Clear the Clutter: Organizing Receipts and Bills

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How many receipts do you have in your purse this minute? Do you have bills ranging from dry clean, tailor, grocery bills from Reliance Fresh/More,  vegetables purchased last evening to parlor trips a fortnight ago? The secret is out – these are after all what  makes a woman’s purse bulky! But, if you are the one of those organized ones, then you do know what to keep and where to file and what is to be trashed.

An incident at my son’s pre-school got me started on this post. The school asked parents to submit the child’s file Monday morning. This is how the system worked – at the beginning of the school year, every child was given a file to be taken home, and subsequently it was the parent’s responsibility file the individual sheets of school work that was sent home. The sheets just got interesting with time – coloring, art work, finger printing, oral drilling of numbers and alphabets, and I could see my on growing every week.  So, when I went to drop him Monday morning with the neatly filed sheets of paper, I was stunned to see another mother submitting her child’s file. With not a fold at any corner of the file and no signs of dirt or whatsoever, she has brought it neatly enclosed in another transparent folder. Yes, she was one of those ideal people who had hacked life successfully and made lists of lists, if you know what I mean.

This incident was just an eye-opener to how far we can go in organizing stuff around the house for easy access. Receipts and bills add to clutter around the home easily. It need not be an overkill, but striking the right balance with organizing can save a lot of time and effort in finding something when you need it.

Some simple tips to help you in organizing better:

1. Grocery Bills – Unless you’ve made a big purchase or intent to exchange something, it’s a good idea to trash the bills after checkout.Most stores require to see bills at exit. On exit, just dump them in the trash can instead of stashing away in your purse.

2. Dry Clean/Tailor – Important receipts such as dry wash, tailor or photos, the ones that you need a week or fortnight later, often get lost in the mundane clutter. Store such ones in a drawer or a box after you get home. Label the box so you’d remember. You don’t have to buy a box if you don’t have one, just reuse a shoe box or a old chocolate metal box.

3. Utility Bills – Electricity , telephone, water, credit card, mobile bills, and bank statements tend to quickly accumulate.  What’s worse is you can’t find them when you need them on instances like furnishing address proof. Maintain a file for your utility bills. Wherever possible , opt to receive monthly statements by e-mail. This works well for credit card, mobile and bank statements. Once in six months, revisit the file to discard old bills.

4. Appliances Bills – Maintain a folder to store bills of big purchases such as TV, washing machine, camera, sofa, furniture or anything else that comes with a warranty. We know it as the “pink folder” in our home as all the important bills are filed there after every purchase.


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