If you are like me you struggle with paper clutter. Do you love to receive magazines and have a hard time letting go of your kids' schoolwork? I love to get cooking and fitness magazines. These often pile up because there are articles or recipes I want to keep. Receipts, bills and your child's precious artwork arrives daily and needs a place to go. It's hard to get organized.
I've tried cutting out the articles and saving them in a file or binder. Even then I still can't find that great chicken recipe I saw last month. Plus the binders and filing cabinets start to fill up. I get overwhelmed with the constantly increase "stuff" in my house caused by all this paper.
Is it possible to go paperless at home or in your business? We may never get away from using paper entirely but we can dramatically decrease the amount of paper in our lives.
The best way to reduce paper clutter is by digitizing it. It sounds complicated but don't worry, the process is pretty easy. You probably already have a printer at home and chances are that printer has a scanning option. The majority of printers sold these days are "all in one" allowing you to print, scan or fax your documents.
When scanning in documents you can either save them to your computer, an SD card or email them to yourself. (depending on the options your all in one printer has). Whichever option you choose you can then save them on your hard drive or better yet into Evernote.
Why is Evernote a good place to save your documents? Because you can access your notes via the web, your pc, mac, or mobile device. Evernote syncs across all of these platforms. Organize your notes into relevant notebooks and give them tags. I have financial, travel, receipt and recipe notebooks just to name a few.
Did I forget to mention that Evernote is Free? There is a premium, paid option but unless you are a heavy user you probably don't need it. The free version allows you to upload 60 MB of notes each month with no account maximum.
Another amazing thing about evernote is that it can read the text in the picture of that recipe you just scanned. So even if you haven't put that note into any notebooks or added any tags you can search for "chicken" and the recipe can be found.
The bonus is that you don't need to tear out the pages in your magazine anymore. You can scan the pages you want to save, add them to Evernote and then donate the magazine to a local nursing home!
If you are like me the scanning and decreasing of clutter will be an ongoing process. We didn't accumulate thousands of pages of documents, kids' artwork, projects and receipts overnight. Going paperless is easy but isn't necessarily fast. The next time you want to show Grandma the A your son got in Math and you can just email her the Math paper from Evernote you will be thankful you've taken the time.
Your printer doesn't have a scanning feature? This can be inconvenient but there are other great options for document scanning. Take a photo of it on your mobile device! I often use the CamScanner App on my iphone for just this purpose. I can easily crop and edit the photo and then upload the pdf right to Evernote. Note: the free version of Evernote does not support searching the text in a pdf document so you will need to tag these notes. There are also a number of good scanning wands available for less than $100.
Have you tried to go paperless? Share your experiences in the comments below or on Facebook. In full disclosure I must tell you that I am an affiliate of Evernote since I l.o.v.e, love this product. I have used this application since January 2009 and have over 8500 notes! (This is peanuts compared to some users who have over 30,000)
Lori Thayer is passionate about finding ways to have the best life, from healthy eating, healthy living, saving money and enjoying life. She is excited to share these tips with others. Improve your health with her FREE article "5 Easy Habits To Improve Your Health". Sign up now in the upper right corner of this page.