I’m scanning today. My partner has a couple thousand pages of documents that need to be scanned. And it’s pretty easy. Because I have one of these:
About three and a half years ago, when I had decided I would move from France to the UK, I realized that the 12 linear feet of shelf space that my accounting records took up would get in the way. Not that I didn’t have lots of other stuff to move, but those records – for a business that I was closing in France – would become unnecessary. However, I needed to keep them, to finalize my tax payments, to have bank records, and to have records of purchases. So I decided, at that point, to go paperless.
I bought a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), which had been recommended by a couple of people I knew who had gone paperless. It was expensive; about twice what it costs now, but the amount of time and hassle it has saved me over the years has been invaluable. (To be fair, it was a bumpy start.)
Scanning those accounting files took a couple of weeks, working a few hours a day. (Plus a lot of time shredding.) After I moved, I decided to go entirely paperless. I used David Sparks’ Paperless, and Joe Kissell’s Take Control of Your Paperless Office, to understand the principles of going paperless, and it didn’t take long before all my files were digital.
Once you’ve converted – and shredded – all your documents, you don’t even notice the minimal work you need to stay paperless. Each scan takes a few seconds, or a couple of minutes if you have a long document. When you’ve developed a filing system, it becomes second nature. It’s only on days like today, when I have a huge stack of files to scan, that I even realize how beneficial this purchase has been.
If I had known, I would have opted for the more expensive ScanSnap iX500 (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), which has a larger document feeder, and wifi, and is faster. And I’ve thought from time to time that, if mine dies, I’ll replace it with the better model, but it seems to be a workhorse. It’s rare that I have a lot of documents to scan, and it’s no hassle to have the device connected to my Mac.
But, for now, this is one of the best pieces of hardware I’ve ever bought. It’s an essential tool for a modern home or office, where we are inundated with paper.