Friday, April 4, 2008

Scanning My Life Away

I am a hoarder. I come from a long line of hoarders. Well, maybe hoarder is a strong word for it. We're Yankees, thrifty, savers, re-users, recyclers, frugal, cheap, packrats. Yup, I am a packrat. Although I am a semi-reformed pack rat. I CAN get rid of things - give them away, have a tag sale, donate them, etc. This is totally the influence of the Hubby.

But one area I have difficultly letting go in is PAPER. I have tax returns from 1990. I have paystubs from when we lived in CA (1990 - 1992). I have paperwork from Hubby's job in 1993 (anyone need a memo on the new guy?). I have grocery store receipts from 10 years ago. I have invoices from Hubby's salesman job in 1993- 2001. I have boxes and boxes of PAPER.

Part of my issue is fear. I am afraid I will need this information sometime, so I keep it. But I also need SPACE in my basement. So I have found the perfect solution. I convinced my bosses I needed the ScanSnap550.

This thing is awesome!! It scans to pdf - in color, double or single sided, and has an option for OCR (so I can search it for keywords later - so when I want to find the receipts for Walmart, I just type in "walmart" as the search word and viola! there it is!).

So, I have gone through the 14 boxes of old paperwork, culling out the crap, recovering the binder clips and rediscovering how stupid we used to be. It was amazing to look at what we paid for things, the interest rates we paid, and how long it took to pay things off. I found the appraisal for the heart pendent and earrings Hubby bought for me for our 6th Wedding Anniversary. I found the paperwork for when we bought our dog Chewie ($600 cost - financed for $900). I have pulled out the important stuff to scan and have about 15 boxes of pure crap that needs to be shredded.

I found a company that will come to the house, shred all the boxes in front of me (15 to 25 minutes to complete the job) and then be on it's way. I have easily met the minimum amount of boxes.

So now, i need to scan all the "important" stuff that I normally would feel like I need to hold onto. Then they can go into the shred pile. So I tackled the bank statements the other night.

I scanned 3 INCHES of bank statements in 45 minutes (black - not color; double sided; not using the OCR option). All that - years of information - now digitally stored and searchable (after I change the files to OCR'd files). AWESOME!!

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