Receipt Organization with Free Cut File

Stay organized this year with custom labeled Receipt Organizers (with 12 month dividers inside!).  Gotta love the $1 bin at Target!

It’s like there’s some kind of magnetic force field around the $1 bin section at Target.  It just draws me in like a moth to the flame, and before I’ve even begun to tackle my shopping list, my cart is filled with goodies.  It doesn’t help that it’s the first thing you walk by after grabbing your cart.  It’s like they’re intentionally trying to get you to buy stuff, or something.  {Grin.}

But I’m not complaining because I’ve gotten several incredible finds from those dollar bins…one that I’ll be sharing about on Thursday and another that has its fifteen minutes of fame today!

When I saw these cutie accordion-style file organizers, I immediately snatched two of them up.  The force was strong with these ones.  {Groan.}

Ah yes...the magnetic force field around the Target $1 bins.  I know it well....

You see we have some desperate need for a new system of organizing our receipts.  Here was our old system:

The "classic" method of receipt organization: shove 'em all in a file folder in a basket.  Good luck finding what you need, though, when it comes time for a return!

Whenever we needed to return an item, we’d have to dig through the mountain of receipts from months prior just to find it…and oftentimes we didn’t because it was such a mess.  Add on top of it the receipts I’ve started to save for the purchases related to my blog, and we’ll just go ahead and call it a piping hot mess.

Accordion File Organizers...great for keeping track of receipts!  (Hint: I found these puppies in the $1 Target bins.)

So, these two nifty accordion files will house our family receipts and my blogging receipts.  And of course, I needed to label each one accordingly as well as create some pretty tab stickers for the 12 months of the year.  I mean, it just wouldn’t do to use a sharpie and write on the white tab stickers that came with them.  Oh no.  This calls for a quick n’ easy Silhouette tutorial!

Heads up: I’m going to be more thorough than usual since I know there are many of you out there with new machines who could use the extra screenshots and detail.  So, don’t be dismayed by how long this it.  It really is do-able for beginners!

Tutorial

Step 1.  Open up Silhouette Studio and create your month stickers. It’s actually really easy to get a precise measurement of a shape in Silhouette Studio.  So, after drawing a circle, I just opened up the SCALE window and specified my circle width and height (which ended up being 1.055, unlike what is pictured).

Then, I just I clicked on “Draw a Line” on the left toolbar to slice a circle in half; then I made sure the line was perfectly centered by opening the ALIGN window and selecting “align middle.”  Lastly, I grouped the two shapes by selecting them both and hitting COMMAND-G, and then just copied and pasted a bunch more!

Designing File Tabs in Silhouette Studio

For my font, I chose a favorite, Bebas (free download), and typed out my abbreviated months to fit inside the half circles (26.9 pt. contrary to what the photo says).  To ensure the text for the bottom halves were perfectly level, I just rotated them by 180 degrees (see photo below for reference).  Then, I repeated this step until all my months were completed.

Next, I drew a box around each circle to select all the shapes inside of it and grouped them using COMMAND-G again.  To space them perfectly in a line across my mat, I used the Align Tool again to first “align middle,” then “space horizontally.”  Not a necessary step in this case, but it’s a fun trick to know!

Designing File Tabs in Silhouette Studio

If you’re doing a print-and-cut design like I did, then, you’ll need to ungroup the shapes in order to fill the text with color (COMMAND-U).  When selecting multiple groups of text to fill with the same color, click on them while pressing down on the SHIFT key to make sure they are selected.  Then fill them with your color of choice.  After you’re done, you can re-group them.

And now, it’s time to change our media size from the 12″ x 12″ default to letter size.  Do that under the PAGE tab (see photo).  The, select the REGISTRATION MARKS tab in order to click “show registration marks.”  Registration marks help your machine know where your images are when it comes time to cut, so this is a very important step.  Also, make sure your designs fit inside those registration marks.

