Going Paperless

Welcome back! And Happy New Year!

My first post of the year is off-topic from writing, but I’ve decided there will be more off-topic posts. It gives me more topics to write about. This one is all to do with our household’s decision to become nearly paperless. Kind of a weird topic for someone who wants to see their work on a printed page, eh?

I just started, so there are a lot of things I still have to decide on and I’m sure there will be things I change my tune on as I go. But, one thing I have made my mind up on is to remove the paper clutter than accumulates in our house faster than dust bunnies and dog hair tumbleweeds during shedding season. Most of the paper in our house reminds me of weeds, or adverbs in a manuscript draft.

I’ll clarify what I mean about paperless: right now, it’s just about the junk mail, bills, and assorted content delivered to our home. While we do buy Kindle books, we also still buy real books, too. No, this is about all those loose pieces of paper that require filing and processing and take up room. And lets face it, stacks of papers never get filed. Others are go MIA when we need them. Receipts magically fade before the warranty ends. Then there’s staples and tape and staple removers and paper cuts (oh my!). No, seriously, what happens if there is a fire? And, less paper through the mail means less chance of ID theft. Plus, do you REALLY lock your filing cabinets the way you lock down your computer?

For Christmas, I got a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 and I LOVE it! It’s small and fast and Mac compatible (although it works equally as well with Windows). It scans duplex, does OCR scanning, and lets me set up profiles based on what I need to scan. The resolution beats the tar out of my flatbed scanner – I can clearly read faded receipts. I’m also a geek and I confess, I’m sort of having fun with this. Yeah, I know. I really need a life, LOL!

Anyway, we’ve shed four garbage bags full of cross-cut shredded documents. It’s a wonderful thing. Of course, it has made me even more anal about backups than I already am, but that’s probably another post for another day along with other security minded posts.

Interested in how to get started in your own crusade to go paperless? Check out this site. DocumentSnap

Too complicated you say? No, it’s easy and you can stop at any point where you are not comfortable. My suggestions for baby steps:

1. Eliminate junk mail (there’s plenty of online links – just search for remove junk mail).
2. Get a cross-cut shredder.
3. Set up a small portable file system wherever you bring in your mail. These are cheap, under $15 and often less. I set up some hanging folders in it (bills, review, action, coupons, shred, file, scan). This allows me to process all incoming paper before it spreads through the house. I immediately open all mail and trash or sort accordingly.

With these alone, you’ll be amazed at the reduction of the prolific paper bunnies that clutter your home. Stay tuned with my paperless journey. I didn’t talk about online banking and bill pay and eBills just yet for a reason. I’ll post more tips/baby steps as I go. I’m such a geek that you’d be amazed at what I’ve already done with my paperless process!

Now, do an aspiring author a favor and go read a book. 😉 What I’m reading now: The Dark Tower VII by Stephen King. Yeah, I’m a little behind on that series. If you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?

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5 thoughts on “Going Paperless

  1. Interesting goal! I’ve been trying to stop my bills & such from coming by mail lately, but struggling – my postal code doesn’t technically exist. Yes, I’ve been living in this townhouse since it was built in June, but if you look up my address in Google Maps, Mapquest, or most any online company… it doesn’t exist!

  2. Jess – LOL! Now, if only the bills didn’t exist, right?

    Yeah, it’s an interesting goal. One that originally stemmed from just wanting to get rid of ALL clutter, paper or not.

  3. Great post! Thanks for the link to DocumentSnap. By the way, I love love love the Dark Tower series. I was so sad when I had finished VII that I started in on the graphic novels.

    • Thanks, Brooks! No problem on the link – It’s a tremendous wealth of information for anyone wanting to go paperless. In fact, the best I’ve found!

  4. Pingback: Getting SuperGeeky: Paperless Workflow w/ my Mac & Hazel | Michelle Muto – Author

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