Tired of having paperwork all over your home and office? Good news – I’m going to teach you how to go paperless at home! It’s easy and inexpensive to go completely digital with your file cabinet and get rid of all that unneeded paper clutter! And bonus – it can all be done from your phone without buying a scanner!
You’ve Kon Mari’ed your life. The closets have been purged, the kitchen organized, and you’re not quite sure how a random t-shirt sparks joy, but you’re feeling lighter, and it feels great.
Sound familiar? We’re in the middle of a minimalist revolution. Less is more and experiences are king. Even bloggers like myself are specializing in helping you organize your life; though I’ve always been an organized planner who can’t stand clutter.
‘Paperless’ may sound like a funny term for a blogger who designs printables to use, however there is a difference between your to-do list and planners, and the receipt for your electric bill from 3 months ago. You’re actively using those lists and planners. You’re rarely digging out your trail of bills to use.
Before I teach you how to go paperless, let’s talk a few important note.
WHY WE WENT PAPERLESS
I decided to take our file cabinet digital after watching a bin with bank statements, receipts and bills pile up to be filed away.
While I normally love organizing, it was driving me crazy staring at the pile to be filed. I wasn’t organizing the paperwork to make my everyday life easier and it felt like unnecessary clutter. In today’s world it’s easy to go online and find a PDF of a user’s manual and you’ll be hard pressed to find a company that doesn’t archive your statements electronically.
There truly is no reason to keep those paper copies lying around, and this was an important revelation for a gal who loves a hand written list and planner.
Not all of your documents can go digital. Marriage licenses, birth certificates, social security cards – they’re all examples of documents that you need to have an original copy of.
We store these important documents in a small, fire proof safe along with our passports and other items, and I recommend you do the same with a safe similar to this.
TIP: Scan a copy of your passport so when you’re traveling you have this digitally available should something happen to your passport.
A NOTE ON TAXES
2019 was the first year that we did our own taxes online and received a copy of our return digitally. Prior to this year I’ve hired that service out which resulted in a mailed paper copy of my tax return.
Since the government recommends keeping seven years of taxes on hand I do have six years of returns that I did not turn into a digital file due to the sheer volume of scanning that would be involved. Instead I put them in a binder that is easily stored on shelves in our home office and does not require an entire file cabinet.
HOW TO GO PAPERLESS
The big question is ‘how can you go digital?’ Well I have good news – it’s really easy! You can do it from your phone while watching Netflix, easy. Because that’s exactly what I did, and I’m here to show you how.
SIGN UP FOR E-BILLS AND E-STATEMENTS
Before you start your journey to get rid of the current paperwork you have I recommend going to all of your accounts and seeing if you can move to paperless. This will reduce the amount of paperwork coming into your home making it much easier for you to keep on track with your new paperless system.
The cost of paper, printing and mailing is quite expensive for businesses, so most companies will happily offer you the option to go paperless.
If you’re nervous that you won’t be able to find archived statements of previous bills or accounts than poke around your account to ensure that you can find those before flipping over to paperless.
DOWNLOAD EVERNOTE AND SCANNABLE ON YOUR PHONE AND COMPUTER
Now that you’ve reduced the amount of paper coming into your home, you’re ready to begin the process of going digital by downloading the Evernote app on your phone.
Evernote is an organization app that lets you create and store notes into ‘Notebooks’. These notes can be pictures, documents, or you can simply type notes into your notebook.
To start, download the Evernote app on your phone and create your account.
Both a free and a paid version of Evernote is available, and I do recommend you upgrade to the paid version.
Next, using the + sign create Notebooks for the categories you need to file away your digital version of your paperwork. Don’t worry if you forget a category or want to rename a category; items can be moved around easily.
Once you have Evernote set up navigate back to your app store and download the app ‘Scannable’. A product of Evernote, Scannable is designed to quickly and easily scan your paperwork right from your phone and into Evernote.
Sign into your Evernote account on the Scannable app and now your two accounts are linked.
SCAN YOUR PAPERWORK
Scanning your paperwork in is super easy. When you open the Scannable app you’ll see a blue box on your phone screen. Simply place the box over your piece of paper and the app will create a snapshot.
If your document is longer than one page turn the paper over and keep scanning until all of the pages of your document are scanned in.
When you’re finished with the document press the blue checkbox on your screen.
Important: Anything you scan that is one page will automatically save as a .jpg unless you change it to a .pdf. I recommend saving these as PDF’s so they’re easier to send and print should you need them.
To make sure your one page document saves as a PDF press the image picture and the file type will automatically switch to a PDF.
Press ‘Save’ and you’ll have the option to save to Evernote. At this point all of your notebooks that you created will come up for you to choose from. Pick your notebook, press save, and that’s it!
To scan the next document simply go back to the main scanning screen, make sure you delete old scan, and start scanning your next item.
ORGANIZE YOUR DIGITAL PAPERWORK
Since you did the work up front to create your file categories you shouldn’t have to rearrange your documents. However, you may decide that you want to create additional categories or move items around.
To move a document to a different or new notebook simply navigate to the screen of the document and press the three dots in the upper right-hand corner (on iPhone). Choose ‘Move Note’ and pick the notebook you’d like to move your item to or create a new notebook. It’s that easy!
Congratulations – you’ve gone paperless! It may seem strange at first; after all, we have attachments to routines that we’re comfortable with, however you’ll be able to access and email yourself any document you need in just a few clicks. It won’t be long before you don’t even miss all that paperwork, and now you can get rid of that filing cabinet and clear up more space in your home!
TELL ME: Have you gone paperless? If not, would you consider it? What roadblocks do you foresee that are holding you back?