A Paperless Office… The Frugal Way
One of the biggest sources of clutter in most homes and offices is paper. It's everywhere; and it seems to grow exponentially if unattended! So it should come as no surprise that one of the top ways people try to "go green" is by going paperless.
And even though there are all sorts of fancy scanners and expensive tools you can buy to become more paperless, there are plenty of frugal ways to help you embark on your paperless journey as well.
Here are a few of my favorites.
Notes and Ideas:
I always have so many ideas floating around in my head and I often reach for a sticky pad or scratch paper to write them down. However,Virtual Sticky Notes are a great way to keep ideas right at your fingertips (or on your computer screen) without wasting a bunch of paper. Simply "stick" them to your desktop and add or remove ideas as needed. Most Apple products come with virtual sticky notes, but you can download free PostIts for PC's here.
Evernote is a great way to store and sort all your ideas... from upcoming projects and research, to recipes and home design ideas. You can even store audio clips, video clips, pictures, and more. Plus, you can access your ideas from any computer, tablet or smartphone. No need to print anything!
Calendars and To-Do's:
If you haven't switched over to a digital calendar, now might just be the time to start.
Google calendar is an extremely popular (and free) paperless calendar that is accessible from any computer, tablet or smartphone. Another feature I love about Google calendars is that you can create multiple calendars for different family members, different group projects, etc. and then share some or all of the information with others.
When it comes to to-do lists, I'm always looking for new ideas. I like to have multiple to-do lists for different areas of my life, and virtual to-do lists are a great way to save some paper. Here are 25 different to-do Apps for the iPhone and here are a few more to-do Apps for Android phones.
Instead of printing documents, I try to email them whenever possible. I save them as PDF's so that any computer or device can open my documents. Most newer computers have the capability to save documents as PDF's, but if yours doesn't, you can download CutePDF for free and turn any of your Word, Excel, or Publisher files into PDF documents.
Googles Docs and Dropbox are two of my favorite ways to save any type of file online. Both programs offer a huge amount of free online storage, and they also make it really easy to share documents with family, friends and coworkers (so you don't always need to print or email documents).
In my own experience, I've found that one of the main reasons people print so many documents (or make multiple copies) is because they think they need the extra copies for group meetings. If you're involved in lots of group collaboration, I recently wrote an entire post about virtual group collaboration tools that you might want to read.
By implementing just a couple of these simple ideas and making a conscious effort to use less paper, you'll not only be doing your part to help the environment, but you might just save a bunch of money on paper and ink!