One thing that downsizing has taught me is that paper takes up a lot of space. So going paperless at home was a must for me, and now I’m going to share with you how to create a paperless home so that you can do the same!
If you’re anything like me, you have the best intentions for keeping your paperwork organized, but sometimes life gets in the way and things go awry.
Suddenly you realize that the house has papers scattered all over the place with bills you need to pay, subscriptions you want to cancel but haven’t gotten around to yet, and just a bunch of papers you don’t really need or know how they came into the home to start with.
I honestly got tired of it all, so I decided to take a proactive approach by going paperless at home.
My thoughts about the process of going paperless at home
Overall, the hardest part of going paperless is the time it takes to scan documents you need, and that really wasn’t difficult. It just didn’t happen in the blink of an eye. 😉
I was sent the Epson RapidReceipt RR-600W to assist me in this process and it made everything seamless! I’ll share more about it in a moment.
One thing I know that changed the game was already having my paperwork decluttered and organized. I could just take a file and scan it into my digital organizing system, which saved a lot of time!
How to create a paperless home – Step-by-step
While it could be fun just to grab a scanner and get to work, I don’t recommend that!
Instead, I recommend you take the time to set things up to help the process be as efficient as possible.
Here is my step-by-step guide for going paperless that I guarantee will make creating your own paperless home far easier and quicker! Plus, you’ll be more organized in the end so that you can actually find the documents you’ve digitized.
Step 1 // Gather all of the paper in your home
The first thing you need to do is gather every piece of paper in your home so that you know by the end of this process your home will be completely paperless.
You need to gather everything from tax documents and receipts to kids’ art work and junk mail.
Step 2 // Declutter and organize your paperwork
I’ve written a really awesome post about decluttering and organizing your paperwork, so I encourage you to go through that in this step.
Read it here >>> How to Organize Paperwork in Your Home The Easy Way!
Once you’ve completed this step, you’ll know exactly what to scan, toss, unsubscribe from, and most importantly, be one step closer to a paperless home!
Step 3 // Create a digital space for your paperwork
Now that you know what papers you need to keep, it is time to create a digital space that organizes everything.
You can choose a cloud option like Google Drive or Dropbox, external hard drive, or folders on your computer.
Regardless of what you choose, it is important to have a backup stored elsewhere, so choose at least two different options.
Depending on the papers you need to digitize, you could sort things many different ways.
I personally suggest by year, then by what kind of document it is. This will make for the easiest access in the future.
Of course, your documents can vary greatly, but here are a few suggestions:
- Medical Receipts
- Medical Documents – diagnosis or treatment information
- Tax Returns
- Tax Receipts
- Kids’ Art
- Property Documents
- Insurance Policies
- Retirement Information
- Owners’ Manuals – You could also find PDF versions online to save
You may need all of these, just a few, or even different ones that I didn’t mention.
The good news is that it is whatever works best for you.
Step 4 // Prepare for scanning
I learned this step the hard way, so let me save you a lot of time with suggesting this step as a must in this process.
To prepare for scanning, organize your files in the order that your digital space is organized.
If you have files in 2020 ready to go, ensure the papers are in the same order as the sub files you’ve created in your digital space.
From there, make sure you pair the same size of papers together. This will make scanning much more efficient because you can organize once and scan seamlessly. [Trust me, it makes a difference!]
Step 5 // Use the RapidReceipt RR-600W to scan your papers
I did a lot of research to ensure I found the best scanner on the market to make this process as easy as possible. I didn’t want any friction to keep me from keeping my home paperless.
The Epson RapidReceipt RR-600W is honestly the best there is, especially when you follow the steps I’ve laid out for you.
It scans double sided papers as quickly as it scans single sided papers. It doesn’t slow you down at all and ensures you get all the information stored properly.
The one thing I did notice that helps the most is making sure you scan one size of papers at a time. It is easy to add additional papers to the same document, so you won’t have a lot of files to save due to different paper sizes, which I appreciate so much!
For older tax receipts that I need to store, I am able to store all of them [regardless of paper size] all in one file. While I hope to never need them, I have them all together in one place.
For more recent years that include my small business, I am also able to store things in a more itemized way that makes accessing them in the future quick and easy.
