Your Guide to Having a Paperless Life Today

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy-related information, I suggest you skip this article.

paperlessIf you have been reading this newsletter for a while, you probably already know that I am a fanatic for going paperless. Life without paper is great! Also, life without paper can save a lot of time and frustration when later trying to locate and retrieve items.

For instance, at this moment I am in a hotel room in Anchorage, Alaska. If I want a document or some other bit of information I saved last week or even last year, I can quickly retrieve it from my paperless filing system, even from here in Alaska. Try doing that with paper! To retrieve anything from paper files when needed, I would need to carry a 4-drawer or larger filing cabinet as my carry-on luggage on the plane!

Aaron Couch published an article on the MakeUseOf web site several years ago that describes the easier ways to convert to a paperless existence. I only found the article today and am impressed with it.

Aaron writes:

“Paperless – a term that is used quite often now days. But what does it mean? And to what extent does it apply? Certainly we all still use paper to some degree despite the advancements in technology, so how can we go completely paperless?

“Well, the truth is, there will likely always be some form of paper, but the problem doesn’t lie in using paper itself, but instead having awareness for the amount used and methods of which it is being used for.”

He then describes:

  • Alternatives To Printing & Paper Notes
  • Print To PDF
  • Save As WWF, Save A Tree
  • Electronically Sign Documents
  • Use Your Smartphone For Notes
  • Clip Webpages Instead Of Printing Them
  • Cutting Down On [Snail] Mail
  • Get Your Bank Statements Via Email
  • Fill Out Forms Online
  • Email Invoices (For Businesses)
  • Get Your News & Information Online
  • Unsubscribe From Mailing Lists
  • Pay Your Bills Online
  • Scan Existing & New Documents
  • Use A File Organizer, Preferably With OCR
  • Sync Your Documents Across All Devices
  • Conclusion: Helpful Methods To Adopt

If you would like to simplify your life, start by reading The Future Is Here – Your Guide to Having a Paperless Life Today by Aaron Couch at A related video, How to go Paperless with a Digital Filing System, can be found at or in the video player below:


Sorry, I like paper. Not exclusively, but for a permanent comprehensive record there’s nothing to beat it. Much more difficult to delete info, so not so dependent on who is editing it, and easier to find out the source and date of the info. People think harder about things if they have to commit them to paper, and it is illegal to copy others’ work, so the result is more reliable, too – look at all those spurious online family trees. Online for immediacy, paper for permanence and trustworthyness. You could say that the space required is a luxury, but I’m ready to give up other less necessary things.


After hearing your presentation last week in Maryland at BCGS, I am on the road to a paperless life. Thanks for all the great tips and a very interesting and informative seminar.


Paperless depends on the venue. Since the current Administration somehow got the medical profession into using computers I have *never* seen so much paper in any situation except maybe in a lawyer’s office. Ask for a copy of recent blood work and out come sheet after sheet of paper.
After a hospital stay a family member was given a notebook with pages of paper. From my observation the computer has increased the papers in the medical field astronomically.


    The explanation for GMF’s complaint about medical offices does not lie with anything “the current administration” has done, but is explained by this observation in the article above, to-wit: “…there will likely always be some form of paper, but the problem doesn’t lie in using paper itself, but instead having awareness for the amount used and methods of which it is being used for.”
    Patients who never before asked for copies of records are now offered them by default, as they should be, but some clerical staff are too lazy to be selective of what is to be printed and simply hit Command-P (If you have ever done that with a webpage you may get 9 pages of junk following what you saw on the screen).
    In addition, anyone with a home computer should be declining their offer to print out your current info, because almost all up-to-date medical offices give you a personal portal from which you can download your current medical records into your own own computer when you get back home, eliminating the paper at both ends.


“The HITECH Act, part of the 2009 federal stimulus bill, has been the final kick in the pants that U.S. health care has long needed to make the conversion to digital. The act states that, by employing electronic health records (EHRs) in a fashion known as meaningful use, doctors are individually eligible for Medicare subsidies of $44,000, paid out over five years. Before now, only early adopters and deep-pocketed institutions like hospitals and large medical groups could afford the investment to convert to EHRs.”
Who was President in 2009? I’m not saying I’m against the proper use of computers in the medical field. It has, however, spawned a very high use of paper as well.


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