Author Topic: Is going paperless mustachian?  (Read 6165 times)

gbbi_977

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Is going paperless mustachian?
« on: March 28, 2015, 03:45:57 PM »
I'm having an internal debate about whether our household should go paperless. There are a lot of initial costs involved: purchase of scanner (I'm looking at the low end - e.g. Brother RDS620, maybe a refurbished one but with a two year warranty - $75), purchase of a fireproof safe (for the docs that can't be shredded after scanning - $30). I guess I'll be able to sell the filing cabinet for $30 or so once I'm done scanning/shredding.

Anyone else gone paperless and do you recommend it as a way of simplifying life in the long-run?

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2015, 03:54:50 PM »
Even if it's a sunk cost, paperless is invaluable to me. I can live in a smaller space and not spend money on organizers for the papers. That being said, I don't use a scanner personally. YMMV, but I've found photos from my cell then converting file type to be better quality and uses what I already own. So for me it was a zero cost, all gain situation.

deborah

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2015, 05:04:06 PM »
I am trying to go paperless gradually. The first thing was to have no junk mail. Then I gradually got rid of people sending me paper stuff and got it sent by e-mail instead (or not at all). I am currently working through the other ways I get paper.

For instance, whenever I go to the library I get books on hold which have a paper slip in them saying who they are on hold for. I then check out the books, and get another slip saying what books I have borrowed. I have now located a bin in the library where all this paper goes before I leave the library. I have also written to the library asking whether they can have paperless borrowing.

So my idea is to get rid of paper coming in, then declutter what you have. This way you are not buying extra equipment until you actually need it. Also, these days, digital cameras are pretty good at taking photos of everything you need.

But going paperless is not getting rid of your current paperwork, it is working out ways of not generating paper in the first place.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2015, 07:10:17 AM »
Think of what all of that paper does for you:  nothing!

I did it in steps (you will love it):

1.  Tell all of your billers (banks, utilities, etc.) to send invoices electronically.  That stops the inflow and buildup of paper.  Have a filing system on your computer and a backup.
2.  Shred and get rid of all the old paper crap you don't need.
3.  Scan any remaining paper you need, then shred it.  In my case, I use the scanner at work and haven't bought my own.


Only way to go!

caliq

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2015, 07:22:48 AM »
What do you guys use for back ups? 

Cloud storage services?  I use DropBox and OneDrive's free versions to store school stuff and photos, but there's not enough space for a ton of other things (hence the 2 different services, lol).  I'm also not sure how secure they are.

External hard drive?  If my house burnt down, I'm not sure how much good an external would do me, assuming I was home and didn't get it out of the house.

Seņora Savings

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2015, 08:38:53 AM »
I would say it is, but you seem to be adding expenses in.  Why will you need a safe for documents after going paperless if you don't need it now?  Also, my phone works fine as a scanner, do you have something that you can make do with?

Retire-Canada

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2015, 09:19:00 AM »
I keep my taxes and business receipts as paper copies.

7yrs fit into medium sized rubbermaid and I throw out one year at tax time as I add the new year to the box so the size never expands.

When I am working with them during the active year I find paper copies easier to deal with.

Storing that amount of paper is not a hassle and I recycle the stuff I get rid of.

I can't see how I'd be ahead when I look at the time/effort to scan in receipts/invoices, sort and store the electronic files.

-- Vik



Bracken_Joy

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2015, 09:24:35 AM »
What do you guys use for back ups? 

Cloud storage services?  I use DropBox and OneDrive's free versions to store school stuff and photos, but there's not enough space for a ton of other things (hence the 2 different services, lol).  I'm also not sure how secure they are.

External hard drive?  If my house burnt down, I'm not sure how much good an external would do me, assuming I was home and didn't get it out of the house.

I use an external (back up monthly) and evernote.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2015, 03:20:27 PM »
I don't get this:   "...purchase of a fireproof safe (for the docs that can't be shredded after scanning - $30)".

I don't see the need for a safe.  Scanned docs are adequate.  Once scanned, they can be shredded.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2015, 07:07:13 PM »
I don't get this:   "...purchase of a fireproof safe (for the docs that can't be shredded after scanning - $30)".

I don't see the need for a safe.  Scanned docs are adequate.  Once scanned, they can be shredded.

Tax returns, birth cert, SS card, insurance policies, etc need to be kept paper.

boognish

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2015, 11:24:40 PM »
How secure is dropbox or other similar services?

boognish

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2015, 03:18:18 PM »
That sounds pretty awesome, looks like viivo is free for personal use too. I've seen positive reviews for the service, and it's even HIPAA compliant. Seems like a solid way to go.

Thanks!

dcheesi

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2015, 03:24:18 PM »
One problem with 100% paperless that you might never think of: Proof of residency. I just had to replace my driver's license (lost my ID-holder), and my state requires a utility bill or similar in your name to prove that you actually live here. I suppose you could try bringing it up on your smartphone, but I'm not sure how well that would work...

caliq

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2015, 03:29:34 PM »
One problem with 100% paperless that you might never think of: Proof of residency. I just had to replace my driver's license (lost my ID-holder), and my state requires a utility bill or similar in your name to prove that you actually live here. I suppose you could try bringing it up on your smartphone, but I'm not sure how well that would work...

