I am great at filing and organizing papers. I can usually find any specific receipt, bill or statement in less than ten minutes.
I am terrible at purging those papers. I have an ugly filing cabinet and a closet full of bankers boxes filled with over ten years worth of papers that I no longer need.
Yes, it’s great that I can quickly find the receipt for the furniture that I bought 20 years ago or the instruction manual for the TV that I no longer own. But I no longer need those documents and it’s time to get rid of them.
It’s a task that I need to do but I dislike doing. Paper is heavy, takes up a lot of space (even shredded) and dealing with several boxes of paper is a lot of work. But I will do it since I want to reclaim the space that all of those boxes are taking up.
I believe that I can get rid of about 70% of the paper stored. All I would like to keep are current records, tax returns, legal papers, vehicle titles and maybe a few other things.
It wouldn’t be worth my time to scan in all of the papers that I already have. Most are past their time limit for keeping and they just need to be shredded or thrown away. But what about the future? It’s December and soon I will need to move the Year 2013 papers into a box and make room for the 2014 papers in my filing cabinet drawer. In ten years from now, will I be going through the 2013 papers? It’s not a task that I look forward to doing. Maybe it’s time to start a digital filing system.
I’ve been thinking about going paperless ever since I saw a NeatDesk informercial. I’ve been researching NeatDesk Desktop Scanner and other document scanners and I like that I would be able to scan a bunch of papers at the same time. The scanner will convert each piece of paper to a digital file on my computer. NeatDesk claims that their software will identify and organize the papers for me, but I don’t even need to go that far. As long as the device creates a PDF file, then I can create my own filing system that makes sense for me.
But before I go out and spend $250 to $400.00 on a NeatDesk or any document scanner that has all of the cool features that I desire, I better make sure that it makes sense for me to do so. Here are the pros and cons of purchasing one:
- Less papers = more space, less clutter
- Organizing, retrieving and deleteing paper documents on the computer will be physically easier than doing the same with real papers
- Will be able to keep more history records while taking up relatively little computer space
- $250 to $400 to purchase
- Another piece of office equipment that will need desk space
- More $$$ and storage space needed for an external backup system – I would not trust having only one digital copy of my papers
- Will still need to keep originals of some important papers – therefore I will still need to store some documents in a storage box.
I believe that purchasing a document scanner will be beneficial for me because I no longer want to take the time to process large boxes of paper today or in the future. I am also tired of looking at those boxes every time I open my closet.
I’m not sure yet on which document scanner I will purchase. I’m on a budget, so I need to weigh in the money factor. Once I decide on which one, I’ll let you know.
UPDATE: I purchased the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i and you can read more about it in my post, Going Paperless with the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i Document Scanner.
On a side note, whenever I do go through my old paper receipts and statements, I enjoy seeing how much the cost of gas, food and utilities have changed over the years. With a digital system, I will be able to quickly look at historical records. The best part is that I can keep as many as I want without taking up any closet space.
To learn my system for organizing my files and receipts, please check out my article, “How to Create and Maintain a Filing System for Bills and Receipts” on InfoBarrel. Once I start creating my digital filing system, I am sure I will still follow the same principles that I explained in the article.
Photo Credit: Dental Record Papers – © Jonny McCullagh – Fotolia.com