Paperless Trail; The Art of Going Paperless

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Interested in going paperless? Sounds intriguing, right? It’s pretty easy to do and you may have already implemented some of these paper-saving strategies into your daily routine. Paper is something we have to deal with every day. Some of our every-day sources of paper clutter include mail, newspapers, magazines, junk mail, fliers, homework and art projects from school and so on. If you don’t address your daily papers at a minimum (ideally) of twice a week, it will get out of control.

As far as I am aware, it is impossible to be entirely paper free, but here are a few tips to help you to significantly cut down your paper load.

  1. Online Banking and Bill Pay.

Most banks offer online banking and bill pay. If you haven’t already looked into this, it should be simple enough to get started. Look up your bank online and see what they offer. It makes it so easy to stay on top of your daily finances, transfer money and pay bills all from the comfort of your home computer, laptop or even smart phone.

  1. Switch to Paperless Statements and Bills.

Contact your credit card companies, banks, utility companies, and other financial services and request paperless statements. They will send your statements via e-mail and you can store them in folders in your Inbox (you already have these right?). They will usually offer incentives for doing this. Sometimes you can even get a better interest rate or additional perks for going paperless.

  1. Sign up for Direct Deposit.

Most companies offer direct deposit where they will automatically deposit your paycheck into your bank account. This will eliminate paper checks and records and save you tons of shredding time in the long run. Many banks also waive checking and general banking fee’s when you add this service to your account. Talk with your employer and your financial institution to set up today.

  1. Subscribe to Newspapers and Magazines Online or via App.

Many print publications are also available (for a reduced rate) through an on-line subscription or app on your smart phone. For online subscription, go to your publication’s website and see if they offer it. For and app look on iTunes to see if your favorite mag. has it’s own app. You will still get all the same content…just with less clutter!

  1. Find Owner’s Manuals Online.

When you purchase something that comes with a manual, visit the manufacturer’s website and check to see if you can download the manual instead. Then, create a folder on your computer labeled “Owner’s Manuals” and trash your paper copies.

  1. Create a Digital Recipe Box.

Subscribe for a FREE service over at AllRecipes.com.  Then search through thousands of recipes to find ones you love and store them in your digital recipe box. The next time you need a recipe, just log onto their site.

  1. Store Pictures Digitally.

Only print the pictures you love and keep the rest on iPhoto and on a portable storage drive (a back up in case something happens to your computer), or on CD’s. It’s OK to take lots of pictures, but printing ALL of them is just a waste of time, space, and money. I take this one step further by creating digital photo albums atShutterfly.com. You can set up your account and upload as many photo albums, as you want. You can order prints, books, cards, calendars and more.

  1. Scan Important Documents into Your Computer.

This is pretty self-explanatory, but if you can get in the habit of scanning your receipts and other document into your computer and organizing them into specific folders on your desktop, you will nearly eliminate all the rest of your paper.

Keeping a organized filing system for papers you DO need to keep will help you maintain a clutter free desktop and allow you the ability to access forms, receipts or bills when you need them.

Our society, as a whole, is moving slowly towards the paperless route — YOU CAN DO IT TOO! Implement a few of these basic ideas today. You’ll save yourself a lot of shredding in the long run and won’t be overwhelmed by your paper clutter anymore.