Saturday, May 14, 2016

Scanning old documents

That which is resisted, persists.
I'm going paperless in my home office. Over my 30+ years of adulthood I have accumulated 20+ filing cabinet drawers of paper records. Plus there's a ton of unsorted bills and junk mail piled up.

My strategy is to tackle the filing cabinets first, then work on the unsorted bills and junk mail. My reasoning is that doing the filing cabinets first will help me set up my taxonomy on Google Docs, making it easier to file the new documents later.

My strategy for scanning my filing cabinets is:
  • Go through each file cabinet drawer and storage box, one at a time.
  • Sort docs into 3 categories: scan & keep, scan & shred, shred.
  • Scan documents to PDF files with a Fuji ScanSnap ix500.
  • Store the scanned documents in folders (with the same name as the original folders) on Google Docs.
  • Put the "keep" documents back into the same folder and cabinet drawer that they came from.
  • Make a backup copy of the scanned documents to a USB stick.
My strategy for deciding what physical items to keep is:
  • Keep official government documents like tax returns forever.
  • Keep items related to tax returns for 15 years.
I've scanned one half drawer so far. It takes a while to scan old documents. Lots of staples to remove.

At this rate it's going to take about six months to scan everything. Yow!