We all have too much of it. It rests on countertops, topples off desks, and is ringed with coffee cup stains. It’s paper. While we can organize it, file it and recycle it, we can also minimize how much paper comes into our home in the first place. Here are a few easy steps to achieving a paperless home.
· Eliminate junk mail – To stop unwanted catalogues and junk mail every week visit http://precycle.tonic.com. For $10, the Web site will stop most direct mail including advertisements, circulars, pre-approved credit card and mortgage offers, sweepstakes and other mailers. You’ll see results in about 90 days. It will even plant 5 trees on your behalf. It’s a small investment to make a big difference.
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· Do business online – Nearly every bank, credit card, insurance company and service provider offers customers online banking and bill payment centers. Most offer online tools to ask questions, seek customer support, store electronic bills, and retrieve data like medical information or passwords.
· Shop online – Shop online instead of from catalogs that clog our mailboxes. At Catalogs.com, you can click on and shop among 500 online catalogs from dozens of categories. It also offers savings specials.
· Less paper at home – Thanks to the Internet and computer programs, we no longer need to keep paper calendars, recipes, address books, and lists. You can retire dusty piles of phone books, recipe books, maps and reference books. You can also scan material that you want to reference later and store it in your computer and recycle the paper version. Be sure to back up your computer regularly.
· Less paper at school – Encourage your children’s school to go paperless. More and more schools, day care centers and clubs are using Web-based sources to route communication electronically. Companies like SchoolSpeak manage all aspects of communication for schools, including electronic newsletters, announcements, calendars, homework, lunch program, grades and volunteer sign-ups. It’s accessible from anywhere and is privacy-protected.
· Less paper at work – Bring home non-confidential, discarded papers home and let your children draw and color on the back of them. At the office, print electronic files to pdfs and store them rather than keeping paper files.
· Travel paperless – Most airlines, hotels and rental car companies will offer tickets and confirmations electronically. You no longer need to travel with a paper boarding pass or a file full of confirmations if you have a smart phone that can display email reminders from your travel agent or airline.
With just a little planning and effort, you’ll start to notice fewer stacks of papers around your home and office. That means less time spent sorting, filing and digging through piles and more time doing what you want to do.