Decluttering our wallets

What is in your wallet? If you are anything like me about one year ago, it’s full of membership cards, receipts, handwritten lists and notes and small coins… and hopefully also the things you actually use daily, like money and/or bank cards! My wallet was heavy, both physically and mentally, because every time I would get it out I was reminded that I should clean it out and ‘get organised’. So I decided to get a smaller wallet, and to review what I really needed to keep on me in physical form all the time.

So what can we do to declutter our wallets?

Get rid of membership cards:

Many membership cards are available as apps on our phones, or we can simply take a picture or write down the membership number on our phone. I am sure there are apps to keep this information too, but I have not needed one so far. I actually find in most stores they can simply search for your name in their database if you don’t have your physical card!

Some membership cards are handy to keep on us to minimise future administration, for example anything related to health insurance (I keep my Medicare and private health insurance card in my wallet because then I can get instant refunds and don’t need to deal with the claims process).

Refuse, throw away or file receipts:

Say ‘no thank you’ to receipts when we know we won’t need them. For example at the grocery store, especially if we have done the self-scanning check out and checked that the prices and quantities are correct in real-time.

Throw away (recycle) receipts we want to review but know we don’t need to keep, once we have checked that they are right. For example, the receipt for dinner at a restaurant.

File away important receipts right away, or as soon as possible. I prefer digital filing to avoid paper and clutter, and because physical receipts fade. I use Dropbox for my all my filing, including receipts. The Dropbox mobile app has a scanning function which is sufficiently high quality for most purposes. For bigger purchases, we can ask if the store can email us the invoice instead of printing it for easy filing and less paper. Having a good receipt filing system is great when something breaks and we need to return it, and for tax time. Of course, it is important to have a good back-up system with a digital filing system.

Digitalise your to-do lists and notes:

I love a good list, but a collection of half-finished sticky notes in my wallet is more stressful than helpful in my mind. So I digitalised, and organised.

For to-do lists, I use an app called Wunderlist. I share some to-do lists with my husband, so we can add and tick things off in real-time.

For other notes, I use an app called Evernote. I have developed a system that works for me to keep my notes organised and easy to find.

Avoid coins, and collect the ones we do end up with in a pre-determined place:

This is a personal preference, but I use card over physical money whenever I can. I do this to avoid trips to the ATM and loose change, and to be able to review all my purchases later. I know some people prefer to use ‘real’ money, maybe because the actual cost of something is more evident than when you hand over your bit of plastic.

Still, we can’t always pay by card, at least not in Australia. So I routinely take any coins out of my wallet and save them in a drawer in my kitchen. I then use them for smaller purchases near my house. Saving coins like this could also be a great way to save actual money if we do it routinely, and then deposit the coins at the bank.

So what remains in my wallet? My bank cards, my drivers license, my public transport cards (two), and my medicare & private health insurance card. And physical bills and coins, sometimes, when needed.

Try it: Take a few minutes to go through your wallet and clean out anything you don’t need. Could you carry less around than you do right now? 

the smallist

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