The first step we did was to sort the papers. This step is also outlined in The Paperless Home. We sorted all of our papers into 3 piles: Trash, Scan & Shred, and Scan & Keep.
The trash pile was easy - straight to the shredder!
Then, I started scanning the pile I knew that I could get rid of, the Scan & Shred. We knew that everything in here wasn't 'essential' to the home. This pile took a while to scan, but once I finished, I knew I only had one pile left.
This pile is one that I am still working on. The reason this pile is taking so long is because it turned from 'Scan & Keep' pile into a 'Scan & do we really need to keep this?' pile. So I am slowly working my way through this stack of papers and having a conversation with my husband about if we really need to keep these papers. (You will be happy to know that most of the answers are 'no'.)
A huge step in this whole Paperless Home is learning Evernote. Without the videos provided by The Paperless Home, I could have figured it out eventually, but it made the whole thing go faster. I especially loved that Donnie walked you through the 2-step verification process. I set up my Filing Cabinet and Notebook Stacks a bit differently than he did, but he gave me a great foundation! I also emulated the way he named each of the notes that we imported, it makes it so much easier to find everything.
I am really enjoying using Evernote so far. We did start with the basic plan to try it out and upgraded for a month to see if it was worth it (we had a credit in our paypal account to cover this) and we decided it was worth it. Being able to access our files and search easier in Evernote is so convenient and worth the small monthly payment.
Tips and Tricks
Along the way I have learned a couple of new things. I also was able to use what we had to make this Paperless Home work well for us.
- Use the scanner you have and make it work for you. The ScanSnap that is recommended in the book, along with several websites I saw, and looks so easy to use. But, I didn't have an extra $300 to just throw at a new scanner, and I don't know many who do. I have a Brother All-in-One that we got at a super discount on Black Friday about 4 years ago. We love it and it has yet to fail us. Some Brother printers, I found out, do have the capability to connect to Evernote, mine however is an older version and does not have that capability. However, I created a folder named 'For Evernote' on my computer that my scanner now sends the scanned documents to. This way it is easy to just click and drag the files from that folder into the Evernote Inbox. Then as I go through each one, I rename it, add tags and file. Simple as that. It's just one more step.
- When in doubt, skip it and come back. One of the things that was holding me up in the beginning was looking at a piece of paper and trying to decide if it was worth keeping. So what I decided to do was just assume I would keep it after scanning. This way, I was able to just get started and learn. After getting started and having the chance to reread the book, I can now determine quickly if I even need to scan some of the items. This process is going a lot faster than it would if I took the time to figure these things out in the beginning.
- Do bulk scanning. At first, I would scan and then go enter the document into Evernote. I thought this was a great idea and I thought I was really making some progress. But I saw that my piles were not going down as quickly as I wanted. I also only had the morning before my daughter woke up to really have access to the scanner. So I decided to bulk scan. I just spent the half hour that I had in the morning scanning to my computer. Then, at naptime or in the evening, when I could access my computer but not the printer, I organized everything into Evernote - which went so quickly.
You can find out more about the Paperless Home here.
If you know you would like to get started, you can purchase the ebook or packages with videos here.