Monday, August 27, 2007
Swimming in paper? You're not alone! Yesterday I took a major step toward reducing my own paper - and now I'm hooked.
I'd already reviewed my paper files and eliminated the stuff that's totally unnecessary - out of date information, information readily found on-line, etc. But I still had lots of paper! Nicely organized - but close to overflowing the space I had for it.
So I started with the receipts from home improvements - necessary tax records - and gave three pieces of office equipment a good work-out.
1. My Scanner
My Fujitsu ScanSnap did a fine job of quickly creating good-quality PDFs. And I found I really liked having the information on the computer, at my fingertips. Within my Home Improvements folder I created sub-folders for each major project (1992 New Front Fence, 1994 Bathroom, etc.) so I can see at a glance when I did each project. I scanned contracts, invoices, receipts, material lists, drawings, etc.
2. My Shredder
Some of the records (such as old checks) definitely needed to be shredded. My old cross-cut shredder got yet another workout.
NOTE: Please check with your own tax accountant or attorney before deciding to shred or otherwise dispose of tax-related records.
3. My External Hard Drive
I've always tried to be good about doing frequent back-ups - I wouldn't want to lose my calendar, my contacts, my bookmarks, my e-mail, etc. But now the back-ups are more important than ever. I bought an external hard drive for back-ups some time ago, and it works well for me. I'll be ordering a second one within the next few days, so I can keep one in my safe deposit box.
Speaking of back-ups, the San Francisco Chronicle had a good story today that explained how critical they are and provided a summary of the various back-up options. You want a back-up in case of fire, theft, etc. - and also in case your computer's hard drive dies.
[photo by redjar / Jared and Corin]