We all have those books, documents, and various other papers that tend to clutter our mailbox and our desk. In this video, I talk about how I decluttered my papers and now going paperless.
As part of the decluttering paper process we first need to define which segment we want to tackle first.
There are two major areas:
- Books and Magazines.
- Legal, Bills and Financial Documents.
1. Books and Magazines
When dealing with books and magazines, first bring everything into one place. Decide which books you really need to keep as a hard copy. If you are looking for a structured way of decluttering books I recommend reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It’s a good give as you get started with the decluttering process.
I didn’t keep any hard copies of my books. There were a few textbooks and binders that I had from college that I thought that the information was valuable enough that I wanted to keep it. But I did not want to hold on to the hard copies. I found this service called 1dollarscan.com. I signed up for their platinum service for a few months that helped me convert all my books to a digital format. It also synced the books with my third-party cloud services such as Evernote and Dropbox. Now I have those textbooks backed up in a couple of places.
1dollarscan.com has different kinds of service levels. The platinum service that I chose was to very simple. I mailed them all my books, textbooks, and binders. They would start scanning all them over a span of couple weeks. As the books get digitized, I am notified to check and see if everything is in good order. Once scanning and converting to PDF and Kindle formats was completed, the textbooks and binders were shredded and recycled.
I can now fine tune and read these books on my phone, kindle, laptop or any other device of my choice.
2. Legal, Bills and Financial Documents
I use a service called file this. I use the forever free version because I have less than six connections. But their premium and ultimate plans are extremely reasonable, and I think you will love it.
Once a week this service will automatically fetch, your bank utility and credit card statements and then store it in a well-named folder structure to a cloud storage of choice. You also have the option of storing it locally on your computer. I use Evernote because of their fantastic search tool.
It’s one of the best ways to reduce paper clutter and go eco-friendly.
Now there may be some old documents and statements that you might need to scan. If you don’t want to use the Evernote app on your phone, I recommend getting the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 if you have a large volume of papers to deal with. If you do not have a large volume, then I recommending getting a portable document scanner.
When dealing with financial documents you need to know how long you need to keep these records. I use Use Suze Orman’s recommendations as a guide. Please do check with your financial advisor. In most cases, documents can be stored digitally, but there are some documents and financial statements that you might need to have a hard copy.
Once your documents are scanned it’s important to shred sensitive information. I recommend finding a shredder while you are doing your mass shredding process. But do keep this in mind, once you have decluttered most of your paper documents, you will find that you no longer need this shredder. I now gather most of the paper in a shredding envelope and once ever 6 months I go to FedExKinkos locations to shred my papers. I think they charge around .50 cents per pound of paper.
These are the methods and tools that I use to declutter paper and go paperless.
What methods have you used while decluttering your papers? Let me know in the comments below.
Disclaimers: All opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinion and values of the company that provides the services and products. This post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal advice. Please consult your local legal or financial advisor as you declutter important documents.