4 Ways to Kill Off Your Old Ways of Organizing

With tax time come and gone, this is your chance to get - and stay - organized in time for your next big paperwork project. We've tried to go as paperless as possible around our house. Here's how we did it.

Step 1 - Death to banking. Using our bank's iPhone app (we use Chase, but other banks support these features), we're able to make deposits simply by signing and taking pictures of paper checks that come into the house. I also have most of my bill-paying set up through the app.

I do, however, always like to get paper copies of my bills rather than emails. It's a bit easier to organize that way and then I simply shred the offending bill when we're done paying. I haven't been into a bank branch in years and, as a technophile, I foresee a day when many branches will be totally robotic. 


Step 2 - Death to paper. To reduce the amount of paper floating around the house, I have a Neat Receipts scanner that grabs both sides of receipts, business cards, and forms. This is an amazing lifesaver when I have to, say, look up an address or find a legal document I may have lost. 

In fact, I often simply scan in many legal documents and then hide them away or shred them, ensuring I always have a copy on my computer. This obviously requires some diligent back-up, but both Windows machines and Macs now allow for very simple, very streamlined backup systems so I'm not too worried about my data going bye-bye. 

I like the Neat Scanner because it is really fire-and-forget. You place your documents in the little slots assigned for various paper sizes and press a button. It runs an app that scans and "reads" both sides of the document and then spits out the paper version almost instantly. I usually keep a pile of paper in the hopper and let it run through when its fairly full.

Step 3 - Death to filing cabinets. After I've scanned in all my important documents, I fire up Evernote to store them. This cloud-based system stores all my important documents, and I often use it to plan business or family trips by dropping ticketing information, itineraries, and hotel info right in the app. That way, when I land, all I have to do is launch Evernote on my iPhone and everything is there. 

Evernote will also accept scanned documents and, if they're the right file type, you can search within them. It's also a great service for storing addresses and important phone numbers that you may want to share with others on the service.

Step 4 - Death to To Do lists. Finally, we use Dropkick to create shared To Do lists that can be seen on the desktop, iPad, or iPhone. That way I can add to our shared grocery list and help the lady wife figure out what to pack when we need to drive somewhere. It also allows me to keep a running tally of the things we need to do around the house, which I then ignore.

Or you can just pick up a paper To Do list like the one above here. Not everything has to be high tech.

What are some tools you use to help organize things around the house?

Top image via OldTomFoolery.com

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