Since my printer at home broke down a few months ago, I have come with some creative ways to go paperless and simplify my life. Working from home due to the COVID-19 crisis has also given me time to declutter, digitize paperwork and do things more efficiently using some cool gadgets and an array of online tools.
I have seen a marked difference in the amount of clutter around the home, less paper waste ending up in the recycling bin, and better organization via digital means. A scanner might be useful, but I’ve decided never to repurchase a printer – it’s a thing of the past!
Credit card offers, medical records, insurance forms, bills, bank statements, receipts, coupons, and junk mail keeps piling up, and it’s gone out of control. At your ‘every so often’ de-clutter session, you wonder how you have accumulated so much paperwork and junk mail. Then it would be best if you worked out what to keep and what to throw away. It’s all a big mess!
Simple ways to go paperless at home
Here are some simple ways to de-clutter around your home and save the planet by going paperless.
1. Switch to electronic billing
Sign up to receive e-statements and electronic bills where possible. Most institutions are now environmentally conscious and therefore have included the options to notify you electronically.
2. Reduce junk mail
Sign up for services like DMA Choice to reduce the junk mail and opt-out of any useless online subscriptions that you may ‘accidentally’ signed up to. 😉
3. Digital subscriptions
Keep tabs on your magazine and newspaper subscriptions and opt-out for physical copies where possible. You can access local/world news and most things online these days.
4. Digitize paper documents
Scan as you go with the Scanbot Pro App, which works for both Android and iOS. It produces good quality scans and does not transmit your data to its servers. If you have a large pile of papers or want to keep it ‘old school’ check out the Brother ADS-1250W, which doesn’t take much space (less than the width of a laptop), has an automatic document feeder, and can be connected via Wi-Fi. The reviews for this cool gadget are good and are recommended at Wirecutter.
5. Organize your digital files
Never put files on the desktop. Organize your digitized files and folders strategically on your computer device so that it’s easy to find. The video below guided me towards organizing my stuff efficiently.
6. Backup your files automatically
Back up your files automatically on a regular basis using an external drive like this Samsung Portable SSD which has a capacity between 250GB to 2TB. It’s an easy set and forget method, and I’ve found this cool gadget to be secure, fast, compact, and durable.
7. Switch to an E-Reader
Physical books are a thing of the past, to me anyway, for the sake of our planet. Switch to an Amazon kindle and move away from paper books. Eliminating physical books will free up a surprising amount of space in your home and will save a few forests around the world.
8. Digitize your signature
Another way to simplify your life is to ditch the pen and paper and digitize your signature. Electronic signatures are more secure (than traditional paper documents), convenient, faster to turn around, and cost-effective. Here are some simple and free online apps that I’ve been using that’s helped me provide my autograph via my phone device in minutes:
- NitroSign – professional and secure solution, free for individuals from 2020.
- SmallPDF – quick and free on the go solution to sign PDFs from your mobile device.
9. Recycle and purge
Sorting through your existing paperwork around the home and deciding what to keep and throw away can be a tedious and draining task. Being a lazy person, I watched few online videos and found the following KonMari method to be the easiest way to recycle and purge papers around the house.
What worked for me may not work for you, so Youtube is the best answer to this. Just get onto it, and you’ll feel the weight off your shoulders once it’s done.
10. Buy recycled essentials
Rethink your toilet paper, paper towel, and facial tissue paper products and usage. Buying recycled toilet paper and reusable cloth towels will go a long way towards saving the number of trees cut down every year.
Benefits to your home and our planet
Here are some reasons why you should make it a priority to go paperless at home.
Better for the planet
If every person in the world is committed to reducing their paper usage and recycling, it would make a big difference in deforestation and reduce the paper waste pilling up at landfills.
Reduce clutter around your home
You will also have less clutter around the house with no signs of papers stacked up in different places and old dusty filing cabinets full of old irrelevant paper documents.
Stay relaxed and organized
You can search, view and sign documents via your computer or online applications. You need not stress about searching for that old bill or tax return form hidden away in a filing cabinet or some random place.
You can save money on printers, papers, ink, paper statement fees, and storage solutions for storing what essentially will probably equate to a small tree inside your home.
Check out other easy ways of living smarter and helping our fragile planet here.