a good portion of your budget.  You need more folders, more tabs, more tab inserts, more interior folders, more labels for the interior folders etc.  Everyone has their own preferences for how they like their filing system set up - I know I do.  Are you a tabber or a labeler?  How do you recycle your file folders?

Buying more of the hanging folder tabs and the inserts to go with them can add up if you have a large or very active filing system.  Likewise, file folder labels can be expensive - they can run between $5 and $35 depending on what kind and what size package you choose.  You can avoid those expenses with erasable file folders - they are available in both hanging file folders and interior folders and they can really save time and money.  The tabs are attached to the hanging folders, so no need to purchase those packs of plastic tabs or the inserts to go in them.  No fiddling around with inserting them into the correct slot.  Whether it's a hanging folder or an interior folder, you write directly on the tab and when you need to repurpose the folder, just erase and reuse.

Smead and Pendaflex are the two major players that everyone knows in the filing supplies arena and both have their versions of these products.  Pendaflex has a product called Ready-Tab, which comes with built-in plastic tabs that you can write on, but they're not erasable, so they only accomplish half of the objective and I don't like them because the tabs are hard to pull out.  Smead's product is called Erasable FasTab.  The reinforced tab is attached, with no need to pull it out.  You write on it with a permanent marker and erase it with a standard white eraser.  And if you want erasable, but don't want to buy all new folders, Smead sells erasable hanging file folder tabs so you can turn your existing folders into erasable folders and then when you need additional folders you can buy the erasable ones and have a completely erasable system!

For interior folders, Pendaflex has erasable folders that you can write on with a ballpoint pen and erase with a pencil eraser.  They come in an assorted colors pack, 30 folders per pack, standard 11 point paper stock.  Smead gives you two options - their Super Tab folders and their FlexiFolder.  Super Tab folders have a much larger tab, allowing you more space to write.  The tab is in a fixed position. They come in assorted color packs or plain manila, 24 folders per pack, standard weight. FlexiFolders have movable erasable tabs. They come 12 per pack, in either assorted colors or manila and are on heavyweight 14 point stock. Both Smead versions are written on with permanent marker and erased with a standard white eraser.  I must admit that I was skeptical about the whole "write on it with permanent marker and erase with a standard eraser" thing (I would think that you should use a dry-erase marker) but I've been testing the FlexiFolder for months now and it really works.  I wrote on them in black Sharpie when I first got them and I have erased them periodically.  I wrote on one FlexiFolder at the beginning of the year and just now erased it. It erased clean, with no ghosting at all.  

Erasable folders are a great way to save money and be earth-friendly at the same time.  Give them a try - I think you'll like them.