I share both of these methods that I used to show you that this scanner is diverse in its capabilities and will work great for whatever your circumstances are.
To lay things out simpler about this scanner, here is a quick pro/con list
RapidReceipt RR-600W Pros:
- Scans quickly in both single and double-sided settings
- In the double-sided setting, it detects blank pages and deletes them.
- Can connect to computer with WIFI
- Is compact in size, which makes storing it great!
- Scans a wide range of page sizes and lengths, so even long receipts get completely scanned
- Software is basic and easy to follow – anyone could use it
- It is so QUIET when scanning!
- It can scan to many different places, including computer folders and cloud options like Google Drive, Dropbox, and more!
- This scanner integrates with bookkeeping software – QuickBooks, Quicken, TurboTax, and more!
- Perfect for homemakers, small business owners, home offices, and even the workplace. Honestly, it is all around great for any job you need to take care of!
RapidReceipt RR-600W Cons:
- Works best when paper is all the same size and the arms keep the papers straight. Otherwise, it jams.
Honestly, that is the only con I have found, which honestly isn’t a concern when you have your papers sorted by size. It only takes a moment to adjust the arms from one size to the next.
Step 6 // Toss/Destroy scanned papers
Once you have a digital copy of your papers, there is no need to keep them.
UNLESS it is a Birth Certificate, Passport, another form of identification, Property Deeds, or another form of paperwork that you are advised to keep the original copy. Consult with your professionals to ensure you keep what is actually necessary and let go of the rest.
Step 7 // Take note of the papers in your toss pile
They key on how to create a paperless home is by taking note of the papers in your toss pile to see how you can reduce it in the future.
Go through your entire toss pile and see what you can switch to digital and unsubscribe from altogether.
You’ll want to switch things like bills and statements to digital options like receiving them via email.
For things you want to unsubscribe from altogether, make a separate pile and schedule a time to call and unsubscribe from them. Yes, it is time consuming, but so is receiving these things in the mail and having to toss them constantly.
I’ve also shared an additional resource below for you to remove yourself from unwanted mailing lists.
How to maintain a paperless home
Once you’ve gone through the initial process of learning how to create a paperless home, there are a few things you can do to ensure it stays this way.
1 // Unsubscribe from junk mail or unwanted subscriptions
While it is time consuming to call everyone that sends you unwanted mail, it is worth it! This reduces the amount of mail that needs recycling before it ever enters the home.
Check out this article for more information about how to stop junk mail.
2 // Swap to paperless billing or estatements
All of your bills and statements can be delivered via email, so swap them all to paperless. You can create a folder within your emails for these emails so you don’t have to worry about finding them in the future.
3 // Create a scanning system for your home
Whether you need to scan on occasion or once a week to maintain a paperless home, creating a scanning system ensures you maintain things with ease.
My husband and I each have small businesses that require us to keep copies of receipts, so I have set up an inbox in my desk drawer to gather all the receipts. Then each time I do our bookkeeping, I scan the coordinating receipts into our system and toss the physical copies.
4 // Audit your papers constantly
The best way to ensure as little paper comes into your home as possible is to constantly audit what you are bringing into your home.
I don’t suggest having a basket to store these things, but rather you do this every day.
While it may sound like a lot more work to do it daily, it honestly only takes a moment and maybe a phone call or two.
The more consistent you are with it, the less time it will take. You may even get to a point where you don’t need to remove yourself from mailing lists for a few weeks or even months.
5 // Say ‘No, thank you!’ to freebies and fliers
Instead of accepting freebies and fliers, take a photo of it. You can do the same with business cards.
There is no need to bring those papers into your home when you only need a few details that a photo can capture for you.
Now that you know how to create a paperless home, I encourage you to get started by ordering your own Epson RapidReceipt RR-600W scanner and going through the step-by-step process I’ve shared.
This system will truly change the way your home feels and will absolutely eliminate a HUGE source of clutter from your home!
I want to thank Epson for sending me their scanner to use in this process of going paperless in my home! I couldn’t have done it as successfully as I did without it.
I’d love to continue this conversation below in the comments! Tell me if you have a paperless home or if you plan to create a paperless home.