I’ve finally bitten the bullet and gone paperless. I hardly ever look at any of the junk I accumulate in my filing cabinet anyway so it’s all gone in the bin or the shredder. Everything I need (except a few things which will be scanned) is now in digital format. So why did I keep all this stuff anyway?
- I didn’t review what I kept on a regular basis to see if it was worth holding onto
- For absurd sentimental reasons e.g. offprints of papers I’d written (which are digitally preserved anyway)
- Some items I had only on paper – e.g. papers people had given me, reports I’d picked up etc
- Until I got an iPad I felt it was easier to read long documents on paper than on the screen
To preserve the near empty state of my filing cabinet I have a cunning plan:
- Ask people to send me digitally anything they hand me on paper to which I think I might wish to refer again
- Instead of printing out articles read them on the iPad and bookmark them with Delicious
- Scan in anything worth keeping which is not already digital and ditch the original
I have a slight confession to make at this point. I’m not really paperless yet – I still have bookshelves. This is mainly because books look nice and I like to be surrounded by them not because I refer to them very often. Ditching my books, as recommended by Alexander Halavais, is a step too far for me at this point. But I’m thinking about it.