Author Topic: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?  (Read 6182 times)

Practical Magic

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Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« on: February 08, 2015, 10:00:41 AM »
I've ordered a Fujitsu ScanSnap to scan old documents and my question for anyone who's gone paperless is: Where did you store your PDFs? I'm reluctant to pay for a cloud service and then have the vulnerability of online storage, but I'd like the files to be more mobile than my computer hard drive.  Thumb drives seem like an easy and cheap solution, but now I hear they're being phased out.  ??

Any mustachian advice is welcome!  :)

ragnathor

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2015, 10:11:29 AM »
I have been paperless for some time now. There are a few free good cloud options including: Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox to name a few.

 I personally like Google Drive. I have 25gb free over my entire account. I use the Google Drive folder on my computer as the traditiona 'My Documents' folder so everything is very seamless. I have easy access from my phone and any browser. Additionally, with the Google Drive app on the phone you can take a picture of a document and have it immediately loaded as a PDF on Google Drive.

nereo

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2015, 10:15:57 AM »
I've been paperless for years.  I have two backup drives - one at work and one at home. So I'd need three things to fail to loose my records (plus the backups kept by my financial institutions, so really 4 things).
I do keep one binder-full of financial stuff that I print out at the end of each year (and then shred after 6 years).  It's worked very well.

AlwaysBeenASaver

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2015, 10:50:17 AM »
I'm not completely paperless, but moving more and more towards it as I convert accounts over to paperless. I store the files on my hard drive (mirrored for protection in case of failure), encrypted with a password. I back up the hard drive to 2 portable drives, one stored at home and one in a safety deposit box at the bank.

Practical Magic

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2015, 11:08:41 AM »
Good solutions, all. I have an old Mac cube and a nearly full Time Machine, but hopefully Theres enough room to store all the archival PDFs. I also use Google Drive for letters and spreadsheet storage, and am just a little leery about using it for all storage needs. Will consider the options! Great idea to keep a backup at the bank.

nanu

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2015, 11:53:38 AM »
I use Dropbox for all my documents (currently 95GB of free space - much more than I need), so I have access on my laptop, desktop, phone, and random devices if necessary (through the website). I also backup the Dropbox folder to an external HD once a week just in case.

Riff

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2015, 02:26:10 PM »
I've been scanning my documents for a few years now.  I've had excellent results using Evernote to keep everything organized in the cloud.  Since switching to this, I don't know what I would do without having everything at my fingertips at all times, especially with the mobile app.

My bookkeeper is in another state, so I shared access to a notebook on Evernote where I scan all of my receipts and bank statement & deposits to.  That way she can work on my stuff when she gets time, instead of when I remember to mail her a packet.

lise

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2015, 02:53:22 PM »
I use google drive.

Also question what you really need to scan.  You can end up with electronic clutter too if you are not careful.  For example, medical policies should be able to be available online with your health insurance company, same with most banking documents, etc.

cjottawa

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2015, 05:39:48 PM »
I suggest a cloud service that mirrors contents on your devices. (Dropbox would be an example).

If I may, I'll share with you some corporate/government information management terms that might help you manage your own documents.

Understand the difference between "transitory records, corporate memory, and reference material."

Transitory is stuff like 99% of your email that will be irrelevant in short order. Example: you email a follow-up document to the tax-man. Keep that only until you receive notification they have accepted your tax return. This is the "cover your ass" stuff that says you did something but becomes stale dated with time. Receipts for warranty purposes are another good example.

Corporate memory is stuff you should keep: tax returns, let's say. Even those become stale dated after a while. (what's the rule? 7 years of tax returns?) After the "retention period" elapses, you can dispose of them, unless there's some other reason you'd keep them longer.

Reference material: you are under no obligation to keep this stuff but everyone has a shelf full of it. Examples include encyclopedias, user manuals and the guide the tax man publishes on how to fill out your tax return. Key here: you were not the author, therefore, despite you keeping this for your own convenient reference, you are under no legal obligation to do so.

In my experience, you can usually get away with electronic copies of all of the above. I've had major chain stores accept digital receipts for returns and exchanges. (IKEA, for example) Things that require original signatures (diplomas, for example) can be scanned for ease of transmittal but you still need the original in a fireproof safe somewhere.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 05:43:56 PM by cjottawa »

ChaseJuggler

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2015, 06:13:47 PM »
Evernote is second to none for never misplacing a document again. Just make a note called "Taxes 2014" and attach all PDF's to it one at a time. I find it superior because you can add comments about your files, unlike dropbox/google docs. It's also accessible offline.

