Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Simple Office:Going Paperless


Another one of my "Stacks" of documents

Stuff, like most people I have a love hate realationship with Stuff. As a lawyer by day, a reader, a collector, and the owner of a scrapbooking paper company, I have collected lots and lots of papers. Add in the fact that we live overseas and are required to file taxes in not one, but two Countries and one State, add in the fact that the kids bring home stacks and stacks of paperwork from school. Add in the mail (which thankfully we don’t get much of) and my un-natural desire to save old magazines, recipes and ideas and you end up with a whole lot of CRAP.


One set of our shelves and one memo board (my side mirrors this)

The company I work for is a big proponant of the 5S system, which works for manufacturing facilities, but is a bit harder to convert into an office. My office at the factory, well that is already clean. It is the home office that has multiple shelves, drawers, surfaces and desks filled with paper.


My Husband's Desk

I am not advocating a full purge (that is a Minimalist plan and not my bag) and for me baby steps are key, but I have taken another step at removing all of the unneeded papers from our home. Stage One is the home office. I spent some $ on a real scanner a Fujitsu Scansnap1500, which is probably more than the average home needs, but I need to scan papers for work and my old flat bed just doesn’t cut it. So, after bringing home my new toy, I scanned in over 6 inches of paper, threw out 5 empty binders and recycled all of the paper. This took just over 2 hours. I then uploaded a bunch to Evernote and stored the rest on an external hard drive. A rough estimate of the pages scanned was around 500 and I easily have another 8-9 binders filled with seminar notes to scan (at least another 500 sheets of paper) plus 10 years of old tax records (which we have kept as we file in multiple jurisdictions and they each require specific records).

The First Stack of Scanned Documents

I estimate if I spend this weekend scanning and then one more weekend organizing the files both “online” and in the hard drive I should be down to only one drawer of physical papers left in the office. This puts me square in line for my goal of cleaning up the office in January. After the “paper” is gone I can work on the rest of the stuff, which is primarily my scrapbook/art supplies. The final step is to load all of the family geneology stuff online into a Dropbox for my sister so she can access the information as well.

The remainder of the house, well that is for another month.

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