Designing File Tabs in Silhouette Studio

Step 2.  Load printable foil in your printer and print your month text.  I thought about this long and hard and ultimately decided that the Silver Printable Foil would be the best media for my month stickers.  Not only is the metallic sheen eye-catching, but I could simply print my text onto the foil instead of dealing with tiny, intricate cuts on vinyl or adhesive cardstock (which can be tricky when so small).  So, I loaded up my printer, adjusted my printer settings to print in high quality and on “photo” paper (since it’s akin in thickness to the foil), and ended up with this:

Printable Foil Tabs...prior to cutting!

Step 3.  Cut out your month stickers using your Silhouette machine.  So, now that the text has been printed, it’s time to cut out those stickers!  Back into Silhouette Studio, open up the Cut Style window (the little scissors), and select “No Cut” to the text and the circle and line should still be marked in red (which you DO want cut).  Everything left in bright red will be cut by your machine.

How to do a print and cut design in Silhouette Studio.

Use your machine’s recommended cut settings for Printable Foil (adjusting your blade accordingly), and cut away!

This part never ceases to amaze me: how a Silhouette machine can use the registration marks to locate your design and cut exactly what you want it to.  I always stare and watch it in amazement.

How to do a print and cut design in Silhouette Studio.

Step 4.  Apply your month stickers to your accordion file tabs!

Using printable foil stickers to label tabs in an accordion file organizer.

Using printable foil stickers to label tabs in an accordion file organizer.

Neatly labeled receipt organizer with tabs for each month of the year!

Step 5.  Create vinyl labels for the exterior of your accordion files.  As I said before, I bought 2 different file organizers: one for our family receipts and one for my blog-related receipts.  So, I created vinyl labels to help distinguish between them.  I used the Bebas font again and just drew rounded rectangles around the text in the dimensions I wanted.  (4.2″ x 2.5″.)  And you can remove the registration marks since you’re done with the printing!

Creating vinyl labels for a receipt organizer.

Step 5.  Cut your vinyl labels using your Silhouette machine.  The cutting mat is optional when cutting something like vinyl off the roll, so just make sure to either check or uncheck “cutting mat” in your cut settings.  And you’ll need to adjust your rollers if cutting off of the roll, so release the blue lever on the right, spin the white plastic roller on the right to unlock it, slide it where you want it, lock it back into place with a twist, then secure down the blue lever.  (If your material is swimming all over the place when cutting, it’s usually because you forgot to lock the rollers down again.)

With vinyl, I often run a “Test Cut” which just cuts a tiny triangle within a rectangle out of the upper left corner of your vinyl.  If your blade is brand new, a blade level of 1 might suffice!  But a 2 worked fine with me, achieving that perfect “kiss cut” where it cuts through the vinyl, but not the vinyl backing. I used silver and black vinyl for my two different labels.

Cutting vinyl off the roll with your Silhouette machine.

Step 6.  Weed and apply your vinyl labels.  The process of applying vinyl to anything is old hat to veteran Silhouette users, but I remember just starting off and being SO perplexed at how Silhouette users lined things up so perfectly when applying vinyl.  Their trick?  A hook tool, scraper, and transfer paper!  This visual should show you how the process works:

How to apply a vinyl design using a hook tool and transfer paper!

1 & 2: Weed out the unwanted parts of your design using a hook tool.

3: Cut a piece of transfer paper down to size, remove the backing and…

4: …apply it atop your vinyl.  Use a scraper to smooth it out.  The goal is to get the vinyl to stick to the transfer paper, so you can apply a little pressure.

5: Slowly peel the transfer tape up, ensuring the vinyl is coming along with it!

6: Apply the vinyl to your subject, which in this case, is the accordion file organizer!  Use the scraper to transfer the design from the transfer tape TO the subject.

And here it after application!  I actually was pleasantly surprised at how great it looked atop the textured surface.  You almost can’t tell it’s a vinyl label – – it’s like it could have been made this way!  (In my humble opinion.)

Organize those blog receipts with an accordion file JUST for those blogging purchases you make.  Come tax season, you'll be sittin' pretty!

Organize those blog receipts with an accordion file JUST for those blogging purchases you make.  Come tax season, you'll be sittin' pretty!

And here are the two receipt organizers together!  We shan’t mix them up now that they’re so appropriately labeled.  What a relief!

