One of the best spring-cleaning tools you can use right now is… the internet! Using online services to cut back on paper is a great way to declutter your home or office. Plus, you’ll also be helping the environment. Did you know that Americans use more than 90 million tons of paper and paperboard every year? That’s an average of 700 pounds of paper products per person each year.
Here’s a list of ways you can use the internet to clear up the clutter, stop using paper so much, and get your life organized in a clean, green way.
Request paperless billing to receive less mail and pay your bills through your bank’s online bill payment applications. This can be done on a computer in your home or office, or using your smartphone. While you’re at it, ask your bank and credit card companies to send your statements by email as well. Less paper, easier to access when you need it, and think of all the stamps you’ll save!
If you’re out shopping and the store asks if you would like a paper or digital receipt – choose digital. These receipts can usually be downloaded and saved to your computer, where you can organize and store them for easy access when and if you need them. Just think how happy your CPA will be when you email him the receipt he requested in a matter of minutes, instead of searching through messy drawers around the house for days.
Instead of printing out recipes from the internet, or clipping pictures of crafts, home décor, exercise routines, or holiday projects, save them to Pinterest boards. You can access them quickly using your phone or tablet when you need them whether you’re in the kitchen, the backyard, or even at the gym.
Google Docs / Evernote
Two other options for storage of all kinds of files online are Google Docs and Evernote. Both are free and you can store photos, receipts, notes, videos and other files that can be accessed from any computer, phone or tablet.
A lot of paper waste ends up in our mailboxes each year. In fact, 100 million trees are destroyed each year to make the four million tons of junk mail that Americans receive. You’re not powerless, though, and can remove your name from many of the mailing lists for unwanted grocery store flyers, credit card offers, catalogs, and weekly mailers by visiting these sites:
- Valpak: https://www.valpak.com/coupons/show/mailinglistsuppression
- Catalogs: https://www.catalogchoice.org/
- Credit card offers: https://www.optoutprescreen.com/
- Redplum / RetailMeNot Everyday: https://www.redplum.com/tools/direct-mail-preferences
Here’s a tip for coupon-clippers: If you like getting coupons, but want to cut the paper waste, when you’re on the websites removing your name from the mailing lists, be sure to check for information about getting coupons online or using apps. You can request digital coupons be sent to your email, or you can download apps with coupons that cashiers can scan and use just like paper ones. Bonus – you won’t have to worry about forgetting the coupons at home anymore!