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Stuff You Don't Have To Buy Because You Can Print It Yourself For Free

I have two printers that rarely see any use. While printing isn’t obsolete by any stretch of the imagination, paper is slowly losing its usefulness. If you have a printer at home that’s mostly collecting dust, brush it off and start using it to print out a few products you’d otherwise have to pay for.

Photo by Vernon Chan.

The output from your home inkjet or laser isn’t going to match everything you can buy in a store, and if you need a large volume of paper then it’s going to cost more to print it yourself once you factor in ink. However, for small runs or one-off items, printing makes sense (plus you can add a personal touch). Here are some ideas for things that it can make sense to print yourself.

Rulers only need to be made out of something thick and sturdy if they’re being used professionally. If your goal is basic measurement, a paper ruler will do just fine (as any visitor to IKEA can attest). When you need one, just print one.

Checklists on your smartphone are handy and easy to edit, but paper comes in a variety of sizes and is visible just about anywhere. If you want a checklist for your fridge, for example, your smartphone isn’t very suited for the job. Printable checklists are, and they’re easy to make via the site of the same name.

Specialty papers can be expensive, so printing your own can be sensible. You can print your own graph paper or blank sheet music>/a>. If you use a LiveScribe pen and don’t want to buy its official paper products (or have run out), you can print your own instead.

Planners, Diaries And Productivity Helpers cost a lot in stores but can be made by hand — and often look a lot better — with the help of your printer. On of our more recent favourites is the Hipster Habit App, which is a handy little book your can print out and assemble to help you break an old habit or establish a new one in 30 days. There’s also the classic Hipster PDA for getting things done with pen and paper. PocketMod can track your workouts. Pocket-To-Do can provide you with a simple paper schedule. Finally, the Scription Chronodex is a very charming weekly planner that was designed to help keep you creative as well as on task.

Maps are available on your smartphone, and that’s often good enough, but sometimes you need to take a map somewhere without reception or where you don’t think your mobile will be safe. GeoCommons is a handy source for printable maps, but even sites like Google Maps can provide you with the material you need. If you need a waterproof option, printing a map onto a garbage bag is a cheap solution.

There are plenty of board games available to print. Cards Against Humanity is very popular, great fun, and a free download as a PDF if you don’t want to buy a full set. You can also print Scrabble, dice, and a deck of cards.

Got anything awesome that you print instead of purchasing? Let us know in the comments!