Going Paperless – First Steps

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I’ve been meaning to get around to this for some time now – a series of posts I call Digital Me. While the focal point of my blog is all about writing and books, I can’t help but notice how popular some of my geeky posts have become. Welcome to the first Digital Me post, Going Paperless.

Going paperless. We’ve all heard about it. Have you not joined in the paperless revolution because it’s just too big a step? Too much work? The good news is you can choose just how far you want to take this project – from clearing out the clutter to keeping all your paperwork in digital format. Well, most of it, anyway. I’d argue there are some things that even though you’ve got a digital copy, I’d still keep the physical. But, I digress.

My goal in this series of posts is to help you break down a big project into small, manageable ones. Breaking down any large project into smaller ones is the fastest way to complete a project, and it’s also the best way I know to get that awesome sense of accomplishment we all crave.

But where to begin? How do you organize all this? The answer is simple: never organize what you don’t plan to keep.

Got that? Good. Now, that in mind, let’s look at what you’ve got coming into the house that you don’t need or can change to a different format.

1. Get rid of physical phone books. You don’t need them. With the internet and several smartphone and device apps physical phone books are just clutter. Aside from dumping them into your recycle bin, here’s how to stop more from being delivered. Opt out at YellowPagesGoesGreen. If you get a local Yellow Pages book, you’ll also need to opt out here: YellowPagesOptOut.

2. Stop credit card offers. If you really want to open a new credit card, it’s easy enough to shop around online to make sure you’re getting the best card for your needs. You have a choice: 5 yrs or permanent. Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (that’s 1-888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com.

3. Stop the junk mail. Do you really need all those catalogs and flyers? The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has a resource to stop the majority of junk mail from coming to your home. Notice I said majority. Just like telemarketers, you’re bound to keep some mail anyway. To add your address to the DMA’s remove from solicitation list, go here: www.dmachoice.org. It’s only for five years, but it’s a start. It may take a month or slightly longer for you to notice the difference.

4. Call & remove yourself from the stragglers. No matter how we try, there are some companies who don’t care or don’t consult the DMA’s list. Or, if it’s a company you’ve ordered items from in the past, you’re likely to get catalogs from them because they naturally assume you’ll want to buy more items from them in the future. You can visit these sites on-line, so unless you’ve just got to see a new catalog every month, call them.

5. Newspapers & magazines: Do you read them all? Unsubscribe to those you don’t have time for any longer. Consider subscribing on-line or getting the subscription on your tablet instead.

There! Wasn’t that easy? Yes, I know that I didn’t tell you to get all your billers via email and all that. Baby steps, remember? Besides, before you do that, we need to talk about security, backups, and a few other things. All that is for another time. Until then!

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