It’s understandable that transitioning to a more digital lifestyle can be overwhelming. It may not fit everyone’s lifestyle. But for perspective, an average tree can make roughly 5,000-8,000 sheets of copy paper. If you still receive paper copies of any of your bills, think about the number of pages that make up those bills. If one bill is 3-5 pages, you will save at least 36-60 pages of paper a year. Given its potential to reduce pollution and make your life easier, going paperless might be worth trying in an area or two! Just start small. Don’t try to go paperless all at once. Incorporate one or two strategies to start working a paperless organizing system into your lifestyle. Here’s a couple ideas for how you can go paperless:
Switch one or two bills to paperless and give online a try.
Do you still get bills in the mail? Pick one or two that you can transition to online. Worried that you will not remember to pay the bill if the paper bill is not on the kitchen counter or on the desk? Understandable! Set up a reminder system for this. Add an event to your calendar so that you do not forget to check on your bill and pay it. If you use a digital calendar, you can even set up a whole system for reminding yourself to pay your bills. By incorporating this into your calendar or schedule, it will become like a meeting that you cannot forget. If you start with just one bill at a time, this will help you to build the rhythm of paying bills online. We are pretty sure you will love the freedom of paperless billing!
Don’t keep all those user manuals and warranties.
Almost all user manuals are now online. There really is no reason to keep them. It’s much easier and faster to look online if you want directions. If you do want to keep some manuals though, we suggest filing them together. You can break them up according to their subcategory such as small appliances together, large appliances together, electronics together, and so forth. This small portable file box from the Container Store is a great option for storing manuals and warranties. If you are keeping the warranty papers that go with the items, store them in the same hanging file as the manual. If you want to be even more detailed with filing warranties, you can do a master list that includes the date of purchase and the limit of the warranty for easy reference. Be honest with yourself though, and only keep the paper if you have registered the warranty. Are you really going to register the item for the warranty? Do you really want to keep this paper and the manual paper when you can most likely find the instructions online? All good questions to ask yourself before committing to storing this paper.
Recycle that paper.
Put a recycle bin or basket by your front door or where you sort your incoming paperwork. For paper that needs to be shred, keep it collected together and then dispose of it through Gone 4 Good SHRED or another trusted document destruction company. Whether that be bills, cards, magazines, personal documents, flyers, or kids’ artwork, this is your first defense against bringing unnecessary paper into your home and a great opportunity to recycle! Not only will this make tossing junk mail quick and easy, it saves a LOT of trees. Having a recycling bin in view will also help you to remember to do this instead of just throwing it away. Paper can be recycled five to seven times and still be useful!
Here’s a “go paperless” experiment for you!
We know your intentions are good. You want to read the magazines you receive. After all, the information is useful and keeps you connected to the world or new trends. But we propose that you try an experiment. Stop one magazine from being delivered for six months. Don’t panic, you can always start receiving the magazine again! Gauge how often you actually miss receiving it. Our guess is, you won’t. Instead of receiving magazines or catalogs, checkout Pinterest. You can save pins on Pinterest, there are so many options of e-magazines that you can read, and you don’t need a magazine to shop online. Need further incentive? The magazine you receive is typically 32 pages thick. You can save about one tree every year by stopping your subscription AND you have less clutter to manage when the mail arrives.
There are many other small changes that you can make that will have a big impact on the environment and the amount of clutter in your home. To find other ideas, start by being mindful and looking around at your sources of paper clutter, packaging, and other items destined for the waste stream. If you have found a good strategy that could help others go paperless, please share our Abundance Declutter Facebook Group for more. User manuals and warranties are Day 11 of the Declutter Challenge!