We’re living in a world where just about everything can be done electronically, whether it’s paying bills, doing your taxes, or sharing your latest photos. When you go paperless, you’ll free up space in your home, save time finding documents, save trees, and so much more!
You’ll also save money; you’ve probably noticed that banks and other service providers are beginning to charge fees for paper statements. Going paperless seems to be the way we’ll be doing everything in the very near future.
Today, we’re sharing 6 tips for going paperless, and making it a breeze.
1. Sign Up For Electronic Statements
Take advantage of online banking as well as the electronic delivery of insurance policies and nearly every kind of bill out there (these include cable, utilities, credit cards, etc.). Setting up automatic payments simplifies life even further. You can also go online to opt out of receiving junk mail, such as catalogs and credit card offers.
2. Spring For A High-Quality Scanner
Make sure you purchase a scanner that scans at least 20 pages per minute, processes both sides of a page at the same time, and can process a stack of pages all at once.
When shopping for a shredder, you also might want to consider a “confetti” shredder over a strip shredder. A confetti shredder creates tiny pieces of paper that can’t be taped back together. It’s perfect for shredding sensitive documents, including medical records account numbers, Social Security numbers, and more.
High-quality scanners like these will typically cost between $250 and $500.
3. Turn Each Scanned Document Into A Searchable PDF
You can configure most scanners to complete this task automatically. You’ll be able to quickly search every scanned document for any word it contains. You’ll never rifle through stacks of old documents ever again.
4. Remember, Scanned Doesn’t Always Mean Safe
When your documents are sitting on your computer’s hard drive, it can be easy to forget they’re just as susceptible to being lost (or damaged) as when you only stored them in paper form. Never put off backing up your documents!
These days, you can easily store them on cloud-based storage systems or external hard drives. (In an upcoming article, we’ll take going paperless even further when we delve into the many different software options available – stay tuned!)
5. Check Scanned Documents Before Discarding Originals
Between human mistakes and the occasional scanner error, you’ll want to make sure you in fact have all the paperless versions of the documents you’ll need. Once you feel confident you’ve got them all, feel free to shred or recycle them.
6. Documents You Should Never Toss
Although the concept of going paperless is spreading quickly, you’ll likely never be completely paper-free. While you can absolutely scan your most important papers, keep the originals as well. This applies to important legal documents like birth and marriage certificates, titles, deeds, wills, and anything with a governmental seal or stamp.
Going Paperless Is A Process
If you feel overwhelmed at the sheer volume of old documents you’ll need to scan if you want to go paperless, you’re not alone. It takes time! You may find it helpful to tackle just a couple of documents a day, and work it into your regular routine.
If you can find a way to simplify the process, going paperless will feel even more liberating.
In our next article, we’ll move beyond these DIY tips and into the latest software solutions available to help you go paperless. Until then, have a very happy Thanksgiving!