Imagine living in a paperfree household, where endless papers no longer clutter tables and counters. Scanning documents and storing them in a secure place might be the solution that helps you drastically reduce those stacks.
Before you begin scanning, it’s very helpful think about a file naming system for labeling your documents. That way you can always find what you’re looking for.
For instance, you might name a digital folder “House” for all documents related to your home. I like to begin each label name with the year. Follow with the month and date, and your files will automatically stay sorted in chronological order. Here’s an example:
If you have a large number of documents to scan, you’ll definitely want a scanner with an automatic paper feed to speed up the process. You can also scan papers with a smartphone. The camera function is great for simple captures like receipts and business cards, and a scanning app like Abbyy FineScanner or CamScanner (I use the free version) can capture good scans of documents, book pages, recipes, statements and much more. The paid version of Abbyy FineScanner even has Optical Character Recognition (OCR) that can scan documents and save them as editable text.
Feeling overwhelmed by the task? A service like ScanMyPhotos.com will scan all of your paper photographs and return them to you along with a nice little disc. Stores like Staples, Office Depot and FedEx/Kinkos also provide paid scanning services. Drop off a stack of papers and they’ll scan and convert them to PDFs.
You might want to invest in an external hard drive to store a scan of your important paper documents. That way you can easily grab it in case of emergency.
How about you? Do you scan documents to reduce paper clutter? What percentage of papers do you scan and store? I’d love to hear your tips and experiences.
Keep Up the Good Work
If you do 20 minutes of paper decluttering today, let us know! Share your comments on this post, or over at the Facebook Money Diet Community Group. If you post photos of your progress, use the #PaperFree hashtag so we can cheer you on!
You’ll hear from me again tomorrow with tips for where to safely store your scanned and digital documents.