Week 2: Scanning Like Mad

It’s Week 2 of Org Junkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing. This week my goal was to tackle the “memories” box from my mom’s sister (photos, newspaper clippings, graduation invitations, etc) as well as my mom’s childhood photo album.

Why I Scan

I’ve always had an interest in genealogy and after getting a ridiculously fast scanner (30 pages per minute in high resolution color), I’ve become the photo collector for my family. Last year at our extended family’s annual Easter get-together I asked them all to bring all their pre-digital camera photos and in one week I scanned over 2,400 photos. Having photos and clippings from each person’s life makes the family tree much more interesting! Here are a couple of photos from my mom’s album that I scanned this week:

Photos from mom's album

This week I was able to scan everything I planned plus a book of family recipes and some of my own memorabilia. Over the years I’ve found that a photo or digital copy of a lot of things that I want to remember is just as good, if not better, than keeping the original. Sometimes the originals clutter our apartment and make daily living more stressful. We feel surrounded by things and don’t enjoy them when they are lost among the clutter. For me, having a well organized digital library of these items allows me to enjoy the memory when I want to see it but at the same time I feel free of “stuff.” I will be returning the box of scanned photos and documents to their owners, and I now have three completely empty magazine file boxes on my desk. All together I scanned about 1,000 documents and photos.

Scanned pile

Empty bins



You Can Go Digital Too!

If you decide to try this out, you can start with any point-and-shoot digital camera (which you probably already have) or an inexpensive scanner. Cameras are great for items like childhood trophies and trinkets. To use your camera for papers, check the settings for a “Document” mode. If you get really serious about scanning, I highly recommend Fujitsu’s sheet-fed scanners (I have the fi-6130 model). They are a big investment but save so much time for high volume scanning. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have a good backup system in place.

One Big, Fat Fail This Week

I usually unplug everything when I’m finished with it because I don’t want to waste any electricity (or money) when I’m not using the item. Since I was planning to do some more scanning, I decided to leave the scanner power cord plugged in and turn off the power strip. Terrible idea. As I closed the door on my desk, the cord got caught in a metal hinge and was almost completely severed. Electricity was sparking out of it and it was quite scary. Now I have to buy a replacement adapter and my surge protector did not do it’s job, because my beautiful Apple Cinema Display won’t turn on. I’m usually so careful with taking care of the items we buy, and I hate it when I do something stupid like that. Wish me luck that the display can be repaired and isn’t completely ruined!