Paper is so passe! Go paperless at home and at the office (and especially the home office) with these easy-to-implement hacks. In 2013, it’s time to go green or go home!
1. Always ask for a digital receipt before the cashier or sales associate rings up your order. Many retailers now offer emailed receipts, and with your unique Shoeboxed email address, you’ll never have to compromise your privacy.
2. Esign your documents without printing anything out. Simply visit HelloSign to get started, and create legally-binding signatures from your desktop or smartphone.
3. Remove paper clutter by scanning your receipts with the Shoeboxed Receipt and Mileage Tracker. Simply snap a photo of each receipt with your phone’s camera and voila – it will be instantly digitized and uploaded to your Shoeboxed account.
4. Eliminate huge stacks of paper clutter with the Fujitsu ScanSnap receipt scanner, which scans up to 25 documents at a time.
5. Change your magazine and newspaper subscriptions from home delivery to online access only.
6. Sign up for monthly paperless billing for all vendors that offer it, such as your Internet provider and power company.
7. Move beyond receipts and begin scanning everything – in your Shoeboxed account, you can digitize and organize everything from business cards to bank statements.
8. Collaborate with colleagues via Google Drive and prevent the marked up paper printout. You can see edits made in real time and always revert back to previous versions of the document.
9. Digitize your entire wallet and leave the plastic at home. Lemon Wallet stores your credit card and membership information, allowing you to keep your information safe and secure at home.
10. Pay your employees with Zen Payroll and skip the paper paycheck.
11. Send electronic faxes without ever hitting the print button with HelloFax.
12. Include your home and business addresses on as many Do Not Mail lists as possible.
13. Download the smartphone app for your airline, and skip the boarding pass print out when you travel. Most carriers now offer the option of simply scanning a barcode on your phone when checking in for your flight.
14. Instead of paper tickets, use Eventbrite’s online ticketing service to attend and create events. Imagine attending a completely paperless conference where thousands of people were able to check in and get a receipt, all without a single scrap of paper!
15. Replace the paper towels in your office with cloth towels.
16. Grab a tablet and skip the bookstore. Save trees and precious office space when you opt for the digital versions of your favorite books.
17. Double check that your paperless billing option is truly paperless – are you still getting those annoying “This is not a bill” statements each month? Contact your service provider and request that all correspondence be electronic only.
18. Replace Post-It notes with white boards.
19. Or, make notes to yourself using your smartphone’s notepad application.
20. If your Kindle just isn’t cutting it, go paperless by visiting your local library. You’ll get to enjoy the weight of a real book in your hands, while Mother Earth will enjoy a greener planet.
21. Toss receipts and paper clutter in the Shoeboxed Magic Envelope and watch as your office goes from “hot mess” to “no stress!”
22. Bring a travel scanner with you when working from the road, and prevent paper buildup right from your hotel room.
23. Skip the hard copy – you probably don’t need it. Unless we’re talking about the deed to your house or car, a digital copy of your document will almost always suffice, even when it comes to your income taxes.
24. Back up your data on an external hard drive so you always have an “extra copy” without having to print any documents or photos.
25. Go paperless by scanning old photos and paper memorabilia that are collecting dust in your closets or spare bedroom. You can keep the memories alive by using an online digital scrapbook.
26. When purchasing electronics, recycle the included paper manual and download a PDF manual from the manufacturer’s website.
27. Use Dropbox to store and share documents online.
28. Opt out of prescreened credit card offers by visiting OptOutPrescreen.com
29. Shred old documents that may contain personal information, then be sure to recycle the paper leftovers.
30. Use a service like BackBlaze to backup your online data. This helps you go paperless by allowing you to store more of your documents in the cloud as opposed to your computer’s desktop or your actual desktop.
31. Purchase recycled toilet tissue for your office bathroom.
32. Use cloth towels instead of paper towels in the office break room and bathroom.
33. If you’re thinking of doing a direct mail marketing campaign, opt for an email blast instead. You can still create the design effect of an old-fashioned postcard without going through the hassle and expense of a paper printout.
34. Instead of printing, go paperless by creating a PDF document and storing it on your hard drive (or in the cloud!).
35. Store your medical records online with services like Microsoft HealthVault. Manage your records and those of your family without having to search for paper records or locate them within your home.
36. Convert your old journals, diaries and idea-filled notebooks into a blog or digital documents. You can scan each page and hire a freelance transcriber to type everything up. Once you’ve created this digital diary, you can add to it at sites like Live Journal or WordPress.
37. Use Wunderlist to manage your monster to-do list, and skip the legal pad. You can create themed lists and categories, and it’s really fun to check off each item and see it move to the bottom of the page within the application – you feel like you’re getting a lot done (and you are!).
38. Connect all of your cloud-based accounts with Glide for iOS. Convert files to different formats, sync all of your accounts and make sure you have access to files while you’re on the go. Glide helps you go paperless by making it incredibly easy to work within the cloud.
39. If you’re a Microsoft user, Skydrive allows you to save all of your documents within a single application, and work with Excel, Word or PowerPoint right from your smartphone.
40. Choose the print to PDF option when you find yourself wanting to print or save emails. You can also simply star the emails you’d like to save, label them, and/or archive them.
41. If you have sensitive documents that you’d like to store online, you can create an encrypted document that is password protected. Open source software like TrueCrypt allows you to do this without the need for printing or storing your documents locally.
42. Go paperless in every department – even the accounting department – with Xero. If you’re a small business owner, Xero’s easy interface makes sharing your finances with your accountant a breeze. Connect all of your bank accounts, allow your employees and clients to see real time updates, manage payments and invoices, and create gorgeous financial reports.
43. Part of going paperless is getting organized, and Manilla lets you do just that. Instead of logging in to account after account, checking balances and updating information, Manila lets you access everything in your life within a single dashboard.
44. Use Nitro to edit PDF documents and convert PDFs to other file formats. PDFs are the last frontier in the fight to go paperless – make your changes online and skip the print out!
45. Use the Shoeboxed Receipt and Mileage Tracker for iOS or Android to stay paperless on the go. When you launch the application, your phone’s camera will be poised and ready to snap a picture of your receipt. From there, your document is instantly beamed to your Shoeboxed account, where it is digitized, categorized and ready to be edited if need be.
46. Remove all pens and pencils from your workspace, and while you’re at it, remove all notebooks and pads as well! If there is no paper around, you’ll be forced to jot down notes, appointments and ideas within the online application of your choice.
47. When in doubt, take a picture – if you’re unsure about whether or not to save a receipt, photo or personal memento, snap a photo of both sides before tossing it in the recycle bin. If the item is financial in nature, you’ll have an IRS-approved digital document ready to go. If it’s personal, you’ll still be able to enjoy the memory without contributing to paper clutter.
48. Replace waiting room magazines and newspapers with eReaders and tablets.
49. Use electronic business cards, and digitize your existing paper business cards.
50. Use CardFlick to share and store contact information with colleagues and business associates. Once you’re connected to a contact within the application, you can call, email or message them directly without having to scroll through your phonebook. The incredible design features let each CardFlick user create a personalized, branded contact card that doubles as an electronic business card.
How will your office go paperless this summer?
photo credits: www.essexalliance.org, pdfscanner.org, www.apartmenttherapy.com