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Operation Kill Paper begins again

Sorry I've been offline. The in-laws offered to take Emma for an overnight with her cousin, and Eleanor and I took the evening off to go out on a date. I figured if I'm taking an evening off from being a parent, I can take an evening off from being a blogger, too.

With a dining room table and high-speed Internet available to me, I decided to get back to Operation Kill Paper, which was last conducted in December back in San Diego. The plan is to reduce this:

Co Spgs kill paper pile.jpg

... to this:

Co Spgs kill paper CD.jpg

I found that most of the paper can be trashed immediately. It's amazing how much paper we had in the files that we really didn't need. I spent much of yesterday and today scanning the rest, and earmarking things to be dropped off in storage when we get back to Vermont.

Getting rid of the paper is a job, too. It's all sensitive data, filled with account numbers, tax ID #s, SS #s, etc. Shredding it all is out of the question -- I have enough to overheat any shredder, and shredding takes too long anyway. We'll burn it tomorrow night in the campfire ring.

People often say how "brave" we are for tossing the paper in favor of scanned images. But really, this is much safer. A fire or water leak in the trailer would probably result in total loss of our paper files. Once scanned, however, I have multiple copies and can re-print any document in seconds. One copy of everything will be on my laptop, another on Eleanor's laptop, a third on my backup hard drive, and a fourth copy will be burned to CD and mailed offsite for ultimate security.

Moreover, I don't have to worry about someone coming in the trailer and stealing documents for purposes of identify theft (not that I was really concerned in the first place). I can easily encrypt the entire folder of "scanned documents" so that nobody but Eleanor and I can view them -- better than a safe!

The only downside of this is the initial job of scanning a few years worth of documents. We brought documents (mostly tax records) going back to 2003. I have invested several days, counting the time back in San Diego, getting all that paper reduced to electrons. Going forward it should be much easier, since I scan new incoming documents every couple of weeks, and also because we are receiving much less paper these days than before we started full-timing.



We haven't kept or even printed federal or state tax returns for years. We do our taxes on-line with TurboTax and let Intuit keep all the historical records. That may sound scary but I trust them to keep the records for the required number of years. This year we had reason to go back 3 years to correct a mistake. Retreiving the records was a snap. Perhaps you might give TurboTax a try next year. Then, you can eliminate that scanning, too.

I am a fan of Leo Laporte's tech podcasts. He recently mentioned NeatReceipts Professional Mobile Scanner & Software Combination for Business Cards, Expense Management and Reporting. It's available on Amazon.

Scanning is great. We've done about 3000 photos, but no docs. Eileen & I are headed to Colorado in late August. Hope you are enjoying the weather. Beats the TX heat. Maybe we'll see you in cool January. Regards, Stan & Eileen

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