Save the Trees ( And Time): Tips for Going Paperless at Home

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Maintaining an organized life at home, on top of work and taking care of kids, can be time consuming and difficult. Sometimes, it can be impossible to even know where to start. One aspect of your home that you can easily get under control is your paperwork. How many piles of paper do you have lying around the house? And how many important documents do you have locked away in a filing cabinet?

If the answer to those questions was, “Too many!”, then there is a better way:

Going paperless by scanning all of your current paperwork and documents onto a hard drive and continuing to opt out of paper copies of documents. Going paperless at home will not only help you stay organized, but there are also many other benefits. Some of benefits can include:

  • Saving time — instead of trying to look through piles and piles of paperwork trying to find something, you can just search for any document in a matter of seconds.
  • Increasing privacy — Instead of worrying about locking up all of your important documents, they can all be in a secure location that only certain people can access. Contrary to popular belief, most identity theft still occurs from paper records.
  • Disaster proofing — If your important documents are stored on a hard drive, they will be unable to be destroyed by floods, fires, or mold.
  • Environmentally friendly — By recycling all of your current paperwork and no longer getting paper copies of documents, you’ll be decreasing your footprint on the environment.

For the documents you do need to keep, you can easily scan these into your online storage system. This will allow you recycle any hard copies that you no longer need to keep. After the initial task of getting all of your paperwork scanned into electronic copies, managing paperwork will be a breeze. Consider making a schedule, and sticking to it, to keep the paper you still do receive under control. Put all of this paperwork in one small pile and scan it into your organization system as needed.

Of course, going paperless will only help you stay organized if you meticulously label and name your new electronic documents. That’s why there are software systems that you can use to file and organize documents online, or you can create your own filing system and back it up on a hard drive. There are of course paper documents that need to be kept, like birth certificates and social security cards, which should be kept in a fireproof box in a secure location. All other documents can be filed on some sort of software or a computer hard drive.

For papers such as junk mail, receipts, and bills, you should be able to opt-out of receiving paper documents. By checking statements and paying bills online, you’ll save yourself the headache of even needing to file those documents away. Also, remember that you can cut back on paper waste at work, too. Even in the digital age, the average U.S. employee costs their company between $600 and $1,300 each year on printing expenses, even though estimates that 17% of everything printed today is absolute waste.

While about 95% corporate information still exists in paper form, more and more people are deciding to go paperless, whether it’s for a business or for their home life. It can also be useful to have your information stored electronically if you ever need to access information but aren’t home. Using whatever storage method you decide on, you can easily pull up the information and have immediate access.

A paperless home can have a huge impact on the organization of your home. Not only will it be easier to manage and find important documents, but you can feel better about not having important paperwork lying around your house, unsecured. Simply put, going paperless is a great way to stay organized while reducing your environmental impact.

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