We are full-time RVers and have the luxury of a file drawer, lots of cabinets, and nooks and crannies to stash stuff. And stash them we have! As I was trying to cram one more sheet of paper into the file drawer, I thought, “There has to be a better way!” While I had already weeded out older warranty booklets, instruction manuals, ancient tax forms and receipts, there was still a lot left.
I made a quick call to our tax accountant to see what we had to save. He suggested we go through all our papers, scan them, put them on a hard drive or in the “cloud” and only save the paper we actually needed.
So that’s what I did! I pulled out all our files, papers, receipts from drawers and cabinets. It grew to be a veritable mountain of paper!
Using the cell phone to take the photos, I set up the system I had used for documenting all of our non-digital photos in our old photo albums (more on that here) and it worked great. My iPhone has a scanner setting or, of course, it can just take photos. I chose to take photos as I could save them quicker. I already have two small LED lights and a stand for a cell phone. The system stores well too!
Here was the process in digitizing my documents:
Day one: I just started photographing the documents, not paying a lot of attention to what I was taking or how I would save it. Bad move.
Day two: This time I separated the segments by writing what I was photographing and the word “start” on a sticky note. I took a photo of that, clicked the series of documents and wrote “end” on the sticky note and scanned it again. Now I didn’t need to read every pic to decide how to file.
Day three, four, five: I copied every piece of paper and organized onto two separate hard drives.
Day six: Took one hard drive to our safety deposit box. Both hard drives had all our previously scanned photos from our photo albums too. First, I double-checked with our tax accountant on what papers to save. (Consult a professional if in doubt!)
Day six, evening: Enjoyed a good bonfire and lightened our load. Wow! Now I have lots of space to put more stuff in….