How to Create a Paperless Home

Large stack of multi-colored files and paperwork lie on an office desk. A white coffee mug in background. Wooden backdrop. Copyspace to side. No people.

Take a look around your office and you’ll probably notice there’s something missing: those teetering towers of papers that used to pile up on the edge of your desk. As we move further and further into a digital environment, paper is being tossed in favor of email, the cloud and text messages.

While a paperless environment is becoming the norm in the work world, it may be a different story at home, where mail collects on your kitchen counter and outdated magazines have sprouted roots in your living room. Want to replicate the paperless environment of your work world at home? Here’s how to get started:

Cancel subscriptions. Any publication worth its salt—from newspapers to magazines—now has a digital version online, so cut back on your print subscriptions, narrowing it down to those few publications you really enjoy sitting with over coffee.

Ditto for catalogs. Anything you might shop for in a catalog can be shopped for online.  What’s more, viewing an item online usually means the ability to zoom, see different angles, and read reviews.

Put your scanner to work. Of course there is a wide variety of paperwork and records that we must hold onto for future reference. Instead of stacking away yet another cardboard box in the attic, start scanning your important paperwork and create a digital file. Be sure to keep several back-up copies of such online records.

Switch to online banking. Do you really need paper bank statements when you can access your account anytime online? If you’re uncomfortable about some of the new online and mobile banking options go sit down with someone at your local branch and get a quick tutorial. Once you go online banking, you’ll never go back.

Enroll in autopay. There is also no need to get buried under the endless flow of credit card bills and records coming into your house. Set up all your credit card accounts online and enroll in autopay. Not only will this ensure that you never miss a payment, it will pull you out from under the mountain of credit-related paperwork.

Nix the notes. Part of the paper pile-up at home can be attributed to the random post-it notes, to-do lists and reminder scraps gracing our counters, bureaus and fridge-doors. This can all be consolidated and nicely organized in your smartphone’s memo feature, the sticky notes function on your desktop, or one of several apps, such as Evernote or OneNote.

Not only is a paperless home a more organized home, it’s one that runs more efficiently as well. So get out from under the piles and start enjoying your newly liberated environment.

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