We've all heard of the paperless office - a marketing tactic that promised freedom from file cabinets forever. While it's never come true, the idea still intrigues us. True paperlessness is probably impossible, but there are ways to reduce household clutter by using our home computers. I think many of us still harbor a secret desire to have literally no paper files in our lives at all, especially when faced with spring cleaning every year, or tax season, or even monthly bill paying.
Taxes: I do my taxes online every year, and file electronically. Most online tax sites will allow you to download a PDF copy of your completed tax documents, and many will keep archived copies on their web sites for you. If you keep a copy on your computer and burn one to CD, you probably don't even need to print one out.
Bills: If your bank offers online banking, odds are that they also offer online Billpay. Many large companies will give you the option to receive your bills electronically through your Billpay interface and they'll stop sending paper bills altogether. Since so many of us seem to think that we must keep copies of our bills for years (even though we never actually look at them again), not receiving bills on paper in the first place can be a relief.
Photos & Memorabilia: The advent of the digital camera has revolutionized how we store our photographs. Twenty years ago, we all took film pictures. Some of us typically had drawers full of undeveloped rolls of film and boxes full of processed photos that needed to be added to albums. Now many of us can upload photos from our cameras through our computers to the Internet for all to see, and no paper is ever involved. Posting family photo albums online at sites like Picasa or Flickr lets all our loved ones worldwide have instant access to our images.
The Paperless Office - Paperless Office
The IRS on Efiling - IRS Efile
How Do I Set Up Online Bill Pay? - Online Bill Pay
Picasa - Picasa
Flickr - Flickr