Effort-free, box-it-up paperwork management

Anthony Fisher lists at 2799.org
Fri Aug 21 21:40:20 BST 2009

Peter Corlett <abuse at cabal.org.uk> wrote:

> On 21 Aug 2009, at 17:27, James Laver wrote:
> >My flat is a tip, my desk is atrocious and my crate of paperwork
> >(unsorted of course) is getting out of control.

Important tip: get a system in-place and working for new incoming
stuff before you try to deal with your backlog. Put all the unsorted
stuff in a box to start with, to stop it spreading.

> The shredder is your friend. Usually about 50-70% of any pile of  
> paperwork that's been ignored for a while is envelopes, bill-stuffers,  
> junk mail, and stuff that's now out of date and worthless.

Agreed. Do some Googling first to work out how long you need to keep
different types of document for. Sites like lifehacker.com and
unclutterer.com will have plenty to say about this.

You shouldn't have so much that you need a really clever filing
system. Whatever system you use, it needs to be really easy to file
stuff, or you won't do it.
> >Also, bulk scanning, is there somewhere I can outsource this to? Any
> >students want to provide cheap labour etc.?

If your documents are in reasonable condition, you might be able to
stuff them into a sheet-feed scanner.
> Digitisation is yak-shaving. Put such silly ideas away.

Digitisation is good for things that are either very important (like
medical notes, contracts) or need to be kept for a long time (like
product warrantees). (Off-site backup is nice.)

It probably isn't worth the effort for other stuff unless you're
aiming to be really minimalist. Things like utility bills I just file
by month and shred after a year or so.


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