The Sunday Basket: Week 11 – Receipts

Weekly Sunday Basket pic

I could not do nearly the amount of work I do if I did not have a weekly paper organization and planning system.

The Sunday Basket has increased my productivity, reduced our late fees and generally created sanity in our home. If this is the first time you’ve heard of the term “Sunday Basket,” well, that’s because I made it up! You can read all about how the Sunday Basket came to be here.

Read my first post here about what my Sunday routine looks like.
The Sunday Basket: Week 11 - Receipts  | Organize 365

In every house I organize, there are piles of receipts. Do we need them? And if we keep them, how do we organize receipts?

Sales Receipts

I have a home based business, so at a minimum, I need to scan and save any receipt that I claim as a tax deduction.

For a store return, MOST stores can look up your purchase by the credit card you used when you bought it. I am trying to use cash envelopes for my spending and teaching my kids to do the same, so I guess we need to keep the receipts for returns.

Here’s what I am trying to do. Don’t buy anything you think you might return. Of course, this doesn’t work with items that break, but really, I rarely return anything.

For us – we toss the receipts in the basket and on Sunday reconcile them to our checkbook and throw them away. We live on the edge like that. :)

Document Boxes and Files

Document Boxes and Files

Some families save ALL their receipts. For those families I recommend using these colored boxes. They are sold in a pack of 5. Start with one box and put all your receipts for the month in that ONE box. Then next month pick a different color.

These boxes are big enough to hold paper so you can print out receipts from online purchases and put those in the box as well. You can do this for all 12 months of the year, but I suggest only using 3 boxes. When you get to month 4 empty out the receipts from box 1 and pitch or file them as needed.

An easy way to organize tax documentation or receipts.

Medical / Tax Receipts

These I enter on our tax deduction spreadsheet every 2-6 weeks, depending on my mood, time available and how many we have to enter. Then, I put them in our tax files in the basement. If I left this to do until next year, it would take at least a week.

Business Receipts

Until this January, I used the same system as I have for my medical / tax receipts, but it is just too much now. I hired an awesome bookkeeper. It is so hard to spend money on a new and growing business, but, honestly, there are so many opportunities I would have had to say no to without my team.

So, here’s how I file business receipts. I put them all in an envelope weekly, mail it to the bookkeeper and start a new envelope. This, in addition to my other bookkeeping,  saves me at least 90 minutes each week!

 So, what about home business owners who don’t have a bookkeeper?  After collecting them for a week in an envelope, seal it up, write the dates on the outside, and put it in your tax files.  You can deal with the receipts on your time–and you won’t have a pile to go through all at once.  I have a friend who had tried to do this on a monthly basis, but invariably, by the end of the month, she had misplaced or overfilled her envelope, which only made a mess.  This way, she has an organized and tidy set of envelopes to deal with in small chunks.

So, what about you? Do you keep receipts?



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See all the posts in this series.  


  1. Christina M says

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now. I really like your organizing tips. They are some of the sanest I have come across. I’m also impressed that you post almost every day. This week’s Sunday Basket on receipts and the post on electronics were just what I was looking for right now. A month of receipts in an envelope to be dealt with later. Genius!

  2. sara says

    I’d like to sort out my receipts as I put them somewhere (or sort them after I put them in a basket to deal with) – I think that by doing that I will know which ones need to just get trashed right away. For me I think having those cute plastic boxes from amazon might postpone the decisions too long. I’m thinking of a expandable folder with categories – medical (finally have a system for keeping these together for taxes-yeah!! :) , receipts I might need to return stuff (which I tend to do a lot), receipts for warranties & such, and then maybe a couple of months (divided by month) worth of receipts “just because” ??? I keep thinking I need another category but I’m not sure what – maybe once I start going through my backlog of receipts I’ll figure it out LOL.Love your ideas though – even if I don’t think they will work for me, they get me thinking :) Thanks!

    • says


      Great ideas! I personally put our receipts in the checkbook each week and pitch them ALL! Gasp – radical I know. So I use the box idea for people who can’t pitch as readily as you and I. :) My motto is pitch it if you can!


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