At the mention of the word paperless, the first images that come to mind are those of an office with virtually no papers littering the office floor and shelves. Ideally, that’s what a paperless office should look like. However, did you know that you can also go paperless at home? Think of how much paper waste you accumulate through tax returns, bills, and paychecks.
Without a proper method of recycling these wastes, we end up chucking them in landfills. And once there, these wastes create a huge eyesore. Not only that, they also add to the amount of environmental footprint through the emission of toxic gases. Therefore, what would it take to go paperless at home? The following tips might come in handy.
- Start with Paper Mail
Paper mail accounts for a significant portion of paper junk around our homes. Therefore, it is the first area you should address. Instead of operating a paper mail, why not move everything to email? There are various correspondences that you can move to email.
Some of them include mails from friends and family, mails from home improvement contractors as well as mails from your deliverymen. This way, your mailbox will receive only those documents that must be sent by post.
By shifting from paper mail to email, your communications will move even faster. In addition, it is also easier to secure your communication channels. This is because unlike paper email, your emails can only be accessed by you. Anyone else would need authorization to access your mailbox.
- Manage Your Bills Online
Online bills management is yet another great idea if you are thinking of going paperless at home. First, you will need to register for e-billing and then synchronize all your accounts on the platform. You can then use compatible apps and software to manage your receipts online.
You do not necessarily need to have a company to sort your bills online. A regular home has lots of bills to contend with. Think of invoices from your home improvement contractors or statements from your delivery guys.
When choosing bills management platforms, insist on those that come with extra layers of security. The system should also enable you to sort and group your bills accordingly.
- Conduct All Your Business Online
You probably already understand the importance of having a website for your business. But a website performs very little work beyond improving the online visibility of your business. In addition to having a website, you may also consider eliminating paper forms and replacing them with electronic ones.
You can easily digitize functions such as document sharing and reproduction, faxing and even accounting. There are lots of platforms that will help you achieve all that while seamlessly doing away with the need for paper. If you live in a large family, you may even consider holding virtual meetings. All you have to do is install the necessary software such as Skype. You can then schedule appointments instead of sending out circulars as is traditionally the case.
- Store Your Information Online
One major disadvantage of paper documents is their space-wasting nature. With time, these documents pile up and use up all the storage space in your shelves and cabinets. Retrieving information from a bookshelf choked with paper files and folders may seem like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Luckily, you can now move to cloud-based storage and avoid the hassle of bulky paper documents. In the end, you will be able to create space for other stuff around the house.
What information can you store online? Virtually anything. From your education credentials to your identification documents. You can even digitize your phone contacts and home inventory. Of course, that does not mean you discard your original state-issued documents. What it implies is that any copies that would otherwise litter your house are now well-organized in some form of digital files.
- Invest In High-end Scanners
Going paperless is synonymous with eliminating certain equipment such as scanners and photocopying machines. However, not all document production machines are redundant. In the case of scanners, it all comes down to its technological capabilities.
There are certain kinds of scanners that feature document management functions such as archiving and note-taking. Such scanners could greatly help you reduce the need for paper in your home. Most of these scanners integrate with document archiving software such as Evernote. Moreover, you can also plug them into your PC and scan documents straight into your digital folders.
- Digitize Your Old Photos for a Fee
What is better than eliminating paper from your home and earning from it? There are lots of websites that accept old photos. These could be photos of shoeboxes, calendars, and wall hangings, as well as fanciful pictures and drawings in your house.
Examples of these sites include Flickr and Shutterfly. Most websites will require you to sign up for a free account before you can upload your photos. When uploading these photos online, insist on relatively older ones.
For instance, you could be holding on to a shoe box twenty years on. Your sentimental attachment to the box lingers depending on how much you valued the shoes. Items of fashion that date back twenty years ago could easily qualify as vintage. Besides, sites that deal in antiques and vintage products such as Etsy might be interested in photos of such items.
- Digitize Your Wallet
Credit cards take up considerable space in our wallets. This is especially true for old credit cards and other identification documents that we hold on to for security reasons. Therefore, we end up tagging them along wherever we go while they only add to unnecessary baggage.
Apart from their overwhelming nature, carrying credit cards wherever you go comes with extra security concerns. What if your personal identification documents and credit card information slip into the wrong hands? Criminals could use them to their disadvantage. Before you know it, your bank accounts and other sensitive information would have been compromised.
Why not digitize them? From your ID card, driver’s license and even bank cards; no document is too difficult to convert into a digital wallet. Of course, you will need a reliable identity theft protection software, to be sure your information does not slip into the wrong hands.
Lastly, you may consider recycling paper documents that you do not use. Well, this does not imply that you acquire a recycling plant. Instead, you can schedule appointments with recycling companies and have them pick all the paper junk in your home.
Most of these companies have junk hauler services. That means you do not need to deliver the paper junk to their sites. Instead, there are designated drop zones where you can take your piles of paper waste. The companies then take it up from there.
These companies will be able to sort the wastes into different categories for ease of processing. And in most cases, they pay you for availing those raw materials.
Did you ever imagine you could make your home paperless? All what it takes is to identify the documents to dispose and those to convert into digital files. However, you should remember that whatever you do, always be mindful about the safety of your documents.