February 26, 2015

Less Paper

I'm not quite ready to go paperless so I'll do the next best thing - less paper.

I guess I'm somewhat 'old school' about paper.  There are bills, receipts, even calendars from years past stored in our house and at our business.  There's even more at the shop because we need to keep records of previous employees, finished projects (in case we need to repeat them), government filings and so on.

At home I keep all of our paid bill stubs in an organizer.  It's been my system ever since I can remember.  The bills that are due are kept in a separate organizer.  In the before photo to the left, the organizer is bursting at the seams.  Yet there is another pile of current stubs that need to go INTO the box.    

The solution is simple.  Time to toss out the old stubs.  I go through each and every folder, taking out stubs from the year 2013 and older.  I keep the mortgage receipts for slightly longer, just in case.  Some of the stubs date as far back as 2008!  I suppose it's been awhile since I've had to empty it out.

WOW -> 5" of paper
The result is a whopping 5" of paper ready to get shredded.  Although it weighs just 8 pounds, the pile seems mighty small to bother taking it to the shredding company.  I decide to go through the boxes of old receipts at the shop.  I need to keep records for seven years.  It's the recommended amount of time according to my tax accountant.  I toss out the yearly bookkeeping materials for years 2006 and 2007.  I toss out the employees files too.  We haven't had employees in quite awhile I realize as the folders are dated 1998 and 1999...

All together I had 64 pounds of paper to shred.  Now that is worth the trip to the shredding company.  They charge 79 cents per pound.  Such a bargain, in my opinion.  I can't imagine how much time it would have taken to manually shred all of that.   

I'm thinking eventually starting today I'll scan my paid bill stubs and shred them myself as I pay them.  Then in another year when I'm ready to toss what's left in the organizer, it'll be the last time.


  1. Good for you! That's a big step - and an important one for going fulltime. You'll always have some paperwork for the business, but we are completely paperless for our personal stuff now. We keep a 1.5" binder with plastic sleeves for important certificates and docs we might need, everything else is online. Medical and veterinary, including prescriptions and records of visits, was the last thing and so much easier than going through paper. We rarely have mail :-) It's hard to "trust" the electronic version at first, but then you wonder why you didn't do it sooner!

  2. Yep, everything will come together. I'll tackle the scanner for now and I'm sure I'll be paperless by the time we hit the road.
    I like your idea of keeping important papers in a binder. We currently have a safe deposit box but that would be impractical when we're full time. It'll need to be kept safe from fire and theft. I'm sure there's a cubbie we can store a simple binder in :-)


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