stumbling my way into a mostly paperless system

I got a bit restless today and did a bunch of housecleaning, both literally and metaphorically.

For a long time, I’ve been trying to work towards going as paperless as I can. I still receive most of my bills and statements on paper, mostly because, in the past, I’ve been really bad about downloading those statements when I get the email notifications about them. I just let the email notifications pile up, then when I finally get around to following up on them, the statements they reference are no longer available.

So, this year, I’ve been trying to train myself to be better about that. I’ve been keeping my Gmail inbox pretty clean, and I’ve been good about marking actionable emails and then following up on them in a timely fashion. Today, I decided to take the plunge and switch my Merrill statements from paper to email. The Merrill statements have gotten out of hand over the last few years. Each month, I get a combined statement that’s 30 to 40 pages long. It’s printed on both sides, but it’s still a heck of a lot of paper. (And it’s mostly useless. But that’s a whole other discussion.) So turning off the paper on that should make a big difference.

My workflow for downloading and organizing statements has gotten a lot better since I switched to storing them in OneDrive. Now, I have the full folder hierarchy on both my Mac and PC, and can download and organize stuff on either machine. That removes a big stumbling block that I used to have; I had to turn on the desktop PC to do any of this stuff. (It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it definitely does get in the way.) And I can even download and store a statement right from my iPhone, though I’ve found that to be a little clumsy.

I also shredded all my 2014 Merrill statements today, and organized the stack of 2015 statements a bit. Now I’m looking forward to shredding the 2015 statements at some point next year, then not having to worry about that ever again.

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