Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Scanning and Shredding My Way To A Paperless Home Office

westchester county ny shred mobile

During my week off between jobs I took the plunge to a paperless home office.

After reading about Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 and getting rave reviews from my friend Dan, I ordered one from Amazon.com. This machine can do duplex, color, and OCR into a PDF. For ~$450 it comes with Adobe Acrobat Standard which is a $252 by itself.

Now it's time to scan and shred.

The scanning was amazingly simple to do with the software included with the ScanSnap. First go around I set up the scanner to OCR while it was scanning. With my old laptop this was really slow, but not to worry the software has a background OCR process. Just turn-off the immediate OCR option and while the computer is idle your files will be OCR'd. I burned through thousands of pages in a few days and eliminated four storage boxes of records.

I started out with a Staples 8 sheet cross cut shredder, but with this amount of paper I was not 100% sure it would make it through. It overheated twice and I was just getting started. Once the paper is confetti it went into my "kind-to-the-earth," partially recycled, Seventh Generation Kitchen Trash Bags. This wasn't efficient, as I could scan faster than my shredder could consume the discarded paper. The other downside is the paper dust; for some reason the cross cut shredder gives off a fine white dust which then needs to be cleaned up.

Fast forward - I remembered reading about Westchester County having a mobile shred truck. A little searching online and I found a shredding day this past Saturday. The county employees were friendly and helpful; my waiting in-line plus shredding took less than 15 minutes. I didn't have to throw out the confetti and my shredder didn't melt down.

4 boxes shredded.