How I Got Rid Of 4 Filing Cabinets (& All My Bookcases)
January seems to trigger New Years resolutions to organize, minimize, clear out the old and start with a fresh slate. In that spirit I share with you the resources I employed to reduce Paper, a source of much consternation in my own world. If you perceive such a task to be daunting, skip to the *PS at the end.
A lifetime ago, a contract I had was winding to a close and the business quit paying. Their tactic was to see how hungry I got, and find out how little I might settle for. They demanded all 3.5 years worth of multi-page pay applications be resubmitted for auditing.
I had moved, and everything was in sagging file boxes in storage. It seemed insurmountable.
Until the faint voice of The Office Ladies (Love those Office Ladies!) reminded me that emailing those forms to them would be fastest. My bulging Sent Mail file, which I never remembered to purge, had every single document required.
I can still recall the look on their attorney's face when Misty, my own Office Lady from an incubator office, came sailing into the meeting with 2 reams of printed copies, "taken from Sent Mail" (insert infuriated glare from their attorney to his client) AND dropped a CD with all the data on top of the stack. You could have heard a pin drop. Just like that, the meeting was over.
The next morning an email went out to all the subcontractors (like me) that “All pay applications will be submitted via electronic media, effective immediately.” I changed the way a large Texas land developer did business. And my check arrived via overnight mail shortly.
Today I have a better system than 3 years worth of Sent Mail. And I have since conducted all my personal and business transactions paperless-ly. (Is that a word? It ought to be.)
First: You DO have paperless billing, yes?
For virtually (sic) everything paper: Scan. Then Print to PDF. Or Save As document or photo. Or Send to cloud storage or thumb drive. Or both. Tag it/label it/title it/date it/.
Resources: www.PaperKarma.com for unsolicited mail Gmail/Hotmail/any email with generous storage – plus one backup account Google Drive or MS OneDrive (previously SkyDrive) www.Evernote.com www.getPocket .com www.MyFax.com (One of few paid apps I endorse, $10/month) www.Foxitsoftware.com (FoxitReader pdf editor) I like this one better than Adobe (and free), especially the Typewriter function that makes any PDF a fillable form. Works anywhere Adobe Reader is “required.” Ereader apps – Nook, Kindle, Kobo, etc.
Special mention: www.AirDroid.com orwww.MightyText.net, productivity, lets me respond to texts in a separate tab or window without touching the phone. Sorry, iPeople, iOS doesn't do this yet.
*PS You don't have to Scan your entire world. Start by scanning/storing this week, and address older paperwork only as needed. In time, most of that old paper will become moot. The exceptions will stand out - mortgage, insurance, etc.