How to Go Paperless at Home
Going paperless can save you time and money while contributing to a more sustainable Earth. Here's how to get rid of your paper pile for good!
Purge and Recycle
The first step in going paperless is accounting for all the ways in which you use paper. Once you take stock, it’s time to purge and recycle. Yes, it’s a tedious task, but it’s also a great way to account for everything you currently have in paper format. If there are important items you’re not sure you can throw out just yet, put them in a “save for later” pile. Here are 10 ways to cut down on the amount of trash you generate.
Opt Out of Junk Mail Lists
One of the quickest ways to reduce the amount of unnecessary paper that comes through your home is opting out of junk mail and catalog lists. And, it’s not that hard to do! You can use a service like DMA Choice that helps you stop getting the mail you don’t want. The service also helps you reduce your unsolicited commercial email. If you have lots of plastic grocery bags hanging around the house, check out these 15 brilliant ways to reuse them!
Use Your Smartphone for Notes
Considering you probably bring your phone everywhere, it makes sense that you would store to-do lists on it, taking away the risk of forgetting your sticky note with chicken scratch at home when you need it most! Whether it’s a shopping list or random errands, the Notes app on the iPhone can easily be your paperless notepad. If you’re looking for ultra organization, there are plenty of apps to download that are dedicated to tasks like grocery shopping. Grocery iQ lets you store your grocery list, provides you an extensive database on grocery products and then recommends the best deals for each product in supermarkets near you. Check out these 16 tips for using your smartphone for DIY projects.
DAKboard Wall Display
If you love the visual aid of a paper calendar on your wall or refrigerator, you might be reluctant to switch to your smartphone’s calendar app (although this is a super-easy way to go paperless!). In that case, have your cake and eat it too by purchasing the DAKboard. It’s a simple and elegant way to display your calendar, photos, weather and more. Expect HD 1080p display, wifi connectivity and simple mounting. Shredding paper is among these 12 ways to downsize your home.
Send Invitations Via E-Invite
Whether it’s your annual Christmas card, or an invitation to a Fourth of July party, creating digital greetings and invitations will save you time, money and paper. It will also help others go paperless! The e-invites and greetings are highly customizable, unique and eco-friendly. Check out Paperless Post. It’s the gold standard of paperless correspondence. Check out these 10 ways to prep your house for a holiday party.
Digitize Your Documents
Scanning documents is a surefire way to limit the amount of paper taking up space in drawers throughout your home. To ensure you can easily find them, you’ll want to create labeled folders and subfolders. For tax information, create a tax folder on your computer, and then appropriate subfolders for the type of tax and the year. According to the IRS, “If you retain you records electronically on your computer, you should always have an electronic back-up, in case your hard drive crashes. You should encrypt the files both on your computer and any back-up drives you use. You may have to purchase encryption software to ensure the files’ security.”
The IRS also recommends that, “If you are disposing of an old computer or back-up hard drive, keep in mind there is sensitive data on these. Deleting stored tax files will not remove them from your computer. You should wipe the drives of any electronic product you trash or sell, including tablets and mobile phones, to ensure you remove all personal data. Again, this may require special disk utility software.” Here are 8 DIY home office desk organization ideas.
Sign Up for E-Statements
Another great way to keep paper out of your mailbox is to register with companies you do business with for e-statements and e-bills. Websites and apps have made the paperless option front and center for most companies, and with just a few clicks, you can receive next month’s statement in your email inbox, whether it’s from your bank, cable or utility company. Here are 10 inexpensive upgrades for a more sustainable home.
Make DIY Paperless Paper Towels
When you think of going paperless, the first thing that comes to mind is likely junk mail and coupons, but it also extends to seemingly necessary things like paper towels! Save money and the earth by making your own towels that act like paper but aren’t. An easy sewing project, two yards of fabric will give you more than 10 towels, and it takes so little time to do it! Here’s everything you need to DIY the towels yourself. You can also swap to paperless towels by purchasing them online.
Invest in an E-Reader
Unsubscribe to your daily newspaper and avoid the bookstore after you purchase an e-reader. These lightweight tablets can be your go-to source for reading the news and your favorite novel alike. Sure, it takes away the tangible feel of a soft paperback in your hands or the grit of a newspaper, but if your goal is to go paperless, there’s no better way to get with the times! Find out how to get rid of anything the right way.
Be Persistent! Ask Everyone for Digital Versions
Whether it’s a notice from your kid’s school, a reminder from your dentist or an invitation to a party, remind your friends, family, co-workers and more for a digital version. It may seem pushy, but if your plan is to go paperless in your home, you need to put it out there! Eliminate plastic bags from your life by switching to other options.