Friday, August 17, 2012

Organize Receipts {Or Anything Else} With Custom Dividers

Organize Receipts Square Banner WM

I spotted this box at HomeSense last year and it was love at first sight.

Receipt Box Before WM

The pictures don’t do it justice.

It is a lovely, glossy yellow and white box with hinges. The yellow is the perfect shade that goes wonderfully with all of the other yellow accents in my office.

If we actually had some sunshine that lasted until the afternoon I would be able to show you my beautiful office because now, after a big organizing blitz, it truly is beautiful.

I’m so proud of it.

Everything has a home.

Correction. Everything has a pretty home.

Including my receipts.

I have struggled to maintain a system for storing my necessary receipts for years. I start off well, and then I develop piles. I’ve tried binder clips, accordion files, baskets, file folders etc. but nothing has ever stuck.

I even used this box at one point. . . I just didn’t use it the right way.

A little while ago, I had a receipt organizing epiphany. I do pretty well with maintaining a filing system for everything else, so why not create something that allows me to file my receipts in the same way?

Instead of clipping them together into piles, I needed to be able to flip through my receipts quickly to find what I need.

Also, I wanted a system where I could sort my receipts by the store where I bought something, not by a category.

My first thought was to use a photo storage box from Michaels. They come with dividers, but I wanted the receipts to span the length of the box so I made my own dividers using my Silhouette.

Photo Box Receipt Organizer

I labelled everything and filled it up with all my receipts.

Definitely an improvement, but to access it I have to pull it out from underneath my desk (I’ll show you that another time). Not very efficient. I saw more piles accumulating in my future.

So, I moved onto Plan B – the yellow box that had sat on my desk for a year without a real purpose.

First, it got a vinyl label to clearly identify its job.

The collage below shows how I planned the placement of my vinyl using painter’s tape and a combination square from Mr. Mechanic’s well-stocked workshop. The combination square is a great way to make sure that your spacing is consistent when transferring an image.

Receipt Box Vinyl Collage WM

After I peeled off the transfer tape, it looked like this!

Labelled Receipt Box

Now that the outside of the box was finished, it was time to make some custom dividers!

I originally made dividers using a shape that I bought and modified, but I was not happy with the final layout of the tabs.  This week’s free shape could not have come at a better time! It made the process so much easier.

Basically, I copied the tab overlay from this week’s free shape and pasted it into a new file. Then, I drew a rectangle and sized it to the dimensions of my receipt box (9.5” by 4”). I selected both shapes and aligned them on the left so that when I welded them together the first tab would start at the very edge.

Before welding the tab and rectangle shapes together I duplicated the tab five times to the right and then used the ‘space horizontally’ function to have them overlap slightly across the width of my 9 inch rectangle. The last step was to duplicate the rectangle 5 times. One-by-one I would align the rectangle with the edge of the last tab on the right. Working from left to right, I moved the next tab down slightly to overlap the shapes and then welded the two shapes together.

I did this five times but then I realized that you only have to do it three times! If you look at the image below, I have labelled and colour-coded the dividers to show that when you cut the same shape twice on double-sided paper, you can just flip over divider 1 to create what would be divider 5 and divider 2 becomes divider 4. Make sense?

Receipt Box Dividers Screenshot With Text

I chose coordinating scrapbook paper with a postcard/travel theme for my dividers.

In a perfect world, I would have had lots of different yellow patterned paper on hand, but since I didn’t, I opted for a theme instead.

Receipt Box Papers 1 WM

{Does anyone else find it hard to cut up a brand new piece of scrapbook paper?}

Receipt Box 1 WM

I cut three sets of 5 dividers and now I just need to label them and transfer my receipts from the photo box that I gussied up before I realized that this box would be better suited for the job.

I suppose you could also use your sketch pens to label the tabs if you were more patient than me!

Receipt Box 2 WM

Receipt Box 3 WM

If you don’t have a cutting machine, no problem! You could trace or cut down store-bought dividers to make your own filing system to fit any container size.

Custom Dividers Banner

Is it weird how pleased I am to have a pretty container for filing my receipts? (If your answer is yes . . . don’t answer that!)


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P.S. Since I’m linking up to the Silhouette Organizing Link Party why not also check out my great tip for storing extra die cuts?


  1. Love it! Such a fantastic idea. Can't WAIT to see your home office reveal! I'm having trouble with mine and lack of storage so can't wait to what you do. :)

  2. This is a cute idea! I prefer pretty storage over throwing receipts in a box any day!

  3. Pretty AND practical! You can't do better that that! you are a whiz with that Silouhette machine. I'm still getting to know my Cricut - I still struggle with fonts! Ugh! Great choice of scrapbook papers - they look vintage-y and collage-y.
    I'd love to see a shot of your whole office. It must be amazing - you seem so proud!!

  4. This is so perfect, you wouldn't want to see my collection of recipes, they are so messy it's scary!
    Yes, I cringe a little when I have to cut a fresh new piece of scrapbooking paper...I just want to hoard it all and never cut it...or have an extra sheet of each to keep forever!!

  5. Such a great idea.. and I see why you fell in love with that box. It is adorable. I might need to borrow this organization idea! Thanks for linking up Claire!

  6. I just LOVE that little box! Love the colour and the 'RECEIPTS' that you added to the front is brilliant... makes it all the more better! Angie xo

  7. Thank you so much for linking this great project up to the Pinworthy Projects Party over at Just Us Four!
    I wanted to stop by and let you know you are featured today!

  8. I can't find the shape in the store:(.

    1. This shape was the free shape last week.
      Here's the download link:

      It is called File Folder Pockets. Hope that helps!

  9. This is a great idea for recipts!

  10. This is just awesome- that box alone was great, but you took it to the next level! Thanks for linking up!


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