How to remove unwanted paper from your life.

I've decided to go paperless.

That might sound odd coming from a greeting card designer, but one thing I learned after my mother passed away, is that sorting through someone's papers can be time consuming and difficult. One small file can take more time to make decisions about, than a large closet of clothes.  Now I realize how important it is to eliminate paper from our office (and life), and it is easy to do by scanning, filing and storing it digitally.

After listening to a podcast on the "paperless office," I realized I could get rid of all the paper in my house, including filing cabinets, news clippings, recipes and photos.  Best of all, they are now safely stored in the cloud, and on an external drive. And photo albums can be accessed by all family members.

ScanSnap accepts any shape, size or color -- all at once.

One podcast suggested using "ScanSnap" to go paperless, so I bought one. I found this mobile device has several advantages over a regular scanner. Here's why:
ScanSnap is small and portable.
  • It's portable.
  • You don't need a power outlet. You can just plug it into your computer.
  • It is idiot-proof and only has one button (my style!)
  • You can load and scan 10 sheets in a minute.
  • It scans all sizes, and auto-adjusts borders accordingly.
  • It scans both sides at once.
  • It auto corrects if you put something in crooked.
  • You can pre-set it to feed scans directly into the cloud (such as dropbox, etc) and/or share them.
  • You can scan something in a word document and then edit it afterwards (or pdf, excel, etc)!   See demo in video below.
  • After scanning, Scansnap can transform the words in the document so they are as searchable (OCR). For example, if you bought a lamp at Office Depot and then scanned in the receipt and did not name your file, you can find it by searching for the words "Office Depot" or "lamp" on your computer.
  • Business cards can be scanned into a database form. 
  • It offers high res options for images.
  • You can do scanning in a car (or on a bicycle!)

If you only have one project and don't need to keep the scanner you can resell it on Amazon, and recover most of your costs. That is what one woman on a podcast said she did.
If you decide to have a paperless office, be prepared to:
  • Set aside a large space where you can scan for a week or several days.
  • Take breaks every 3 hours.
  • Don't rush yourself. 
  • Keep a shredder nearby for sensitive documents. 
  • Don't allow more paper to come in.  Urge people to send you digital copies of documents instead.  
So how does this affect greeting cards I receive? I scan them and now I can find them. They are all organized in a digital folder, instead of mixed among receipts and articles.

Resources:
ScanSnap  on Amazon offers 15% discount and comes with a business card reader.
Paperless Office a Podcast Recording.
Paperless Field Guide, an Ipad interactive book with over an hour of video instruction.


ScanSnap Demo

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