Stay organized this year with custom labeled Receipt Organizers (with 12 month dividers inside!).  Gotta love the $1 bin at Target!

The day I made these, we were already putting them to use!

Stay organized this year with Receipt Organizers (complete with 12 month dividers inside!).  Gotta love the $1 bin at Target!

Come tax season 2015, we’ll be sittin’ pretty.  Now, this year on the other hand is another story.  Well, onwards and upwards, right?

And here’s a little diddy for the Pinterest fanatics:

Receipt Organization! Thanks to the Target $1 bin and a FREE Silhouette cut file, my receipts shall be a hot mess no more!  via thinkingcloset.com

Free Cut File

I know, I went through all those steps in the tutorial just to GIVE you my Silhouette cut file.  Well, I guess I’m in teacher mode…and I figure there will be several of you out there who want to learn how to design your own labels and tabs for future projects.  But for those of you who are like, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!  Gimme the freebie!” just click the image below to download it from box.com.  {Fine print: this design is for personal use only and not for profit.}

FREE Silhouette Cut FIle for Receipt Organization Tabs & Labels from thinkingcloset.com

Click HERE to download the free studio file.

Reminders Galore!

30% Off Silhouette Supplies using the code CLOSET from Jan 11 - 18!

Start shopping HERE.

Don’t forget that there’s still an incredible promotion going on right now at the Silhouette shop.  Most of their supplies (including the ones I linked to in the tutorial above) are 30% off now through January 18th using my affiliate code CLOSET.  Even the Silhouette Studio® Designer Edition software is included in the sale, and there are no shipping costs with that one as you get a download code.  (Machines, gift cards, download cards, shapes, subscriptions, or out-of-stock items do not apply.)

Not sure what the “essential” Silhouette supplies are?  I’ve gotcha covered with four different supply lists depending on your interest and skill level.  Check ‘em out HERE.

Supply Lists!  Recommendations from an experienced Silhouette user for all types...beginners looking for "essentials" to the "seriously obsessed" looking for a worthwhile challenge!

Review my Silhouette Supply Lists HERE

The Silhouette Challenge

It’s a new year, which means a new Silhouette Challenge!  Last year, it was all about 12 unique projects in 12 months, and I’m proud to say that I was able to accomplish that (and a whole lot more).

So this year, my Silhouette Challenge buddies and I are tackling themed challenges, and this month’s theme is…you guessed it!  Organization!

The Silhouette Challenge!  12 months, 12 themes.

So, check out the 35 other organization projects being shared in blogland today!

Get organized with your Silhouette Machine!  Here are 36 inspirational projects to get your gears turning....

  1. DIY Window Shutter Mail Organizer by Weekend Craft
  2. Kids’ Art Wall by Tried & True
  3. Organizing Silhouette and Craft Supplies by The Happier Homemaker
  4. Simple Recipe Organization by It’s Always Craft Time
  5. Put a Label on it! Herb Names for Plant Stakes by Get Silvered
  6. Super Simple Linen Closet Labels by Two Purple Couches
  7. Beware of the Animals Vinyl Toy Box by A Tossed Salad Life
  8. Child desk accessories by Architecture of a Mom
  9. Organizing & the Important of Labels by The Turquoise Home
  10. Index Card Organizer for Easier Meal Planning by Chicken Scratch NY
  11. Create Craft Room Labels by Dragonfly & Lilypads
  12. Simple Storage Solution for your Christmas Ornaments by Vintage News Junkie
  13. Organize this: DIY Planner Covers, Tags & Dividers (made with Cereal Boxes) by Black and White Obsession
  14. How to Make a Cut File into a Print & Cut by Create & Babble
  15. Simple Chest Freezer Organizational Board by Nearly Handmade
  16. Vinyl Your Kitchen Canisters! by From Wine to Whine
  17. Nursery Closet Dividers & Silhouette Cut File by Creative Ramblings
  18. Make Custom Box Templates with a Silhouette for Drawer Organization by One Dog Woof
  19. Organizing the Craft Room by What’s Next Ma
  20. Vinyl Wall Calendar by Crafts Cakes and Cats
  21. Personalized Toy Storage Bins by Lil’ Mrs. Tori
  22. Personalized Routine Chart by Work in Progress
  23. Blog Planner Sheet Dividers + Free Cut Files by TitiCrafty by Camila
  24. Simple Project Calendar by Little Blue’s Room
  25. Dry Erase Photo Frame Menu Board + Free Cut File by Essentially Eclectic
  26. Receipt Organization with Free Cut File by The Thinking Closet (you are here!)
  27. Cute and Easy Labels by Life After Laundry
  28. “What’s For Dinner?” Menu Planning Board by unOriginal Mom
  29. Mixing Organization and Function: An Easy Conversion Chart by My Paper Craze
  30. Why do my cookies taste so bad? A lesson in baking. by The Life and Times of a TAP
  31. Custom Drawer Dividers by Please Excuse My Craftermath…
  32. The evolution of my labeling system by feto soap
  33. Ikea Drawer labels by McCall Manor
  34. Glass Etched Vinegar & Oil bottles by Terri Johnson Creates
  35. Organize It: Bathroom Closet by The House on Hillbrook
  36. Ombre Butterfly Magnet Board by Sowdering About

