Hello friends! I have been MIA for a few weeks because I have been in packing HELL. My house went under contract at the beginning of February and we scheduled closing in the first week of March, but I signed a lease on our new home to start March 1. That gave me exactly three weeks to pack up an entire house all by myself! What?! What kind of crazy person does that? Me. I’m that crazy person.
Anyway, it took every ounce of energy and every moment of free time I had to pack all my stuff (and I have a crap-ton of stuff, it turns out!) and be out in time. We moved into our new place about four days ago and I am now working my tail off to unpack and get settled in, all while trying to keep two kiddos happy and entertained. Mama. Is. TIRED.
But, we are excited about our new beginning in our new city and I am slowly but surely starting to make our new place feel like home. One of the things I’ve had to try to figure out in our new space is my lack of an office space. Instead of having an extra room to set up a home office, I’m now confined to a little nook in my master bedroom. I’ve had to come up with some creative ways to create a functional office space while taking up as little physical space as possible. One way I’m doing that is by going paperless.
Going paperless is a practice I’ve been meaning to implement for a few years now, but laziness has always kept me from jumping in head first. Now that my hand is being forced, I’m excited about all the benefits of having a paperless office! It will reduce clutter (yay!), save time (no more filing!), and increase security of sensitive information. Even though I’m still learning how to fine-tune my paperless system, there are a few key tools I’ve found are essential for doing it right.
How to Start Your Paperless Home Office
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Inbox. First, set up an inbox where you’ll put every piece of paper you need to add to your paperless office files. I keep a wooden inbox that I found at HomeGoods near my desk where I’ll drop paperwork throughout the week. At the end of the week (okay, maybe every two weeks), I’ll spend a few minutes turning those pieces of paper into digital files on my computer.
Scanner. You’ll need a good scanner to turn those papers into digital files. I bought the Fujitsu ScanSnap and I love it! It’s small and portable (which means I can keep it in a drawer until I need to use it) and it gets the job done relatively quickly.
Scannable. Or, you can use a pretty nifty app called Scannable that will scan your documents using your iPhone camera. This is a great way to scan important receipts so you can throw them away before they even come into the house!
Dropbox. If you use Scannable or something similar, you’ll want to drop the file into your Dropbox folder so you can upload it to your main computer later on. Dropbox is also a great way to share your digital files in case you need to send a document to someone quickly. I love Dropbox!
Evernote. This program is pretty much a digital filing cabinet. Evernote is a workhorse for creating multiple files (and files within files). It’s very easy to use and can incorporate many different types of files, like PDFs, Word docs, Excel files and text files.
Shredder. Once you’ve scanned and uploaded your documents into your digital filing system, it’s time to shred! I got a cross-cutting shredder with a pull out waste basket. It’s awesome! I’m kinda obsessed with shredding now; who knew it could be so much fun?!
Filing Box. So, there are some documents that you really should hold onto no matter what. For me, I still hold onto tax records for seven years. I also hold onto really special artwork my kids make for me. For these papers, I’ll keep a small filing box that I store in my closet. You can always scan these documents too just to have a backup copy, but definitely hold onto the papers you simply can’t part with (or legally shouldn’t part with!).
So that’s how I’m starting my paperless home office system! So far I love it and it really helps save on space and clutter, especially in my new tiny home office. I don’t know why I didn’t start doing this sooner!
Have you started going paperless yet? How is it working out for you?