All receipts are not created equal—know what to keep and what to toss.
Receipts—everyone has them, but nobody wants them. As with most things organizing-related, most of us are never really taught what to do with those pesky slips of paper. That means that some of us keep too many—and others don’t keep enough. Here are a few ideas for how to deal with receipts:
Don’t take them. At almost every purchase we make, we’re offered a receipt, even when it’s completely unneeded. Unless you’re expensing or deducting a purchase and need the receipt for documentation or record keeping, don’t take it.
Recycle or discard. So you’ve brought a pocketful of receipts home. Where do they go? Usually they get stuffed in a bag, box, or drawer and are never seen again. Instead of cramming them away, look at your receipts as soon as you get back to your office or home. Is it for a tax deduction? Keep it. Do you need it for a work expense? Keep it. But do you really need those old grocery receipts and movie stubs? Probably not. Be ruthless when going through your receipts. Shred them or send them to the recycling bin.
What to keep—and how. Of course, there are certain receipts that are worth keeping. Typically, this list includes things you’re planning on returning, items that have warranties, artwork, and other things for which you want the cost documented for insurance purposes. One way to store these receipts is in an expandable wallet file, which can be separated by vendor, date of purchase, or category. This method is really easy and very quick. You can also scan receipts, using a tool like Neat Receipts or a service like Pixily. Once the receipts are safely stored on your computer, you can then usually recycle or shred the actual paper receipt.