My office has gone paperless. How do I go paperless at

Since the start of the computer age, business offices have been going paperless because it saves time, space, and money; it’s easier to stay organized; and there’s less impact on the environment. So, how can you go  paperless at home? Here are some tips.

First, though it may seem overwhelming, start slowly making easy changes that will move you towards less and less paper.

First arrange to get your bills electronically, and pay them online. Set up automatic payments with your bank for recurring payments, or consider a bill-paying service. Otherwise, you may need to create a system reminding yourself to pay bills on time so that you don’t incur past due fees or interest charges.

Sort through your existing paper. Scan all documents you need to keep and save to PDF. Make sure to name your e-files so they’re easily identifiable and accessible, and keep them well-organized. Shred (and recycle) documents you do not need to keep, especially if they show personal information, such as account numbers or your Social Security number. Invest in a good scanner and shredder.

Keep your e-files safe and secure by adding a firewall and using software that provides adequate security. Back up your computer at least once a month using a CD, external hard drive, or an online remote back-up service (i.e., in the “cloud”). Use logins and passwords that are secure, and try to suppress the urge to repeat them. There are online tools that store this type of information.

Keep things like calendars, address books, recipes, and photos digitally. Toss things you tend to keep for sentimental reasons, like holiday cards and ticket stubs. Purge magazines, newspapers, journals, and books from time to time, and get them online if possible.

Contact senders of junk mail and catalogs you don’t want and ask them to remove your name from their mailing list. They may not do it, but you can try. Remember, though, there are paper files you should keep, such as medical records, Social Security cards, warranties and manuals, and tax, legal, and insurance documents. Keep these vital records in one safe location.

Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2012