Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Digital documentation

(SYLC 29)

If there's one type of clutter I hate, it's paper. It stresses me out. Piles of bills not knowing what needs to be paid, drawers of old tax records. It all takes up space in my apartment and in my head.

A little while ago I decided to go digital with information storage. I will admit I'm not quite there yet, but I do have a system I'm working towards. It includes all type of paper and information, including old photos of which I have a really large box full.

So, what works for me?

1. The dropzone. I have a box in my hall where any paper that comes into the house in the form of things like bills stay until they have been processed. This includes things that also have to go out, like mail to be redirected or cheques needing to be deposited. Nothing leaves this space until it's been dealt with.

2. The red box. This box sits in my spare room and contains everything that needs to be filed. Paid bills go in here, then every couple of weeks I go through the box and put away the lot. I only keep in my file anything related to the current financial year, plus other important docs.

3. Digital document storage. After my tax has been done for the year, every related piece of paper gets scanned and backed up (I have two mirrored hard drives). I got myself a feed scanner so I can scan items in bulk, which makes the process a whole lot faster. I have got my old two-drawer filing cabinet down to one small drawer now.

4. Evernote. I also scan things like ideas for haircuts and clothes, interior decorating, travel and recipes that I may have clipped from magazines or papers, and store them in Evernote. Using this I have pretty much every reference I need on hand wherever I am as it syncs across my phone, iPad and all my computers.

5. Photos and portfolio. I have a huge box of photos from when I spent three years travelling the world. I also have a couple of folios of old design work and drawings. I never look at any of these, not because I don't want to but because they are not really accessible. I'm getting the lot scanned and will have them on my computer with the rest of my more recent photos (with a backup of course). That way they can be tagged appropriately and I can take a virtual journey through France whenever I like!

6. Books. I love books and usually have about three on the go at any given time. But boy, do they take up space. I also tend to highlight sections in books for later reference, but never seem to remember which book said what. This has led me to reading epubs on my iPad, especially non-fiction, where I can search for things I may have highlighted. It also means when I travel I don't have to carry books with me, and can download a new one when I run out.

I've wanting to get my paper in order for years - my aim is to have everything in order by the end of this year. So far so good!

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