How to Deal with Another Clutter Zone - Receipts

Hi everyone!

What a boring subject this is! Receipts ~ Blah!!

Unfortunately they are something that has to be dealt with that can really turn into clutter very quickly.

Like most of you, I have tried every method possible to keep receipts under control and easily accessible when needed. And with the best of intentions I start out strong and then gradually slipped back into receipt chaos.

How to deal with the clutter of receipts. Simple, easy and thrifty method

The office supply junkie in me has spent way more money than I want to admit on the latest and greatest filing systems. All the awesome books that reach out to me and tell me This is it!

The problem is me. Not any of these systems. Just me. My passion isn't paperwork and keeping on top of it and organizing it all.  When I was in my 20's I worked in an office and was really super organized with all forms of paperwork including at my home. I'm not sure where that Diann went to but, she left for greener pastures years ago!

So, in my normal chaotic world, I have tried a lot of receipt organizing strategies.

Of course, the one that would make the most sense is to simply have and use a file cabinet.

A good standard method for dealing with receipts is a filing cabinet of some kind.

Well, that didn't work because I didn't realize that Troy had taken over the entire file cabinet with DTL Herb stuff. And unfortunately he used part of it as a file cabinet and the other part a catch all for stuff (you will notice I didn't  use the work junk). I then tried one of those expandable accordion style file systems. I have used one of these for years with pretty decent success. However, in recent years we out grew it because of all the business receipts and other things related to our business. I might have gotten away with using a couple of them but, I didn't try..

Next I thought, Okay lets keep it super easy and just throw every receipt into a box and then at the end of the year we deal with it regarding taxes. This actually work for a couple of years although 1 shoe box quickly tuned into several boxes.

Simply using a box to throw receipts in works and is super easy to do.

The biggest problem with this system was if I needed to find a receipt for something, it took hours trying to find it. And at the end of the year I would spend days sorting receipts for taxes. But, it did work at least.

Then I created a system that has actually been working for me. A miracle! It's  little bit more involved than throwing receipts in a box but, it is working for me.

This simple method for organizing my receipts has really worked for me and it is simple and thrifty.

I use a notebook bought for .10 cents during back to school sales, a pen, a stapler and highlighters bought at the dollar store.

So easy and simple to do. And you can find your receipts whenever you need to in very little time.

When I get a receipt I check to see if it has something I will need in the future for possible return item or taxes. If so, I highlight the items (I use a few different color highlighters for different things) then staple the receipt to a notebook page. I write the date of the purchase on the top of the page and then list the items highlighted and their price. I add up the different highlighted items in groups (medical expenses, business expenses etc.) and for taxes, this really saves time.

That's it. I don't go out and purchases things everyday. So, I only have a few receipts a week. And not all receipts are going to be kept.

I can easily flip through to find a receipt I may need. All in one place and no special expensive things to buy to make this system work.

Is this something that might work for you? How do you deal with the clutter of receipts?

Thank you for dropping by! Have a wonderful day!


  1. Wow, good idea. I just toss them in a box (hopefully) but it's only for returns since I don't itemize taxes.

    1. Thanks Linda. I have done the box method for a long time too. Not only do we have to do the long form of taxes, we have to do them for 2 states because of Troy's job! It is so confusing! LOL

  2. ohmigosh! I have a huge issue with receipts! I don't need them so much for taxes, but for returns and to match them to credit card statements when they come in. I've had waitresses add their own tips and I've had wrong amounts charged in the past, so I like to keep an eagle eye on these. However, it got out of hand the past year and I wasn't watching like I planned. I'm getting back into it this year. If it's a large item, I often staple the receipt to the paperwork we got with the water heater, the truck tires....or whatever. Other important ones I will often keep with the statement until a year or so has gone by. I would like to mention that using the yellow highlighter isn't always a good idea. I did that and on some papers and inks it makes it disappear. So, the info you need the most might not be there in writing when you go back to it! I would suggest making a red star next to the item, or circling it.

    1. Good tip about the highlighters Patty! I hadn't even thought of that. I generally
      circle things and I guess I will go back to doing that! :)

  3. Forgot to mention.... I have a plastic pouch with a magnet on the back which stays on the fridge. Hubby comes home with receipts every day and he puts them in the pouch, as do I. When the statements come in I get all the receipts out of the pouch and do my thing.

  4. Ugh...I am always knee deep in receipts! Maybe I will give your system a shot. Thank you!

  5. I like the notebook idea, and writing the red star. I sometimes collect in plastic baggies. For clothing returns, I keep the receipt in the bag and hang the bag on the hangar until I'm going to the store to return the item, it works for me.


Thank you for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your ideas. If you ask a question, I will answer it here in a comment back to you. Please check back! Thank you for visiting and have a wonderful day! Diann :)