How Effective is Scanning When Organizing an Office?

Q: I receive your newsletter each week and always appreciate your organizing advice. I have a question with regard to organizing using those scanner things I'm now seeing everywhere (i.e. "Neat Desk" and the like). Have you seen examples of where these have actually assisted people in getting organized? I love the idea of less paper but is an electronic copy of an important document really the same thing? I'm tempted to buy one but I wonder if my giant "to be filed" pile would just turn into a giant "to be scanned" pile. - Alison K.  

how effective is scanning when organizing a home office?
how effective is scanning when organizing a home office?

A: It's a great question.  I have seen scanners such as ScanSnap work quite well, but the scanner is only as good as the human being that is operating it.  I can think of two specific clients who rely on them heavily, and they both have assistants who manually scan their "to scan" pile.  As long as you have a regularly scheduled system in place, or a person to whom you can delegate it to, it could work wonders!  As for deciding on wether or not a digital doc is equal to a paper copy, it depends on how out-of-sight-out-of-mind you are and how organized your electronic files are.  Like paper files, the digital doc is only good if you can locate it!

What has your experience with scanning been so far?  Do you have a scanner that you absolutely love?  If you have a scanner, how often do you use it?  What do you scan and what do you choose not to scan?  Please share in comments!

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.