Paper declutter challenge: receipts

Today we are tackling receipts.  Not the most interesting of subjects but they do tend to get out of hand if you are a receipt keeper.  Most shops still give you receipts although quite a few now ask whether you want them.  I usually ask for the receipt ‘just in case’ particularly if it is clothing or anything else I might need to return.  But then the receipts end up in various places such as the study upstairs, my Mum admin part of the kitchen or even stuffed in my handbag or purse.  But not from now on!

Receipt clutter

Firstly, get all your receipts together from all those hidey-holes, bags and pockets.  If you have loads of the, sort into months.


Then, and this is the only way to do this, check through them from the earliest month onwards.  Get rid of any receipts for items you aren’t going to consider returning or that are past the date you could return the items. I find shredding them therapeutic. Receipts for stuff like kitchen gadgets are best stapled to the instruction booklet so that you can find them easily when needed.  If you get bored do this for 15 minutes at a time.  Use a timer and turn it into a race against time – you have to get your fun where you can!


Once you get nearer to the current month, you should hold on to any receipts for bank and credit card statements that you haven’t received yet.  As we all check our statements and corresponding receipts, don’t we? Cough, cough.


NB If you are self-employed, you need to keep business receipts for 5 years after the 31 January submission deadline of the relevant tax year.  Check out for further information and examples;  if you run a business, you have to keep them for at least 6 years from the end of the last company financial year they relate to with a few exceptions. Again have all the info.


Once you have gone through all your receipts, sort the remaining ones which should be about a month’s worth, divide those into the relevant credit card or bank statement and keep each pile together with a rubber band or paper clip.  Then put in an envelope in a safe place.  Once the relevant statement has arrived, check through the receipts and discard those not needed.  Da da.  Receipts sorted.


Do this regularly and you will never have receipt overload again!



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Love2Declutter Paper Clutter challenge – Day 2: Pensions

Between us my husband and 1 have about 5 pensions having moved around a bit in our jobs.  Every year, each one sends a statement as well as other info.  And it all adds up to a lot of paper.


The pensions documentation was taking up so much room in the filing cabinet that I could barely fit any more in.  So I took it all out of the filing cabinet, then was ill for a year and anything received during that year got ‘filed’ in a plastic bag that I was going to get round to sorting someday.


Well, today was that infamous ‘someday’ so this morning I have sorted out all the pension documentation into different box files in date order with most recent on top, gone through the plastic bag and added those bits of documentation in date order, most recent on top.


I managed to recycle some of the outdated pension scheme information but, having researched what is recommended to keep for pensions, I decided that I would keep all the annual statements until we actually withdraw our pensions.


On Monday we are going to go through all our pensions and see what they will be worth at our retirement age and I really recommend doing this.  Although it seems like it will never happen, you will need your pension one day so anything you can contribute when you are earning will help increase that pot.  Who knows, you might even manage to retire early!  And it is much easier to work out what you might get if all your documentation is in order.

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The Love2Declutter Paper challenge

To mark International Declutter Day today, Love2Declutter are running a Declutter your paperwork challenge for the next week.

Is your filing all over the place – in drawers, under the bed, stuffed into an overfull filing cabinet?  Do you feel overwhelmed by the paper in your life and wonder whatever happened to the paperless society? If so, it’s time to conquer your paper mountain.

Paper decluttering challenge

My filing got out of control following a prolonged spell of ill-health so I am wresting back control as of today.  I thought it would be more fun to make it a group challenge so here we go.

Before you invest in lots of lovely new folders and things, it is a good idea to get rid of as much as possible first. So each day for the next week will be a different paper challenge.  Today it is paperwork relating to your car.

Sorting out motor vehicle paperwork

  1. Equipment – clear plastic or thin card folders and post-it notes


  1. Get out ALL your motor papers and I mean everything – service bills, MOTs, V5C registration document, insurance information, breakdown insurance, warranties.


  1. If you have more than one vehicle sort your paper pile into one for each.


  1. Get rid of any documents related to vehicles you no longer own. Speaking as a reformed fileoholic who used to archive this kind of thing, you will never need it! I shredded or threw away the whole file several years ago and have never needed it so be brave.  NB If you have any type of insurance claim going through on a previously owned vehicle, you will need to keep the relevant insurance policy and any related papers until it has been settled.


  1. Using the post it notes, label each folder with a category. My category list worked out as:   Purchase agreement, Insurance, MOT, Servicing, Extended warranty,  Roadside assistance, Vehicle tax, V5C.


  1. Now file all your bits of paper in the relevant folder, in chronological order with most recent on top.


  1. Next, remove anything that you don’t need like non-current insurance records, out-of-date MOT certificates etc. Shred them. If you don’t have a shredder, make sure you rip up any information that could identify you so that it is unreadable. You should keep anything related to servicing as it will be useful when selling the vehicle, the V5C document, current insurance and MOT as well as purchase and HP agreement documentation.  It can also be useful to  keep a copy of your insurance certificate and insurance company contact numbers in your car in case of an accident.


  1. Place your lovely organised folders in wherever you keep your paperwork. Alternatively go out and buy some funky stationery such as box files or a Really Useful Box plus some hanging folders. Stapes have them on special offer at the moment.


  1. Now bask in how easy it is to find papers you need!


Tomorrow’s challenge is going to be Pensions which seem to generate a load of paper!


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