As I explained in Strategizing Digitizing, my New Year's Resolution is to go paperless. After conducting my New Year's Re-Inventory yesterday and realizing that I'm over on My 200 Things Challenge I decided to get to work. I was a little horrified when I took inventory today and realized I had The Only Existing Copy of various electronic files stored in the following places:
- my laptop computer,
- my personal drive at school,
- two different USB keys,
- my back up hard drive,
- Google docs,
- Dropbox, and
- a small collection of CD-Rs.
I used to have documents on floppy disks and a zip drive, too, but I tossed those years ago when I couldn’t find a computer which still accepted them. It was definitely time to consolidate! It doesn't make sense for a minimalist to have this many Little Pieces of Important Paper.
I haven’t yet added the documents from my personal drive at school, but I started with the documents that were handy. I dumped everything from my USB keys, back-up hard drive, and CDs onto my laptop. This involved borrowing an external CD drive since my MacBook Air doesn’t have a CD drive. (Note to self: when your computer has evolved beyond a storage technology, it’s time to catch up with it!)
I’d used various organizing schemes over the years so it took a little while to get everything sorted into a new filing system, but eventually I got there. I was surprised by how much I could archive. I do still feel compelled to keep much of it, but it’s not relevant to my daily life, so I don’t need it available there at a glance in the left-hand sidebar. It’s now nicely organized within my Archive folder and I can still get to it quickly if necessary. The folders I do seem to use on a regular basis are these:
- Little Life
- Tiny Houses
- a folder for each of my classes (which I add to the archive at the end of the term)
I’m still Strategizing Digitizing. Scanners are notoriously unreliable. Working with them has often given me more headaches than it’s worth. A friend of mine has a scanner he loves and he offered to loan it to me. So I took it home and messed around with scanner drivers for a while, but I never could get it to work for me. I looked into buying the brand and model he swears by, but I’m not in a place to spend upwards of $300 on a scanner right now. I considered buying a used scanner off Craigslist, but I couldn’t find one that would scan both sides of the page and I don’t have the patience to feed pages through. I think it would take me a week to scan all my documents and if it’s that cumbersome I’ll quickly abandon the habit. Anyone out there have a digitizing strategy they’d recommend?