Ah, Spring Cleaning. It’s right around this time of year that we all do our best to whip things into shape. There are probably more than just a few ways that you can tidy up your life, and going paperless is one of the best ways to become more organized.
There are many benefits to going paperless. You’ll have an incredibly easy time staying organized, you’ll be able to eliminate clutter, you’ll save money…the list goes on.
Wouldn’t you love to find information with a few keystrokes, rather than rifling through a filing cabinet? Of course you would! And going paperless is easier than you might think.
Here are five quick steps to help you digitize your home or office for some extreme organization.
1. Scan Them. Scan Them All.
You can start your paperless revolution by simply scanning all the stuff you’ve already got in physical form.
Unless you’ve started your professional life sometime within the last two years, it’s a safe bet that you’ve got a ton of paper information around. Consider setting aside an hour or two each day, and dedicate that time to scanning until you’ve got all your information digitized.
You can also get help from gadgets like the NeatDesk, which is an awesome device that will digitize all your information for you. This way, you can continue living in the future even if you work with others who still enjoy using good, old-fashioned paper.
As the MintLife Blog elaborates:
“Crucial documents are a lot safer and put onto a cloud storage service (or two), than they are just sitting around your house. How many times have you hunted for the right paperwork? How much easier would it be to find on your Google Drive?”
2. Purge What You Can.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to hold onto every important document that you’ve got. You can always scan things, but even then, you can cut down on digital storage space by not keeping the things that you don’t need to keep.
So how do you know what to keep and what to trash? There are a couple of quick guidelines.
Papers like income statements, tax documents, and banking documents should be kept for seven years.
Papers like estate planning documents, tax returns, divorce documents, and retirement plan reports you keep forever.
Otherwise, it’s off to the recycling bin! Just be sure to shred or otherwise destroy any documents that may contain sensitive personal information such as your Social Security number.
4. Use Apps
With the rise of the smartphone and tablet computer, the phrase “there’s an app for that” has become less of a clever tagline and more a simple statement of fact. Indeed, there are many apps that can help you out when it comes to going paperless.
Lemon can help you reduce your clutter by allowing you to photograph receipts and store them on your smartphone for later.
iAnnotate PDF cuts down on paper documents by allowing you to make notes on PDF files without ever printing them up.
SketchBook Pro is basically exactly what it sounds like. A digital sketchbook where you can do everything from pencil doodling to watercolor.
JotNot Scanner Pro is an application that essentially turns your iPhone into a document scanner, so you don’t have to go buy a new one.
Card Flick will help you in a serious way by letting you digitize your business cards for easy organization.
4. Sign & Notarize Documents Digitally
Sometimes printing up contracts just so they can be signed, scanned, and then emailed back to the sender is a huge source of unnecessary paper clutter.
You can actually cut out those middle steps by using any number of services that will help you officially sign and notarize things without using any paper.
Services like DocuSign and RightSignature are easy to use and will make your whole life simpler and more efficient.
5. Pick Up e-Reading
Paper books will always be an important part of the reading experience, but you can also try throwing an e-reader into the mix to start cutting down on your paper use.
Whether you’ve already got a tablet or you’re thinking about getting a dedicated e-reader, this is a great way to start digitizing your library.
Share Your Spring Cleaning Organizational Tips
What’s your preferred method for keeping things organized digitally? Sound off in the comments and let the digital revolution continue!
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