Strategizing Digitizing

3 totes of paperwork

My New Year’s resolution is to go digital so I’m getting ready for it. I tend to be one of those uber organized people who keeps important paperwork all categorized and in one place. On (approximately) a monthly basis I sort new paperwork I’ve acquired, file the important documents, and recycle everything that’s not compostable and then shred and compost everything I can. I began acquiring important paperwork as a teenager, so for the past fifteen years, every time I’ve moved, I’ve hauled around a Tupperware tote of paperwork. Over time I replaced it with larger and larger totes. Eventually I added a second one. I’m now the not-so-proud owner of three large totes of paperwork. As this post from Life Edited explains, even for us minimalists, it’s hard to downsize those Little Pieces of Important Paper. They might actually be… important!

But they don’t need to take up so much physical and mental space. I can certainly imagine how nice it would be to be paper-free. Wouldn’t it be convenient to have any document I need available just by doing a quick keyword search on my computer? Wouldn’t it be a relief to not have Little Pieces of Important Paper taking up physical space, time, and attention?

I hate that these totes are 3 of my 200 things. So I’ve made the decision to go all-digital. This will involve three big steps:

1)   First I’ll organize all the documents that are already in a digital format.

2)   Next I’ll begin digitizing any new documents that I acquire. I’ll get in the habit of scanning anything that’s important and shredding anything that’s not, so that they don’t pile up.

3)   Then I’ll scan my totes of paper documents so that I can eliminate Little Pieces of Important Paper from my life entirely.

Eventually, I’ll also scan old journals, too, so that I’m no longer lugging around that giant tub of paper and ink. This, I realize is a larger project and one that will involve some emotional energy as well as time. Speaking of which, I’ve set aside some time this week to tackle the first step by organizing my electronic files. You might call it Getting All My Docs in a Row.

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6 Responses to Strategizing Digitizing

  1. Diane says:

    I have such mixed feelings about going digital. On the one hand, it sure would be space saving. On the other, well. Formats change, don’t they? It would be a continual process of upgrading and changing over time, whereas paper is always paper. Doesn’t need to be plugged in.

    I feel the same way about e-books. I love the convenience and the portability and the fact that they don’t crowd up the place. But now I read that B&N’s Nook is in trouble… and if it goes, so goes my library, because it turns out one doesn’t “own” the e-books one purchased… one is just renting them. Can’t port them to a different e-reader if Nook goes belly up. Once again, paper books are just there. Don’t need to be plugged in. Don’t require special equipment or software.

    Yes. Mixed feelings.

    • Little Life says:

      Hi Diane,

      I used to have mixed feelings about going digital, but these days I’m liking it more and more. Formats do change but we have a few that seem fairly stable these days (especially pdfs) and I have a hunch we’ll have conversion programs available when the time comes to make the switch to something better. As for e-books, I was a skeptic at first, but now I LOVE my kindle. I only keep 10 paper books (and three of them are very special kids books). The rest are electronic or library books. I don’t feel any real compulsion to own books anyhow! But this is one of those to each her own things. If you like having books in your home, by all means, surround yourself with them and revel in it! :-)

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