I store hundreds of PDF's on evernote for my lesson plans. Haven't lost one yet! (I use a Doxie for the scans)

http://www.evernote.com/l/ACBYSZbYusJG4bS7xeCDCh7iL0lGOit5hNI/

johnny847

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2015, 08:55:09 PM »
I'm kinda paranoid about security, so I store my PDFs in an encrypted Truecrypt container. This means I can't access things from the cloud per se (my desktop is set up as a SSH server, so I can SFTP into it from anywhere and download the container if I really need to).

I have a comprehensive backup plan which involves daily backups to my NAS, which has RAIDZ2, a software equivalent to RAID6 (which protects against two hard drive failures, and in of itself is not a backup.) I also mirror the files to my laptop using rsync scripts. I finally backup everything to Crashplan, a cloud based backup service, which encrypts everything using a passphrase that I specify. Everything is encrypted before it gets uploaded to Crashplan.
And for my most important files, I also back them up to a Raspberry Pi I have at my parents house.

tanhanivar

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2015, 09:43:36 PM »
For those going paperless, or at least digitally backing everything up, there are some phone apps which will let you create multi-page PDFs from phone photos and save them to Dropbox, or email them (possibly also fax, I think).

It's great for sending documents when someone asks for a scanned copy, and I PDF all my business receipts that way.

I use JotNot (Pro - more than worth the $2 or whatever it was).

choppingwood

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2015, 12:31:44 AM »
This thread is like the curly hair thread. I have curly hair, but I am not interested in spending very much time thinking about it.

I'm doing pretty well, but my approach is really minimalist, as it was with paper. I am obsessively organized with everything that involves taxes and that could be needed in an audit. I have current invoices, and one invoice before that. And everything else I let someone else keep a copy of.

I was audited one year. Every Tuesday morning for seven weeks, I was asked for more evidence of the tax loss I had claimed. Every Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning, I faxed them (because it was the faxing era) copies of my receipts and/or calculations. In the end, they wrote me to tell me that they thought I owed them $11 but it wasn't worth their while to collect it from me! I had receipts and calculations to prove that I didn't owe them $11, but I am glad they stopped there, because I didn't have any more records to send them after that.

Other than that, I keep it simple, because there are other things I really want to be doing.

eostache

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2015, 11:01:30 AM »
I don't have a huge amount of paperwork but I am working on making digital copies of most of it. Almost all of it is non-sensitive information. I made a folder in my Google Drive for File Box and I am saving it all in much that same way I organized my real file box.

I didn't know about the scan feature in the Drive app. I have been simply taking a picture with m phone of the documents and that seems to be sufficient to look at the pages. I arrange the documents roughly in sort of order before taking a photo of each. My phone automatically uploads the pictures to a couple different places: dropbox, Drive and Flickr. Flickr offers 1TB of free space so it's a good place to stash a backup of all pictures.

James

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2015, 11:09:03 AM »
I am currently wanting to switch to Evernote, my wife uses it and loves it. My question is whether anyone has a favorite system for scanning into evernote. I can use the camera on my phone, but would be nice to have a simple scanning solution for when I have a few stacks of paperwork to input.


I am working toward going paperless asap, but not there yet.

ScroogeMcDutch

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2015, 11:24:51 AM »
The Fujitsu Scansnap is the best scanner I know for going paperless. It can also scan directly to Evernote with some editions I believe.

I have tried Evernote for document storage, but didn't like it enough and I didn't like having all my financial etc records on American servers (am a European)

In the end I decided for a private cloud on a Synology NAS, which mirrors on 2 computers and (still need to configure it but the intent is there) to an offsite NAS. Advantage is ~1TB of storage if needed, and that it's all on proprietary hardware. Disadvantage is having to worry a bit about document loss and failure and cannot access it easily on my phone.

I do intend to also make quarterly snapshots with encrypted zipfiles to store on a lowcost 3rd party server like Amazon Glacier or something or other.

Practical Magic

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Re: Anyone Have Success with Going Paperless?
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2015, 09:05:17 PM »
OP here. Just wanted to say I've been using the Scansnap this week and love it! It was easy to set up and use, it's very fast. I'm saving the PDFs to a thumb drive and also backing them up online. It is highly satisfying to get rid of mountains of paper! :-D