Phew.  Not my shortest post ever; not by a long shot.  But I hope you’re feeling inspired to get your organizing on…or at least make a Target run.  One or the other.  {Smile.}

I like to link up here.

Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase using my code, I receive a small commission.  Please rest assured that as always, I only recommend products that I use and love.

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Lovely comments so far...

  1. says

    Just so you know…I’M TOTALLY STEALING THIS IDEA! I was preparing my tax documents the other day and realized I have no system to receipts and things for my shop, blog, or home. BUT NOW I DO. And the cut file? A-MAZING! Thanks so much for sharing that.

  2. says

    Why didn’t I think of this?! Great idea!!! I first love how you pre-separated the receipt categories. And then laying it out by month was super smart, that will make searching for receipts so much easier! Thanks for adding the cut file, you just made it really easy for me to follow in your organized footsteps.

  3. says

    Lauren, I love this!! Have you ever noticed that the ink tends to rub off of receipts and you are left with a blank piece of receipt sized paper? I’m the worst about receipt organization, but it’s a small thing that could make a big difference for me. Thanks for sharing.

  4. says

    The crafty person in me is thinking, “Fabulous! Who knew receipts could look so good?” The tax professional in me is thinking, “Great start! Now to make your life even easier, go back and change your blogging labels to categories instead of months!” Seriously, you’re fantastic!

  5. says

    I SO need to do this…especially with the blog receipts. I’ll keep an eye out next time at Target! And wow, that silver vinyl looks AWESOME! I love it! Luckily I have a birthday coming up…I know what’s going on my list, hehe.

  6. says

    these look great and GREAT IDEA although I don’t have a silhouette so I”m probably just go for sharpie marker. Ha! I have a question though cause I’m new to wanting to expound my blogging… what kind of blogging receipts/costs do you have??
    Thanks, Becky

    • thethinkingcloset says

      Good question, Becky! Ya know, 2013 is the first year I made income on my blog so it’s the first year that I’m dealing with itemizing deductions. But here’s a list of some of the things you can write off on your taxes as an independent contractor. (This list was extracted from an email I got from one of the networks I’ve worked with, Pollinate.) “Conference expenses, web hosting, part of your rent/mortgage if you work from home, travel, meals, web design, materials for projects and any other expenses related to the business.” In fact, I’m realizing there’s a whole lot more I can write off from this past year than I initially thought…so it may be a bit of work to get it all itemized for this past year, but hopefully this receipts organizer in conjunction with a spreadsheet will help me be more organized going forward!

      Hope that helps!

  7. says

    Hi Lauren,

    This is a FABULOUS idea! I need to get to Target and pick up a couple of these folders. Thanks for the detailed tutorial. Since I’ve only made 3 projects since opening my Silhouette Cameo yesterday, I really appreciate your breaking it down to such specific steps!!!