You can just print the PDF copy of the bill from the utility's website? 

Unless you went so paperless you literally got rid of your printer...then you'd just have to print it at work? 

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2015, 05:23:05 PM »
One problem with 100% paperless that you might never think of: Proof of residency. I just had to replace my driver's license (lost my ID-holder), and my state requires a utility bill or similar in your name to prove that you actually live here. I suppose you could try bringing it up on your smartphone, but I'm not sure how well that would work...

You can just print the PDF copy of the bill from the utility's website? 

Unless you went so paperless you literally got rid of your printer...then you'd just have to print it at work?

We don't have a printer. 500sq ft. BUT, we just print at the local library or at work.

forummm

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2015, 06:04:46 PM »
I'm not 100% paperless--but pretty close. All my files take up less than one drawer of file folders. Maybe you are keeping too much stuff.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2015, 07:57:58 PM »
What do you currently store? For how long? How do you currently dispose of old stuff?

I switched to electronic statements a few years ago. Now I'm throwing out all the old paper after a few years of procrastination. I just grab a few months of whatever at a time, rip it and toss it in the compost. Nowadays most of my important stuff is stored by various government agencies and businesses; banking statements, pay stubs, investment statements, bills, birth certificate, insurance, marriage licence are all stored by others.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2015, 07:48:49 AM »
Lots of great suggestions here, thanks everyone.

My files also take up less than one drawer of the filing cabinet - that's why I'd like to get rid of it, it's bulky and takes up a lot of space in our 1000 sq ft apartment. Plus we're quite into minimalism and trying to shift towards the 'everything is either useful or beautiful' way of keeping things out of the apartment, and it seems like a half-empty filing cabinet is neither of those things, if there's an equally good way to keep our documents sorted.

The reason I suggested we'd need some sort of fireproof box is because (a) if everything ends up scanned, we'd want at least a couple of backups, and putting a USB in a small fireproof box (as well as another one in our free safety deposit box at the bank) seems like a good backup system (in addition to something on a cloud somewhere) and (b) as someone else pointed out, there are a few papers we need to keep originals (i.e. social security cards, birth and marriage certificates, green card).

I'm thinking about just scanning a bundle of documents or two each time I go to the library. Or asking around friends to see if we can borrow one. I've already done a lot of work to make sure no new paper is entering the house - persistently ringing companies to get off their mailing list (I tried the central systems but it kept coming - Bed, Bath & Beyond was the main culprit) has finally paid off, all utilities/bank statements etc are online.

Now that I'm writing that, if my main issue is big bulky filing cabinet that's 3/4 empty, maybe I should just downsize that via Craigslist, which could hopefully be cost neutral, and not worry about the hassle of scanning for now.

Thanks for the suggestions.

It sounds like you're already there with the paperless basically. Well done! I hope to get there someday. Maybe what you need is just a more attractive filing option, or to downsize it just enough that it can go into a closet/underbed/on top of a bookshelf and be out of the way.

ShaneD

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2015, 03:28:17 PM »
Primarily paperless here, too, and definitely helping reduce furniture and space needs. Got rid of 1 filing cabinet entirely; turned the other into a pots-and-pans cabinet. (Saved me from buying another cabinet!) Will eventually be able to get rid of a (hated) bookcase, too.

A great rule of thumb to follow for backups is the 3-2-1 rule:
http://www.dpbestflow.org/backup/backup-overview

Nutshell: the appropriate amount of redundancy = 3 copies on 2 different media types, at least 1 offsite.

We use Backblaze and hard drives, and keep 1 drive of the most important documents at family's house. (We swap every few months with updated backups.)

forummm

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2015, 07:39:18 AM »
My files also take up less than one drawer of the filing cabinet - that's why I'd like to get rid of it, it's bulky and takes up a lot of space in our 1000 sq ft apartment. Plus we're quite into minimalism and trying to shift towards the 'everything is either useful or beautiful' way of keeping things out of the apartment, and it seems like a half-empty filing cabinet is neither of those things, if there's an equally good way to keep our documents sorted.

If that's all you have, get rid of the filing cabinet and put the papers somewhere else. Don't add to that by buying a scanner, printer, etc. Save time, money, and hassle. The small fire-proof box is a good idea. They are generally not that expensive and widely available. You can put them under a bed or wherever is out of the way.

GetItRight

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Re: Is going paperless mustachian?
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2015, 10:10:10 AM »
1.  Tell all of your billers (banks, utilities, etc.) to send invoices electronically.  That stops the inflow and buildup of paper.  Have a filing system on your computer and a backup.
2.  Shred and get rid of all the old paper crap you don't need.
3.  Scan any remaining paper you need, then shred it.  In my case, I use the scanner at work and haven't bought my own.

I do this too. Still have some old paper stuff to scan and shred, but it has reduced some of the existing paper and mostly eliminated and new paper coming it. Less clutter and easier to reference when you need something. Paper documents add no value to me, they are just like any other junk collecting dust and interfere with my desire to be minimalist.