Sunday, December 28, 2014

Piles and piles of papers

I started my desk/office area organization by taking all the piles covering all the surfaces, and dumping everything into a couple of banker boxes... Just temporary of course -- it would be easy to just leave things that way, but then instead of being overrun with papers, I'd be overrun with banker boxes. Quite honestly after moving as many times as I have, I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to cardboard by now.

I realized in doing this that one of the issues that I struggle with is what to ultimately do with all those papers... Bills, invoices, receipts, medical papers, tax forms...aaack!  Using a file cabinet is one idea, but it really isn't convenient, plus those folders and drawers fill up fast too, making it difficult to file, causing me to go back to just throwing things into boxes...

But still, that being said,  I'm pretty sure that my previous way of dealing with these items (I.e., shoving everything in a box to file or deal with later) was not working out too well. Heaven forbid I needed to retrieve anything from that black hole of papers.

I did a little research and found that the IRS accepts scanned copies of receipts so why keep all this paper? I have a paid Dropbox account, and a lovely scanner. So! I spent the evening scanning receipts into appropriate folders and creating a huge pile of papers TO TOSS! Yay.  The only papers I'm keeping the actual original receipts on are things that I can't easily get a new copy of, or things with an important original signature on them. Most everything else can be accessed or requested online anymore anyway.

Because I am quite the nerd about backing up and having things accessible, I set up two folders in my Evernote account to automatically check the corresponding two folders in my Dropbox account. This means that when I scan something directly into my "2014 Tax Receipts" folder in Dropbox, Evernote will go in and grab it and put it in the corresponding folder I have set up in Evernote, so I have it saved now in two places. I also did that for serial numbers and product codes for the software that I upgrade from time to time.

(Side note here: The reason that I like to save things, especially really important things in Evernote, is that even scanned PDFs are indexed within the program automatically, and even line items in a receipt become searchable.)

Day 2 now, still scanning away. I should have the last box of papers finished shortly. It's actually pretty exciting to imagine this step almost done!

(I'm sure it would go a lot faster if I wasn't juggling an almost-2-year-old on my lap watching vacuum videos on my second monitor).

Update - December 28, 2014 -

Two boxes of "to file" papers emptied. Important documents scanned and electronically filed!  The rest are being filed here:

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