Going paperless in your RV life is really easy. Maintaining the process is the hard part.
No matter if you are full-time, part-time or any time in your RV, you don't want piles of paper lying around. Receipts, mail, campground maps you want to keep are always piling up.
After creating your process of how to become paperless the next step is creating new habits to make it a success.
Let's dive into creating your paperless system.
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Why You Should Be Paperless
Having a paperless system for your RV life will reduce weight, minimize clutter and give you an easy way to find what you need when you want it.
Paper is heavy and in your RV life how much your RV weighs is always something to monitor. So it makes sense to get rid of paper as quickly as possible so it doesn't pile up and add to your RV weight.
Having a system to process your paper will help reduce clutter in your RV. Your RV is a small space and the less lying around the better. It really helps to rid your living space of clutter before it affects your emotional state whether you immediately react or not.
Being able to find the things you want when you want them will be easier if you go paperless. A smaller space has the challenge of finding things anyway....let alone finding paper.
Gone are the days of bunches of file folders and piles of paper being sorted into them to find later.
In our digital age, we have so many options for cloud services to create our new 'filing cabinets'.
We still like paper for certain things like our RV Travel Planner or our passports, etc. But as far as keeping any campground maps or destination paraphernalia or our receipts, mail or bills we turn to a paperless process.
Create a System
When creating a system for going paperless you want to find something that is easy to implement and not complicated to maintain.
Based on your needs and how tech savvy you are these are the things you need to consider when selecting a system for going paperless:
Define What You Want to Keep
You don't want to keep everything....you don't have to. Every piece of paper is not important. Determine what you are going to keep and throw away the rest.
Select a Cloud Based Storage
Then you will need to determine where to store your digital items. A cloud based system is best. You don't have to worry about your items in a cloud based system. If you store them on your computers hard drive and it crashes you will lose your files. You can access your files in the cloud from everywhere and they are always backed up.
Some of the best cloud storage solutions are: Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive. You most likely already have GB included in your Gmail account, or your Microsoft or Apple account, so that is a great place to start if you are just getting started. All of them have options to upgrade and pay for more storage when you need it.
Decide How to Turn What You Want To Keep Into A Digital Form
You need something: an app or a physical scanner to get the paper into a digital form such as a PDF.
I use Tiny Scanner on my android phone. There is probably a comparable app for IOS just look in the Apple store. There also may be more options on android but this one works well for me and I haven't seen the need to change.
Watch the video in this post for how I use the app.
Where the Streets wander
"Organization is never an accident."
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Where the Streets wander
"Managing paper in your RV life will reduce weight, feel less cluttered and give you peace of mind."
Use Your System
Once you decide on what is worthy of keeping, which storage option you are going to use and how you are going to turn your items into a digital form then you need to create a habit of using your system.
The challenge of the RV life is to make this process as easy as possible in how we scan in order to create the habit to keep the papers from piling up. Organization is never an accident.
If you have to pull out a physical scanner and set it up every time you need to scan you may find you letting your paper piles increase because the process is not easy.
Using an app is the easiest way to get your paper into digital form. I still use my physical scanner for important documents that have to be perfect in my files...but the majority of what I want to keep, the app does a great job!
Make a do it now not later motto when it comes to paper. If you have a receipt that you have to keep, take a minute and scan it when you come back from the store. Open the app, scan it and save it and send it to the cloud. Shouldn't take longer than a minute.
Next make sure you have have named it properly for ease of finding it later. This is important for when you need to locate it. Not changing the name of the document before putting into cloud storage can result in all of your files having numbers as file names that are not meaningful and you will never find your receipt for Best Buy unless you happen to remember the date!
Finally after scanning, determine what you have scanned is needing to be shredded or can it just go in the the trash.
If it had personal information on it you may want to shred it.
We have a tiny (RV friendly) shredder just for this purpose. If we need to shred many things, we can take the papers to a UPS store and pay to have it shredded for pennies.
As a full-time RVer, we have a mail service for our mail. They offer a scanning option for our mail that comes in. It is an extra cost but makes it so easy to get my bills or documents that come into my mail into a digital form and all I have to do is save it to the cloud.