The Case for Going Paperless

As I shared in my first cloth diaper review, I am not very green.  I cloth diaper because it is cheap.  I breastfeed because it’s free.  I wash all my clothes (except diapers) in cold water because it saves on the electricity bill–same with the CFL bulbs we have in every fixture.  I buy consignment store and otherwise used clothing because (you got it!) it’s dirt cheap.  We painted our house with zero-VOC paint, not because it was green, but because I was pregnant and it was safe.  We take metal to the scrapyard for the money, not the karma.  All of this adds up, and probably does a little to shrink our carbon footprint, but I’m sure our footprint is still a pretty sizable one.  Just not Bigfoot-worthy.

In addition to all the other green-by-chance stuff that we do as a family, I have also been on a(n incredibly long) journey to go paperless.  As with everything else, this is less about being green and more about the fact that I hate clutter.  With a passion.

I started this by swapping as many bills as possible to paperless billing–hubby is better at this than me, so he gets almost no paper bills.  The bills (and other mail, though it seems that we mostly get bills!) get opened, unfolded, dealt with if necessary, and then stacked neatly in the “inbox” on my desk.  At some point the pile gets about half an inch thick and I break out the scanners.  (Yes, that’s plural.)

Things that are multiple pages (or are front & back) get scanned on my HP all-in-one (it’s a C410, but I’m not sure of the exact model.  C410a, I think).

Don't buy this if you have a Mac! it's a bitch to get (and keep) running properly. It's probably awesomely Windows-compatible, though.

Things that are a single, front-only page, or are smaller than a regular page, or are otherwise “irregular” (pamphlets I don’t want to take apart, anything previously stapled that I don’t feel like getting jammed in the auto feed where the staples used to be, etc.) get scanned by our Ion Copy Cat handheld scanner.

This little baby comes with its own bag, cord, software, and a microSD, too. I'm not sure what size, though.

If it’s something that might need to be accessed on-the-go, then it gets sent to Evernote (seriously, if you aren’t using Evernote yet, start now, right this second).  Their OCR (optical character recognition?) technology makes images of all kinds instantly text-searchable.

I wish Evernote were paying me to tell you how awesome they are, but sadly, I just love them enough to do it for free.

Then it all gets tossed!  (Sorry, not recycled.)

So why am I telling you all of this?  Because my life is so much smoother, my brain less cluttered, and my desk so much prettier, that I felt it needed to be shared.  I’ve still got a long way to go in my own paperless journey:

Little by little, this filing cabinet is getting scanned and going the way of the dodo bird.

But nothing is sweeter to me than seeing a hierarchy of organized files on my computer and ZERO papers on my desk.

Yeah, that's pretty sweet.

Okay, kisses from my kids are probably sweeter.  But not by much.

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