I’m working on a series to chronicle how I achieve a Paperless Home and the first project is Receipts, exciting, I know! The first step to any decluttering project is to stop adding to the problem and bringing new stuff in.
How I deal with receipts:
1. I stop them from entering my life: Overall, I buy less stuff now. The less you shop, the fewer receipts you have to deal with. I then refuse most of the rest. More and more services are offering receipts as an option and I say “no thank you!”. Will I need the receipt in the future? If not, I refuse it. I proactively let stores and restaurants know that I don’t want receipts. It gives them feedback to rethink their default policies. I’ve never had to dispute a restaurant receipt after leaving the restaurant so I just make sure the bill looks right before I sign it and leave the extra copy.
I also like to buy from places that don't give receipts, like the farmer's market or Craigslist. Or stores that save transaction histories like Amazon or Home Depot so if I have an issue, they can look it up using my account or card. Other stores now offer to email a digital receipt; I can get an email, archive it and done! It’s searchable if I need it in the future.
Even though I’ve stopped shopping for the most part, I’m probably still offered around 70 receipts a month! More than a fifth are online or emailed, less than a fifth come home with me, so that leaves more than 40 refused per month. In the next steps, I will tackle what I do with the ones that do come home.
+ It’s actually an interesting exercise to keep track of all the receipts that enter your life for a month. It’s an insight into our spending habits as well as how many useless pieces of trash we take in. Are you up for it?
+ Remember, this is what works best for me and has helped our home stay paperless. You might need a different system, especially for taxes or business receipts, so please ask your accountant if you're unsure!