Friday, September 07, 2012

All that Misc. Paperwork

Ok, in my last post I introduced my paperwork system.  In this post I would like to discuss the miscellaneous stack of paperwork that we set aside in the last post.  This is all the papers, magazine articles, business cards, notes on scratch papers.  I have to say, this can be the most overwhelming stack as there isn't just a neat little category in which they fit.

While I no longer have my misc stack to show you, I can explain the process I used to make it disappear.

Tools I recommend:
You can always use your printer's scanner like this one OR
you could get this wand scanner that I am dying to get or this one which is also highly recommended. 

And if you want the Rolls Royce of scanners it seems to be this dual sided scanner.

Now that I am going paperless I have found Evernote to be an INVALUABLE tool.  If my paperwork does not contain any identifying private information I keep it in Evernote.  This includes all of the following: warranties, magazine articles, online articles, recipes, any and all home school resources, farming resources and much more.  Because of the volume and the extent to which I am using Evernote I have invested in a premium account.

Google Drive
Finally, I highly recommend a secure online storage system.  Since my ultimate goal is to go completely paperless I looked for something that I could feel confident in keeping my family's private documents.  I chose Google Drive (formally Google Docs) for several reasons.  First I was already using it.  Second Google had recently upgraded to Drive which made it much more versatile.  Third, it has a drag and drop feature that I love.   Forth, I could easily share documents with others as needed.  Finally, it met the security measures that I needed.  Not only does it require a password to enter it that expires at least every 30 days per device, but I have it set up with a secondary security features that sends a validation code to my iPhone that I then have to enter before getting into my Google account.  That means if someone were clever enough to guess my password, they would also need my cell phone to get the validation code.

I will tell you, I don't recommend these tools lightly.  My scanner has become my best friend.  lol and now that I am putting this stuff in Evernote and Google drive I am actually using it!  How's that for a concept.  Evernote has an AMAZING search engine.  It will search and find info from my scanned in, hand written notes.  I have tested it.  It will search text in PDF files and in pics.  How I keep Evernote organized will have to be a blog post all on it's own.  

So now that you have all your tools in place let's take a look at how I tackled this project.

Because there were no pressing matters in this stack the only way I arranged it was so that it didn't fall over.  Yes, it was that tall.  Every day after I finished my daily priority paperwork, i would take ten items off the top of this stack and handle.  That's right ten items a day.  Did it take longer to handle it this way? Yes!  Did it seem manageable to handle this way? Definitely!

Out of those ten items, I pulled the items I knew I wanted to keep and I scanned them.  After I scanned the item, I sent it to either Evernote or dragged it into my Google Drive folder. After it was successfully scanned and sent to the proper program I through the paper version in my paper recycling sack and deleted the hard copy off of my pc (only if I had sent to Evernote)

Next I would go through business cards.  Some of these I had for years from booths I had visited at different events.  So first I would look up their website and see if the company still existed.  If they no longer existed, I tossed the card. If they did exist I would find the item that interested me to begin with and I would "clip it" into Evernote with the Evernote Web Clipper.  Then I would toss the card.  If the company no longer appealed to me, I tossed the card and moved on.

Next, hand written notes.  If it was a brief note I would just create a new note in Evernote and type in the information.  If the note was long then i would scan in and send to Evernote.  And many times I would just toss it.

The kids pictures they have drawn or colored for me I scanned and sent to Evernote and recycled the original. If I came across any photographs, I put them with my scrapbook stuff.  As I came across recipes I evaluated whether I would ever truly make the recipe.  I thought I would like to make it then I scanned it in (I scanned very few in), if not I would chunk it. 

It probably took me two weeks to go through this paper (Monday-Saturday).

I would be happy to answer any questions you have so please feel free to fire away.


Patti said...

1) I loooooove Evernote. But it never occurred to me to use it for this purpose! I just tested taking a pic of a doc with my phone in Evernote and it worked! The text in the picture WAS searchable. This method is much more likely for me to actually implement because I have a serious procrastination problem when I have to scan things (computer and scanner are in different rooms, etc)

2) what benefits does the premium Evernote account have that inspired you to upgrade?

3) Google Drive intrigues me. Did all your former Google docs move in there? I have Google docs and am wondering if that is all different now. Must look into it.

4) thank you so much for taking the time to write this all up. You have given me some great new ideas. Paperwork is THE biggest frustration in my home management efforts.

Brandi in TX said...


I added answers to your questions here: