"For anyone who collects paper, here you go."
The "collects paper" concept has echoed in my mind ever since. The contrast of such a thing in cultures not built around scrapbooking and souvenir collections got my attention. He wasn't being sarcastic, degrading, or even humorous. It was his way of identifying the reason every flyer, ticket stub, brochure, etc. was hoarded by the travellers.
We collect paper.
Our paper collection is out of control. You know the drill. Not sure if you'll need this or that document, forget what's in a stack of files, cleaning out an office in a hurry; before you know if you're storing boxes of unidentified PAPER.
This makes me crazy.
Not all of our paper collection is unidentified. Geoff has carried from one place to another two very full, perfectly organized file boxes. These are full of hanging files separating paperwork from each and every class taken since his freshman year of college. I am not even kidding.
I rarely had papers for classes I was in process of taking. He STILL has all of them. These added to an additional foot or two of files and paper collections we have that are all in various stages of organization. Old mortgage paperwork, tax records, work notes, you name it.
We are both mutually tired of lugging around stacks of paper.
Introducing, our new best friend:
Scanners have come a long way. I thought they still just turned documents into pictures but this scanner/software converts it into usable text! Geoff scanned in a stack of school papers and immediately had them in completely editable formats in the word processor of choice. We're in love.
Not only is this little guy LITTLE, it's fast, smart, quiet and all around efficient. A welcome addition to our little family.
So what happens after we scan it in?
Enter Evernote and Google Drive.
In our dream of going paperless we will utilize multiple cloud networks - meaning online storage platforms. Though we're still finalizing our options, Evernote and Google drive are two of our favorites and we use additional places for photos and general computer backups as needed. They all play nicely together which makes this solution more cohesive than it sounds.
We've utilized Evernote on a sporadic basis for a couple of years, but are ready to take it full time and really stretch its proverbial legs. Searchable, secure, online storage like this makes life much easier. From my smartphone I can have a receipt tagged and stored in an online, paperless document before I get out of the store. When tax time comes, instead of pulling out the paper pile of dread I can quickly recall any receipt or transaction as needed in our personal online database. Considering my track record of losing necessary receipts more often than not, this will come in quite handy.
Though we will never be completely paperless (car titles, passports, etc. are best kept in the original - though we can scan backup copies!) we are looking forward to streamlining this area of our life on an increasing basis.
For now, off to tackle another stack of paper.