Have you already started to go paperless at home? Email, Apps, mobile computing and cloud are all making us more digitally connected and less reliant on paper. As a father, I often look after and keep all of my family’s documents ( such as school reports and medical information) so that I can share these with them when needed.
So what do you need to go digital at home and remove all of the paper clutter from your life? Cloud storage services are an important part of this. Google drive, Microsoft one-drive and iCloud are popular and worth considering. You might also want to think about other providers that support work-flow or provide end to end encryption such as Box and Sync.
After trying different solutions I found that I needed more than just a cloud storage service to go digital at home. The first problem was what to do with all of the letters, important documents and other papers that I had accumulated or still received. A small shredder is important to dispose of these conveniently and cross-cut shredders provide an increased level of security to protect your personal information.
You will also need to be able to scan those paper documents to your preferred cloud storage service. Photo scanning apps on your camera and other devices can be useful and the software can optimise and convert the images to other formats. That might be all you need for single documents if you don’t have an existing paper archive to capture.
I recently decided to buy a dedicated document scanner (which was drastically reduced at Officeworks because it was old stock) and was really pleased with how quickly it helped produce high quality digital copies of my important archives. The document scanner is not suitable for scanning photos or other documents such as certificates and it is best to use a flat-bed or more specialised image scanner for these.
Document editing software is also important for creating and managing the documents in your archive. I am using Adobe Acrobat but the alternatives are also worth trying. This software can be used to capture and optimise the scanned images and convert these to your preferred file format. I have chosen PDF and use the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) features for text recognition so that the document is searchable. Your documents can also be encrypted with a password and sensitive information masked to protect it.
You should also think about how to protect your most sensitive and valuable documents and backup and recovery of your digital archive. It might be worth creating a digital vault with extra security features such as password protection and stronger encryption for legal documents or medical records.
A document scanner used in conjunction with document editing software and cloud storage service, has finally enabled me to adopt a workflow for capture, processing, storage of digital files. The shredder is the final step to free up space in the home once the document is checked. This will enable you to get rid of the clutter at home and still keep all of your important records and memories.
Once you have done that it’s time to tackle your emails! I am still working on that too.