Scanners are a popular way to make paper disappear. With more affordable scanners, many homes and offices are purchasing these as an alternative for paper files. You can scan paper, expenses, receipts, photos and more with a scanner. It’s a great way to eliminate paper clutter and its easier to find information too!
There are many options for scanning. The apps GeniusScan and DocScan are available on you smartphone. Fujitsu and Neat offer portable wand scanners and desk top scanners. Multifunction machines are equipped with flat bed and feed scanners. The most important part is to get started right away by hooking up and testing your equipment. Many times I find equipment still in boxes years after purchase. Just jump in!
Getting a good system in place makes organizing easier. Start setting up a consistent folder system before you scan your first document. Write out a list or create a mind map of the information to retrieve in your documents. Like with paper files, more general folder names are best to start. Inside these folders you can create more specific files.
- Home and Auto
- Auto Repair
- Home Repair
- Utilities and Monthly bills
- Life Insurance
- Dad medical
- Mom medical
- Susie medical
- Susie school
- Johnny medical
- Johnny school
For the office
- Corporate formation
- Permits and licenses
- Expenses (by year)
- Office supplies
This is just a sample of categories to get you started.
Set up consistent naming of your documents. Write out your options and decide on one naming convention. You will be glad you took the time to create a plan for this. Some examples include starting with the more general, to the more specific, and maybe with a date.
To be scanned spot
Not all paper needs to be scanned. Using the triage method, go through your mail, kids’ papers, receipts and other papers to decide what will be scanned. Establish a bin, folder, or tray for items to be scanned. By designating this spot, you are creating a baby step to get started scanning.
The best organizing revolves around good routines. Now that you know what you want to scan, set aside time once a week or once a month to scan. Mark your calendar to remind you of your “appointment”. This is also a task that can be delegated to your high school student.
It’s important to have your computer backed up regularly. You can use a cloud based service like Carbonite or an external hard drive. Either way, nightly back up is best. You will be sure your documents are safe.
As fun as scanning is, try not to over do the fun! It’s hard not to scan too much, but less is more!
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