Scanning your receipt is a step at the right direction if you want to go paperless. Here is some other useful tips that can help you accomplish this goal.
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An average American creates about 4.5 pounds of trash per day per person per day, and 30% of that is paper. Besides the environmental benefits of using less paper and less energy to transport it all, going paperless will save you time and clutter.
- Avoid using paper towels and napkins; opt for washable cloth towels and handkerchiefs. With the proliferation of clothes washers, washing them is no longer a chore.
- Reduce or eliminate your newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Opt for digital versions and use online resources as much as possible. Besides saving trees, you’ll have less clutter and pay less. You also get the ability to search effortlessly and you can archive electronically if you need to save the information, at all.
- Use your local public library. You can read books, magazines, and newspapers at no cost to you and leave them for other patrons’ use when you’re done.
- Switch to paperless statements and bills. Most of utility providers and banks now offer the service for free.
- Get a tablet pc. This is like a notebook except you can write directly on the screen with the attached stylus pen.
- Pay your bills online. In most cases, it’s also free and has the added benefit of never missing a payment because your check got lost in the mail. You’ll also have a record of having made each payment in case something does go wrong.
- Get yourself off mailing lists. Catalogs, sales circulars, and any number of other advertisements still clutter many mailboxes. Follow the link to an article with details about eliminating junk mail.
- Begin archiving your current paper data.
- Scan at a quality low enough so that the files aren’t huge, but high enough so that your printout will be useful as a copy of the original document. Usually 300dpi is adequate unless you’re archiving photos. Use greyscale scanning to save even more memory.
- Do not save your documents in JPG format, because jpg’s lossy compression creates artifacts that may make your document unreadable and unusable. Use PNG compression for pixel-accurate scans.
- Use a database program that uses keywords to help you organize your scans. For every scan you add to your database, use keywords that mean something to you, like “house payment July 08″ or “laptop receipt 12/23/2008 Best Buy” or “car insurance statement 20090201.” This will allow you to do a search of keywords to locate a document if you need it for something.
- ALWAYS make 2 backups of your most important data, and keep one backup in a different location from your computer: a bank safe deposit box, a friend’s house, and an online backup service are several options.
- Use your printer only when you *need* a paper copy of something. Some people, once they go “paperless,” end up printing everything out and having a hard copy anyway. Avoid this.
- Going paperless will likely require some investment of time up front, but it will also save you time on an ongoing basis. You won’t have to file papers, sort mail, or shuffle all that paper clutter.
- Recycle! When you do get or use paper, see that it gets disposed of properly. Don’t create extra waste by leaving your newspaper behind you on the bus or train; take it home or to the first paper recycling box along your way.
- If you’re afraid of somebody potentially taking control of your computer and stealing all your digitized documents, then store them on an external USB hard drive or USB flash drive, keeping it disconnected from the computer. No hacker has ever learned how to steal data from a drive that is not connected to anything.
- Back up your data. Hardware tends to fail every once in a while, and you definitely don’t want to lose your documents, so make sure you always have a backup copy on a different physical drive.
- When disposing of important paper documents, do not forget to shred them. Just tearing them apart is not enough. You certainly don’t want to become an identity theft victim.
- It makes sense to keep your store receipts around for a couple weeks, just in case you might want to return an item to the store. After that, digitize them: you might need them if you ever find yourself a class member in some class action lawsuit, and paper receipts tend to discolor and become unreadable and thus useless for that purpose after a year or two. Digital copy won’t fade out.
- How to Avoid Creating Trash
- How to Get Rid of Junk Mail
- How to Pack a Waste Free Lunch
- How to Remember to Take Bags With You to the Store
- How to Prevent Identity Theft
Sources and Citations
- ↑ http://www.popularmechanics.com/home_journal/how_to/4234061.html?series=44
- ↑ http://www.ivillage.com/green/home/0,,bmcmtk9k,00.html
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