How close to completely paperless can you get?
I know that certain professions, realtors come immediately to mind, have huge stacks of government mandated paperwork they can’t escape.
For the rest of us, an easy way to stay organized is through keeping as much as possible on the computer. Folders, and sub folders and sub-sub folders, and as many as you need as often as you need. No running out of folders, no stacks of paper, no papercuts. If your electronic files aren’t organized, just put on your favorite music in the background and create folders and drag files around until you’re pretty sure you’ll be able to find things. If you realize the system you’re using doesn’t work quite as well as you’d like, you can try a different one in a matter of minutes.
My professional paper files consist of one drawer of government mandated tax paperwork of various kinds, and one drawer of customer files that contain a hard copy of the signed contract and any notes I took in a notebook. (I think better with a pen in hand than typing. I think it goes back to being in college pre-laptop.) I invoice by email.
Of course, if you’re going to have a paperless office, you need to have an excellent back up strategy with both on and off site copies. I’m hoping to get a guest poster in to write about that. Just remember it isn’t optional and absolutely not worth the risk. Back up early, back up often.