You may have seen commercials for NeatReceipt products, promising to rid your life of paper receipts and documents. The commercials show that you can get rid of stacks and stacks of paper, organized safely on your computer. While the NeatReceipts scanner and software is great, it is only part of what you will need to go completely digital. This is especially true if the documents you are scanning are extremely important.
Sheet feeding scanner
The NeatReceipts scanner falls into this category. It’s probably one of the best options out there, especially if you want an easy package solution. You scan your receipts and other documents, then the NeatReceipts software will organize it, even converting the words to searchable text.
If you plan on going completely digital however, there may be solutions that are more powerful. For example, you can get a heavier duty scanner that includes a sheet feeder that accepts many sheets of paper. With these printers, you can use Evernote to organize and convert the words on the scanned documents to searchable text much like the NeatReceipts.
If you want to be able to go completely digital, you will need to get some sort of eReader. If you already have paper versions of books and magazines, you can donate or recycle any books and magazines once you download the digital versions. Books are easiest to read with E Ink readers such as the Kindle, while colorful magazines are best on a tablet.
Portable wand scanner
If you have magazines or books that are not available digitally (or you already have the paper version and don’t want to pay extra for the digital version), you will need an easy way to scan the pages you would like to save. While it’s possible to tear pages out and feed them through the sheet feeding scanner, it’s not very practical.
The easiest way to scan pages from a book or magazine is with a portable wand scanner. You can slide the scanner across the page without having to tear it out. Wand scanners with external or built-in storage and a small preview screen are easy to use without being tethered to a computer. It can even be used at a friend’s house in lieu of borrowing a photo or having a written recipe typed up and sent by email.
External hard drives and/or cloud storage
For important files, it’s best to have both cloud storage and multiple hard drives for backing up documents. If you have too much information to store on one drive, it’s good to have at least two drives and/or cloud storage for each group of important files for redundancy.
There is also software available that allows you to backup your local files automatically, such as Time Machine and Time Capsule for Mac, iDrive or Carbonite for both Windows or Mac, or a host of other auto-backup options. If all the documents fit on your computer, then you only need one other place to store your files.
For extremely important files, it’s important to have at least two external hard drives which are swapped for each backup, and at least one of them should be stored in a fireproof, waterproof safe. You may even want to wrap drives in three layers of static shielding before putting them in the safe in case of an EMP or electrical storm.
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