Organizing Receipts

I’m still here plugging away at my organizing tasks, one small step at a time. This week I decided to tackle a long-time nemesis, receipt clutter, and found a delightfully simple solution.

For my own simple purposes, I have three categories of receipts:

  1. Business receipts
  2. Big-ticket purchase rceipts
  3. Everything else

I have good systems in place for the first two categories:

  • Business receipts go straight to the tax folder or, in the case of reimbursable client purchases, into the client folder to await the next invoice. Easy-peasy.
  • Big-ticket purchase receipts get taped to the instruction manual or a large sheet of paper and placed in a folder labeled, oddly enough, “big ticket items”. (I never said I was particularly creative.)

messy pile of receiptsThose work well for me, month in and month out.

For that third category, Everything Else, I’ve played with different methods but hadn’t found a really sustainable solution. Whether I used a file folder, an envelope, a plastic bin, or whatever, I still ended up with receipts tucked in every nook and cranny of my desk and purse. Receipts both old and new were all intermixed in these little tucked away bunches. Messy and disorganized, not to mention totally unnecessary.

Most of my Everything Else receipts are for necessary consumables: groceries, gas, etc. Once I’ve verified they appeared correctly on my credit card statement, there’s really no need to keep them. What I really needed was a simple, short-term storage method, and I think I found it in an post on Homestead Revival. (Who said Pinterest was a waste of time?)

It is with great pleasure I give you my version of Amy’s desktop storage solution:

receipts in a jar

This was my grandfather’s tobacco jar. I remember watching with fascination as he went through his ritual of filling, tamping, lighting and then savoring his nightly puff. He seemed to spend much more time preparing than he did puffing. :)

I’ve had this jar for 25 years, using it to store a variety of household items. Now, it sits on my desk to hold my current month receipts. Each night, I take any receipts from my purse, and if they’re not business or big-ticket receipts, I put them straight into the jar. At the end of the month, they’ll get moved to an envelope in my desk drawer until the next month’s receipts get transferred, and then the oldest will be thrown away. No keeping them for a year (or longer)

Besides having a neater purse, I’ve found another simple pleasure in this method. I love having my grandfather’s jar on my desk! I rarely saw it when it was used for other storage, but now I see it several times a day and use it at least once. The little clink I hear when I replace the top on the jar takes me back to those long ago days of my grandfather’s nightly ritual. And that makes me happy.

Workable and practical storage solutions don’t have to be complicated. This one is certainly simple, and I’m hopeful that it continues to be both effective and enjoyable.

How do you store/organize your receipts?

2 thoughts on “Organizing Receipts

  1. I don’t!! I keep them crumpled in the bottom of my purse until they eventually disappear.
    I need to do this this year. I’m hoping to finally make enough money to write something off!!

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