Updated: Feb 10
Even if you don't have a Home Office, you likely have a filing cabinet, drawer, or maybe even a shoebox full of paper documents you've accumulated over the years. Some of these documents might be important such as Birth Certificates, Passports, Medical Records etc. documents that you should/need to hold onto long-term.
Mixed in with these essential documents might be articles you clipped from newspapers or magazines that you meant to look at but never did, old school work from either your kids or your University days, and paper copies of bills that are no longer relevant. These documents are transitory items meant to be kept for a short term and then disposed of.
Some people still prefer a physical document, the same way people prefer to read paperbacks instead of E-readers, feeling comforted and less stressed by having access to the physical document if need be. This is why, even in the current digital age of our society, Paper Organizing is still a requested service for Professional Organizers. Not everyone is willing or ready to leap digital but is still in need of something more sophisticated than a Shoebox.
As comforting as Paper may be, there are many advantages to digitizing your documents, no matter what skill level you are at with technology. Listed below are 5 reasons why any homeowner should consider digitizing their files either with the help of a Professional Organizer or on their own!
1. Clear the Clutter
If you have a small home/space and find that your paper documents are taking up valuable real estate in that spare room or office, then consider digitizing documents. Saving documents that have been digitized to either a USB stick, External Harddrive, or even to the Cloud (i.e. Google Drive, iCloud) takes up a fraction of the space than those piles of papers all around your home.
It is important however that you digitize only those documents that you wish to keep long term OR are required to keep. There is always a danger that you are migrating the clutter from one place to another, so the same organizing principles of clear, categorize & organize should be followed!
With the ability to have the entire Internet at our fingertips 24/7 with our Cellphones & Tablets, having access to a digital copy of important documents is both simple and convenient. As the documents are digitized, they should be named & filed in a folder structure that makes sense to the owner of the items so everything can be easily accessed and located at a moment's notice, reducing stress & anxiety.
Additionally, if you need to share something with someone, you can easily find the document and attach it to an email or text message thread almost instantly instead of having to return home to dig for it in your files.
3. Preserve Memories
If you have a young child or children and feel you have totes and boxes full of art, school work, awards etc. over the years that hold a special sentimental attachment, but are also taking up space, then digitizing is perfect for you!
Snapping photos, or scanning the art/documents allows you to create a digital memory, something that can be viewed at any time with ease. It is also great for sharing memories with family members far away, either through Social Media posts or even by creating digital scrapbooks in apps such as Skrappify or Photofy at the click of a button.
4. Back-up of Important Documents
There is nothing more devastating than losing important documents, be it from a fire, or accidentally thrown out with the recycling. To give you an extra layer of security and peace of mind digitizing documents so they are accessible in the event of an emergency is a great solution!
Making multiple copies of very important documents such as Birth Certificates, Immunization Records, mortgages, Banking information etc. is simple with digital files. For example, you can save a copy on an Encrypted USB stick that is stored in a fireproof safe in your home as well as in password-protected folders in the Cloud so that if you lose your phone, or cannot access your home, you are still able to access these documents anywhere in the world!
Always make sure that any files with sensitive information are password protected in the event of theft, and that the files are also kept up to date with the latest information, especially for children & pets!
5. Help the Environment (Transient Documents Only)
Last but certainly not least, deciding to go digital is a great help to the environment. The less paper that is produced the happier our trees and forests remain. In some cases, having no paper is impossible, especially on those records that are invaluable to keep, however reducing the amount of transient paper that comes in and out of your home will keep you organized and the planet happy.
Deciding to go paperless on monthly bills such as your cellphone, internet, banking etc. is a great option. The digital copies of these can be downloaded and saved in folders if you still want to keep a record, or you can access these bills at any time from the customer portals on their company websites.
Reducing the mountain of paper down to a small box or folder system will make a world of difference in both your home and the environment!
How can a Professional Organizer help?
If you're drowning in a sea of papers and not sure where to start, or even what documents you should keep/toss then it may be a good idea to have a chat with a Professional Organizer.
With their keen eye for detail and objective evaluation of the items and your needs, they can easily help create simple organizing systems, sort the junk from the key documents, and even shred/dispose of the items that are no longer relevant. Regardless of the medium, the principles of organizing stay the same.
Nowadays it would be hard-pressed to find a Business Owner who is not familiar in some sense with technology or with the process of how to digitize documents. When speaking with your Organizer, ask questions about digitizing files. I encourage you to not dismiss the concept of digitizing your documents due to fear or unfamiliarity with the process. Finding a Professional Organizer who is adaptable, knowledgeable, and capable of completing the digitizing process should be able to create exactly what you're looking for.
It's true, that not all Professional Organizers are technology wizards, myself included, but if you've scanned a document at your home/office or snapped a photo of a receipt with your phone, then you can digitize any document with ease!
Ready to get started?
So am I! Please check out my digitizing documents page to learn more about the package I offer!
Fill out the form here to arrange your free 30-minute consultation with me, a Certified Professional Organizer, today!
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About the Author: Brittany Smith lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband and feline furbaby Zoey. She is a Certified Professional Organizer, Owner, and Founder of Control the Chaos, a Professional Organizing business that provides personalized in-home, virtual and digital organizing services aimed at transforming anyone's chaos into calm.