Tips and Tools for Living and Working without a Printer

Trying to pare down your office space in the name of simple living? We'd like to suggest the first cut: Your printer. It's expensive and difficult to maintain. Plus—surprise!—it's really easy to live without. We've got a few tips to maintain an easygoing, printer-less lifestyle.

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Lots of office tasks—everything from keeping records to sending faxes—traditionally rely on printing and storing extra paper. But as you know, mother necessity breeds invention. In the name of living green and saving green, plenty of creative minds have produced plenty of creative ways to make living a paperless life come easy for you.

Whether you're trashing an old one or just clearing room, here are a few tips for how to live without a printer:

  • Save to PDF. Whenever an airline or bank website urges you to "print this for your records," just click "save as PDF" instead and keep it in a receipts or records folder on your digital desktop.
  • Save articles to Instapaper or Evernote. Want to print something out to read later? Use a ditial bookmarking service like Instapaper instead, and save your daily reading material to a file in your phone or mobile tablet.
  • Fax online. It's wasteful to print a page just to be able to fax it. Instead, sign up for an online fax service, like FaxZero, that will let you send and receive paperless faxes through email, the web or on your smartphone.
  • Use digital signatures. Printing an entire document just to mark your John Hancock is a waste of time and resources. Instead, try Hello Fax. It lets you keep a digital image of your signature on file, which you can then position and resize onto any document.
  • Print what you need. If there's something that absolutely needs to be in hard copy, save it to your thumb drive. At the end of the week—or whenever it's needed—head to a local copy shop and print your papers for pennies.



(Top Image: Juliet Zulu's DIY Military-Inspired Office)

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Taryn is a writer, maker, and designer based in Atlanta, and editor of lifestyle blog Formal Fringe. She loves her fiance, her dog Bacon, and collecting beer koozies when she travels.

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