    When I finish making these, I would like to post the project on my blog. May I have your permission to CASE this and share? Of course I would link back to your tutorial and give you the credit!

    Peace, Love and Joy,
    Joyce

  8. says

    Um. I want a Silhouette. Or, I want to live close to you and buy you vinyl and then have you make these for me. I don’t even need them for receipts but for tax stuff and for donation receipts and those receipts that I take surveys on to get money off of my next meal and…well, you get the point. I NEED YOU. <3

  9. says

    Ooooooooh I could definitely use this idea and you got me with the colors!!! LOve gray and pink!!!! I need to my hands on so many silhouette kits! Oh dear! Love love!!!! Pinning!

    XOXO
    Cami

  10. says

    What a great project Lauren. Geeze, all these posts on organization are just pointing out how un-organized I am! I love that the texture from the stickers shows through the organizer – it reminds me of diamond plate metal. :)

  11. says

    Love it! I haven’t tried to do a print and cut yet and I really want to do one. Thank you for the great example! It’s so much easier to use organization tools when they are cute like this one! I’m more drawn to the tool and motivated to use it for some reason.

  12. Jessica says

    These look great! Guess I’ll get out my sad little Sharpie and label my receipt holder all while gazing longingly at your adorable fancy $1 accordion file and lamenting the fact that I still don’t own a Silhouette.
    By the way, I like how you strategically had the Jo-Ann receipt on top!

  13. Tanya says

    What a great idea! I am soooooo making my son use this. As long as I have to do his tax stuff, he’s gonna get a folder…maybe not pink, but he’s getting one. He gave me two walmart bags full of receipts the other day. They are crumbled and all. It’s gonna take me FOREVER to go through them. THANKS for sharing the cutting file!! As usual, you totally ROCK!

  14. says

    This is such a great idea! I’ve been keeping business sized envelopes with all of my Home Depot and Lowes receipts… but it’s just not cutting it… Or holding up very well! So excited to start getting more organized in 2014!

  15. Sandy says

    In past years I’ve just stuffed receipts in a brown paper envelope. Now you’ve inspired me to head to Target’s $1 bins and see if there are any accordion files left. I’ll have to label with a Sharpie, though! I don’t have a fancy machine!

  16. Marmie says

    Wonderful tutorial. I pinned because one day I will be following these directions step by step. You should see our big box of receipts (or maybe you shouldn’t)…I’m sure there are receipts from 1988 or so still there. I keep thinking it’s a project for a snowy day while I watch TV…to just go through them in case there is an important receipt. But alas, snow days come and go, and the receipts remain in their pile!

    I think Target should be happy you gave them some positive advertising with all their bad press lately!!

  17. says

    Lauren,
    I love this Idea for keeping track of receipts for blog and home. I was thinking of taking it one step farther with Christmas or Birthday receipts. Then when I am searching for those “darling pieces of paper”, to return exchange I will know right where to find them. I am going to add this to my To Do List!
    Inspired, Karen Marie

  18. lemondedis says

    merci pour toutes ces jolies créations que vous nous offrez : elles sont toujours très réussies ! je me permets juste de vous faire une toute petite remarque – partagée par une bonne partie de mes contacts : ce serait vraiment parfait si vous proposiez l’image en format png ! cela permettrait de les utiliser non seulement avec d’autres machines mais aussi pour tous ceux qui ne possèdent pas de machine de découpe et qui pourraient ainsi les ajouter à leurs créations digitales ou hybrides !… j’ai créé des liens ici : http://www.pinterest.com/lemondedis/freebies-fichiers-de-coupe-svg-gsd/ et là : https://www.facebook.com/pages/LMIlesptitesdecoupes/498251196924176

    • says

      Thanks for the kind remarks and for sharing my cut files! I hear ya – – if I had the software to easily convert .studio files into png, I would definitely love to offer that up. Maybe one day when I invest in Illustrator…. Take care and thanks for the support!

Trackbacks

  1. […] set up an organizing system for my 2014 receipts that is working well for me. I saw the idea here on the Thinking Closet blog and immediately knew I wanted to do the same thing.  In this post, I’ll talk about how I set up […]

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