The paper companies are going to hate me for this, but here goes: This week, I’m upending my life and moving out of state. My business is now almost seven years old, and for most of that time I diligently saved records of every client project — on paper. What was I thinking?! Now, I’m shredding and recycling, shredding and recycling, and wishing I had gone paperless some time ago.
One of the subjects of my book, a financial planner, runs a completely paperless office. She scans everything that comes to her in paper form and then shreds it. Her records are completely electronic. Her office is totally neat and uncluttered by file cabinets.
I’m going that direction myself now, although I probably won’t be able to resist copies of printed brochures where I wrote the content. Here are some recommendations for any of you who want to unpaper your lives:
- If you don’t have an all-in-one printer that includes a scanner, make the investment now. It will pay for itself in short order in the cost of paper not purchased.
- Back up everything diligently, without fail. If it could possibly be important to you in the future, you cannot afford to not have it on backup. I had a hard drive failure this year, and was extremely lucky that the only thing I lost was client archives — very old files.
If you have already fallen into the paper trap and want to clean house, it isn’t too late:
- Find a local shredding firm that lets you watch your old records being destroyed (vs. being hauled away to a shredder). Some come in a big truck to your premises, others take your old materials at their sites. I paid $25 to get rid of 3 banker boxes of old client records.
- Take the time to remove all the paperclips and binderclips before you shred, and save the old file folders. You’ll never need to buy clips or folders again, along with not buying much printer paper.
And last of all, stop and think before you print. Not only will you save on all the above-mentioned office supplies, you’ll buy fewer of those expensive ink cartridges for your printer.