– by MarinerTeresa

This is a picture of my desk.

Paperless

It is almost pathologically clean.

It wasn’t always like that. Seriously. My desk had stacking trays filled with paper. I had those organizers where you stack file folders. I even had a set of some file organizers from Ikea that I bought at an impossible price.

Here’s where they are now:

Paperless

Yes, that’s my basement. And, yes, it is inhabited by aliens who are pathologically messy.

Going paperless was the best thing I ever did. I was always a fairly organized person, but honestly, the clutter that file folders, stacking trays, and other such items created left me breathless. I would sit at my desk to begin a project only to find myself having to organize my workspace. By the time I finished doing that, I had lost the interest and the energy to work on what I had originally wanted to do. I absolutely love the fact that now, when I sit at my desk, I can begin to work on a project immediately. Don’t get me wrong. I still have a file cabinet – but all the paper I choose to keep, fits into 2-drawers, with room to spare.

How does one begin to go paperless? Well, there are all sorts of websites that give all kinds of advice. After reading a lot of them, I will share with you what I did and as you can see, it was quite successful.

  • Get into the mindset of “I can do this.” You are the ruler of your own universe.
  • Take small steps. If you get all your boxes of paper with the idea of scanning it all, you are setting yourself up for failure and discouragement. It’s only February, so just go back to January 1st. It will be more manageable and it will be enough to help you set up your own peculiar filing system. Don’t worry about “going back” – go forward instead.
  • Don’t shred stuff immediately. Double check your work. You may need to rescan something.
  • Be ruthless. Once you confirm your scanned document – start shredding. Don’t second guess yourself. If you need to, get a friend to shred the paper for you.
  • Keep some paper. There are some documents that you will want to keep. Just make sure that you’re not making that decision with every piece of paper.
  • Don’t let it pile up. Set aside one hour a week and scan all the stuff you’ve accumulated.
  • Buy a ScanSnap scanner. Seriously. These things are fast, fast, fast. The quality is fantastic and the results fulfill the IRS requirements for scanned documents.
  • Get a good shredder and use it. Remember – scan and then shred.

So what do you do with all that shredded paper? Recycle, of course. You can also do what I do with my shredded paper. Buy yourself a good charcoal chimney — I use the shredded paper to light my charcoal fires for grilling. I like to think of it as the “circle of life.”

If you’ve gone paperless and have some tips to share. Let us know.

Happy scanning!

P.S. Remember to pick up your copy of Paperless for Mac or Windows for 50% off. Use coupon code: PLFEB. Shop Now