July 6, 2008


The office has been "paperless" for some time. That does not mean there is no paper there. Or that we do not keep paper records. But our primary document storage system is electronic, and I rarely consult physical documents there.

Being a fan of technology, I'm a big advocate of paperless document storage. And The Wife doesn't want to keep a lot of documents around. She doesn't like the filing but doesn't trust me to do it regularly.

And being a lawyer, I'm an inveterate record-keeper. I don't want to throw away financial statements or documents.

So it's remarkable that we haven't done this before -- scan and store all of our bills. We've had the scanner for a long time now and mostly it's sat there serving no higher purpose than giving the cat somewhere to roost while she looks out the window.

Scanning in all the household bills has enabled us to discard a bunch of paper rather than keep it, and it encourages me to keep a disciplined approach to my hard drive backup schedule. There's plenty of room for more zeros and ones on the hard drive, and with a backup system in place it shouldn't be too hard to get a reliable enough system in place. I can keep the bills as long as I like and we can be free from the clutter and burden of storage. A good thing all around.


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Burt Likko said...

Thanks for your thoughts, prasad. Unfortunately, I have a no-advertising policy here, so I've deleted your comment because in my judgment it contains significant commercial content. I've reprinted your substantive questions below:

You are one of the few people that I have seen who have taken the much needed steps to go paperless - scan all previous paper life and recycle them. I was wondering what you are doing with paper that continues to show up at your doorstep. Did you or your wife set aside time to actively scan, catalog and backup the electronic images? If so, I would like to know how long it has been taking for you on a monthly basis.

My wife and I started this process over a year ago and the more we talked to friends and family members, we heard that they wanted to do the same but could not find the time.

To answer your question, scanning in about two months' worth of backed-up papers took about forty-five minutes. I suspect that if I'm faithful about scanning in the bills as they come in for the future, it will take about ten minutes a week from here.

Scanning and storing documents of this nature is not something I would trust any outside company to do, myself. The information on these sorts of bills is very personal in nature and could easily lead to identity theft.