02C5A: Digital Filing Transition

Monday Pasta

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 1094

I still maintain a physical file for important documents but I've also used it to keep track of various bills and such. Following the classic business principle, my active records aimed to cover at least the last three years before disposing of stuff. That requires a fair amount of filing boxes to cover and at some time I know I weighed limiting my storage period to two years in order to minimize the need for more filing boxes and such. Other things have reduced the need for my filing box such as how many providers have shifted to paperless billing.

Today I finally acted on an idea that I've been pushing at work - digitizing files as opposed to worrying about long-term storage. I started with the utility bills that I typically leave at the foyer table by the door. You know how it is - we all have this sort of default dump space where we park things quickly but promise to get back to at some point. I was surprised to find that the bills that had stocked up by the door went as far back as 2020, which appears to be the last time I updated my filing.

Document scanning has really changed over the years. I remember how the first consumer scanners were essentially giant mice (the peripheral) that you had to manually drag across the document you wanted to scan, which could result in some uneven renders. Then we got printers coming with a built-in scanning function, which made the huge piece of equipment a bit more theoretically useful. And then I've gone through a weird progress of various scanning apps on my phone starting with Google PhotoScan, or things like CamScanner. 

But now the default camera in my older Samsung S21+ comes with a decent scanner that's faster than Google PhotoScan and less tedious than CamScanner. So I got through over two years of bills pretty quickly and then uploaded all the images to a new folder in my Google Drive. I'll try to make time to go over the rest of the older files so that I can scan them, upload them, and then shred/destroy the physical copies before disposal. It's oddly therapeutic in its own way. 

I won't entirely get rid of all of our physical files. Things like birth certificates or lease agreements will probably stay that way for a while. But this definitely helps with the more mundane stuff like past tax returns or old payslips. And thanks to the advances in technology for both document capture and cloud storage options, we have more interesting ways to keep stuff like this and always have access to them when needed.