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Saving your receipts is always a good idea – especially when it comes to bills, warranties, and major purchases. And let us not forget about tax season! There are many situations where a single receipt or proof of purchase can save you.
But sometimes it is hard to keep track of everything. You know you saved up all your receipts but when you need a specific receipt, it’s hard to find. It’s as if you are just gathering paper clutter.
We get it if you can find this frustrating.
To avoid all the stress and to save you some time, consider handling the situation as soon as possible. Take the time to sit down, go over your collection of receipts, then declutter and organize them.
Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry – we got you covered.
Read on to know how you should declutter your receipts and the numerous ways that you can organize them!
How to Declutter Receipts
This is a very simple principle to organizing… declutter first before you organize. And this applies to receipts as well.
Remember, keeping receipts is a good idea but you do not have to keep and file away every receipt you get. Here are some steps to help you start decluttering your receipts.
Separate old receipts from the current receipts.
One of the first things you should do when decluttering your receipts is to distinguish which ones are old and which ones are current. Get all those piled-up receipts you have received over the years and separate them.
The old ones are those that you are no longer getting like perhaps receipts from an old Internet provider or from an old apartment. The current ones are receipts that you will most likely still continue to deal with like receipts from your monthly bills.
Decide on what to keep and what to purge.
Now that you have a pile of old receipts, do not immediately throw them away. Some of them may be useful and worth keeping.
To make this decision easier, try to organize these receipts by year. Organizing them by year makes it easier to decide which receipts still matter and which don’t.
Take note of appliances and other purchases that come with warranties lasting for more than a year. You might need their receipts as proof of purchase if ever you need to have them fixed or returned.
Of course, you should also hold on to receipts that you would need for your taxes. To make things easier, keep these receipts along with your tax documents.
As a general rule, important receipts like tax returns, loan filings, and account statements should be kept. As for credit card statements, bank statements, medical bills, or other generic bills, you can keep them for a year or two.
How to Organize Receipts
Below are some amazing ways that you can try out to organize your receipts so you can easily store and retrieve them. Remember to choose a system that works best for you – something that you can easily adapt into your routine so that you can organize your receipts regularly.
Keep receipts in a binder.
Currently, this is how I organize our receipts. It’s fast and easy. No fuss at all!
Binders have different slots and dividers, which makes it easy for you to organize your receipts in categories. It is great if you prefer keeping paper copies of the receipts. When you need something, you can easily flip back and forth to different sections of the binder.
If you don’t have time to categorize yet, you may simply insert the receipts in a slot. Then go back to it when you already have the time.
Keep receipts in file folders.
Here’s another simple way of organizing receipts. It’s also inexpensive since file folders are incredibly cheap and easy to use.
You can choose to file your receipts to their respective categories right away or if you are in a rush all the time, drop everything in the first folder and then organize them when you have the time to sit down and file them.
Of course, you have to make sure that your labels are clear and easy to read so that you can file your receipts quickly and it won’t take time for you to look for the category you need.
Actually, this is my ideal way to organize receipts. I find this to be more organized than the first one. I have a vision of all our receipts organized well in folders, by category.
Unfortunately, I just really don’t have much time to do this for now. So, I’m sticking with my binder.
Use an accordion file organizer.
If you want a receipt organization system that is portable so you can just grab and go any time, you can do your receipt organizing in an accordion file organizer.
It comes in different sizes so you can keep all types of receipts.
The small ones are particularly great for keeping the receipts you accumulated while you are on a business trip. It allows you to carry along a temporary receipt organization system no matter where you are.
Organize receipts in a filing box.
Like the idea of file folders but you can’t afford a filing cabinet, or you do not have the space for one? You should check out this DIY filing box that you can use to organize all your receipts.
This filing box gives you a lot of space so you can also file your important documents in it. You’ll have all your important papers in one place. And then, the fact that it is in a plastic bin means they are protected from dust and the elements.
File by product category.
If you are fond of saving the receipts of the items that you purchase, you can organize them by product category like this one.
There is a category for gadgets, electronics, appliances, and other stuff at home. That way, if you need the receipt for a warranty service, you can easily retrieve it. It looks great and keeps everything together in one place!
Arrange by year.
We mentioned this technique earlier for decluttering receipts. It is also a great technique when it comes to arranging your receipts. Especially when it comes to long-term expenses like rent, utility bills and major purchases for warranties.
Now you can easily track down what you need!
If you want to get rid of paper clutter, you can go digital.
Scan your receipts or take pictures of them on your phone. Then upload them on the computer. It may seem time-consuming at first, but it will make it easier for you to find them later. Plus, you do not have to worry if you throw a receipt away by accident.
The digital organization method needs some discipline. You have to always make sure you back up your digital copies in a separate hard drive just in case. Also, you may need to scan your receipts and upload them right away before you lose any of the paper or digital copies.
You do not need to buy an actual scanner for this one, although most home office printers already have one. There are also free scanning apps these days so you can just use your phone. Once you get a receipt, you can immediately make a digital copy.
Of course, it is still best to keep the original copies of very important receipts just in case.
Use a software.
Make life easier by not only going digital but also by using software specifically made for organizing receipts. This software allows you to upload, record, and keep track of your receipts. It can also give you reminders to pay your bills.
If business owners and offices can use this software to manage their offices, you can easily use one to manage the finances in your home too. Get a simple software for receipt management and accounting.
Go through your receipts regularly.
It helps to take the time to go through your receipts regularly whether it is weekly or monthly. Doing this regularly will make it easier for you to turn organizing receipts into a habit.
And if receipt organization becomes a habit, the receipts will not pile up. Throw out receipts that you do not really need to keep. Then file the ones that you need to hold on to.
When you declutter regularly, you will no longer have to worry about a growing pile of receipts.
There is right or wrong way to organize receipts.
As you can see, there are many techniques that you can use when organizing your receipts. Pick the system that’s most comfortable for you. You may need to experiment with the different methods to see which one suits you best.
With all your receipts decluttered and organized, the next tax season will be a stress-free one for you and your family. Not only that, but by making this a habit, you get to stay on top of your expenses as well!
Need more organizing tips? Check these out!
- How to File & Organize Paid Bills for Easy Reference
- Organizing Bills: Simple Systems to Pay On Time
- Coupon Storage: How to Organize Coupons
- or simple visit our Organize Your Home page for every organization tip we have!