Cutting down the paper mountain

An annoying aspect of moving home was the sheer volume of paper we moved between houses. Despite living in a digital age, paper was a third of the total weight moved.

We’ll put books and magazines – probably the largest part – to one side and concentrate on other paper. It is time to become a paperless journalist.

Home business is paper-centric

I run a home business and my wife also has a business. We have plenty of paper. Our three two-drawer filing cabinets are full of business documents. We store at least the same amount in boxes.

We’re journalists, so we keep archive copies of newspapers, magazines etc we have written for in the past – about two filing cabinets. Reference material fills another cabinet.

There’s another cabinet of non-work related paper. Add in our children’s old schoolbooks and their paper junk.

All-in-all our paper collection would fill a room. Around 6 full-sized filing cabinets.

Admittedly we’re at the high-end of the scale, but our paper hoard is not abnormal.

Clearly I need to get rid of as much paper as possible. Ideally we’d have no paper, we’d be paperless. But that’s unrealistic.

I’m aiming to cut the paper mountain to just two two-drawer filing cabinets and my scanner is my friend.

Before starting, remember paper is:

  • Awkward to move
  • Heavy
  • Bulky
  • Relatively fragile
  • Many documents are badly faded or torn
  • Combustible
  • Prone to mould (and therefore unhealthy)
  • Difficult to search.

Move to paperless started years before

We knew the move was coming, so I started scanning documents well in advance. Six months later I estimate I turned around 10 percent of the total paper pile into digital documents. At this rate it could take four years to reach my paperless target.

8 thoughts on “Cutting down the paper mountain

  1. Pingback: The paperless journalist: dealing with my work portfolio at Bill Bennett

  2. Of possible interest:

    Mendeley Desktop and Mekentosj Papers are software for managing pdf’s and other electronic documents.

    DjVu is a format optimized for storing scanned papers. Compression and speed rates are competitively higher than pdf files. There are different tools for creating djvu files, my favourite is djvudigital(gsdjvu), a command line utility for linux that batch converts all the scanned documents I’ve already made pdf’s out of.

  3. Pingback: Paperless journalist: Business cards

  4. Pingback: Paperless journalist: Pushing the envelope

  5. Pingback: Why I’m sticking with Xero  - Bill Bennett

  6. Pingback: Paperless journalist gets a scanner upgrade   >>  Bill Bennett

  7. Pingback: Ebook readers make me weep

  8. Pingback: Why paperless journalists need Canvas for OneNote

Comments are closed.