Do you need to keep that paper? It depends. An answer you may have heard before. Each genealogist is different, some embrace the clutter-free paperless lifestyle, others hold tight to something with physical substance. And many of us fall somewhere in between the Digital Divide.
As a former journalist, I find the smell of ink on paper is like heady perfume, second only to that wonderful smell of bookstores, libraries, and dusty attics full of old books and papers. I love paper and I’m not giving it up anytime soon. But, I’d rather spend time researching ancestors than searching for notes buried deep in paper piles, and my computer search engine can find files faster than my fingers in a filing cabinet.
I’ve moved toward less paper, without eliminating “the good stuff” entirely, and saved time, money (paper filing systems are expensive), and hassle. The idea of scanning everything is too much for me, but with the help of a few pieces of office equipment, I’ve been able to convert thousands of paper pages into digital documents I can access easier and faster. As a bonus, as I review and scan old files, I’ve found a lot of paper that I can toss in the trash.
The Paper Clutter Buster
My best weapon against paper clutter is a desktop scanner designed to make quick work of paper piles. The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i Mobile Document Scanner is the smallest model offered in the ScanSnap family but it’s speed and features make it a good option for someone getting started with a paperless office.
Although the big-brother model, Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner is faster and handles more pages in the document feeder, I’ve found that the 10-sheet capacity limit of the ScanSnap S1300i can be expanded by adding more pages to the tray as the scanner finishes with the last few pages. Both models offer two-sided scanning, easy filenaming, multiple file formats including PDF, and can handle odd sized paper and receipts.
Photos and heirloom original documents are probably the only paper I don’t run through the ScanSnap; I still use my Epson flatbed scanner for fragile or irreplaceable items.
Scan With a Plan
A fast, easy to use scanner like the Fuji Scan Snap is a big help in moving toward a paperless life, but you also need a plan for managing your newly created digital files.
If you want to manage less paper
If you want to find documents faster, easier
If you want to learn how to move from a paper to digital document system
Join me for The Paper-less Genealogist, on-demand one hour webinar followed by a great Q&A session at Legacy FamilyTree Webinars. Learn simple strategies to break the paper habit, file less paper, and organize what you keep. Learn the best scanner for your needs, basic scanner settings for genealogists, file-naming for easy retrieval, and baby steps to help you move toward managing less paper.
REGISTER for upcoming free Legacy FamilyTree Webinars, and subscribe for access to over 450 outstanding genealogy presentations.
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