Thursday, July 16, 2020

I Have Receipts

The plan for this receipt folder project was born when my effort to prepare my 2019 tax return led to a full-on clean out of the files in my filing cabinet and desk shelves. I'd been meaning to get to that file drawer for awhile, because it was jammed so full that taking anything in or out was a frustrating, muscular, file-abusing exercise. I must have gone through half the files, and I discarded an 8" stack of stuff. I replaced a number of battered large envelopes with properly labelled file folders. I threw out receipts for stores that no longer exist, or that were so faded they'd basically gone blank, warranty information for items I no longer own, credit card information for cards I no longer have, and other incredibly pertinent documents. My 2016 tax return and a box of long envelopes that had been stored in the drawer above it had fallen behind the drawer and gotten jammed, so I fished those out. And now all my files fit easily and tidily in the drawer and the drawer itself shuts properly and it's ridiculously satisfying.

As I cleaned the files out, I tried to put them in the kind of order that would be self-perpetuating. If I extract and dispose of my oldest tax return file every year when I insert the new one, I shall never need to clean out my income tax returns. If I put the most recent utility bill or credit card statement in chronological order with the others from this year, it will be easy for me to grab all of 2020's documents when I'm doing my 2020 taxes, and I won't need to clean out those folders either. When I got to the point of reorganizing my desk shelves and I was tidying out my current receipts folder, I figured out a strategy for keeping that in order too, but once that was done, it occurred to me that I'd been keeping my receipts in the pockets of a spiral ring notebook that was nearly full, and what was I going to do with my receipts once I wanted to dispose of the notebook? I could have used an envelope, of course, but I wanted something that both looked nicer than that and would keep my receipts in good order. I wanted a portfolio type folder, in which I could sort the recipts according to my system.

First I considered buying a portfolio folder, and then I thought perhaps I could make one out of supplies I had on hand, so I googled to see what kind of portfolio tutorials the internet had to offer. I found the fabric folder portfolio tutorial for the portfolios you see above quite promptly, on the blog Niesz Vintage Home... and fabric. Next I looked to see what fabrics I had on hand, and found that I had enough of a brown jacquard decor fabric that I'd used for lining a handbag, and also of some brown satin lining, to do the job. I had cardboard on hand in my art supply cupboard, so this project cost $0.

The finished portfolio, open and shut. I am very pleased with this project. The tutorial was well-written and the portfolio easy to make. I've bookmarked the link to keep it handy for use in future -- these handy portfolios could make excellent little gifts. I even have an idea for how to add a pen slot.

The spine of the portfolio. Those lines of stitching make it flexible.

The portfolio in action, with my receipts for the current month on the left side, and the receipts I will need for income tax purposes and/or possible returns on the right. While I can't say I enjoy paying the bills at month's end anymore than before, it is a pleasure to use this little folder. Staying organized is much more fun and rewarding when one can do it in style.