Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sequences Require Hours in the Filing Cabinet

I decided to make a copy of my password notebook to put into a safe. Because my printer is rigged by the manufacturer to make copies with fully dark print, I decided to scan the pages of the address book into the computer and then print them out with draft print, thus saving a few cents' worth of inkjet cartridge. Beginning the scanning, I realized that each page would be named and saved as a separate file. I decided I would rather have all the pages in one big pdf file, so they could all be printed at once. I thought this would be a standard procedure, but when I started to do it, there was no way to do it! The free pdf readers will not do it.

I searched online under "how to scan a document" and then "how to digitize your files." I found some information, but not what I wanted. I tried various searches using the word "combine." I found a free software program called Scan2PDF. I tried it; but the error messages, which kept coming up, were in German, and the program wasn't doing what I wanted and was crashing on me.

My husband suggested checking Lifehacker. On Lifehacker, I fund several free software downloads for PDF file merging. The comments sections on the posts were, of course, helpful. I wanted to use PDFill because it allows you to rotate pages within a file, but I had problems with it. I ended up with PDFMerge. It worked great, and I ended up with my password book all in one pdf file! I got it all archived and safe.

This all took about 5 hours. Much of that time was taken by scanning and multitasking. I found that a slower scan produced a clearer image, so I used the slow scan and multitasked during the scanning.

Once the sequence for getting the password book archived had been completed and while I was performing the routine to scan and save each address book page, I decided to complete some paper document filing. When I have a paper document to file, sometimes I put it into a "to be filed" file at my desk rather than filing it right away. This "to be filed" file fills up every couple of months and I have to file the papers in it.

The sequence for filing involves not only filing the new statements etc, but also finding old files in the paper folders and purging them...and shredding them. For financial accounts, I like to save a paper copy of the full year's activity. This is usually the December statement. I have stopped paper statements on some of our accounts but not all. So, I have to purge some files when I add new ones. Sometimes it's as simple as shredding the April statement and filing the May statement. But sometimes I find a big fat wad of old statements. To purge them carefully, I have to wade through them to be sure I don't throw away anything important.

This time, I decided to add some hanging folders in one of the file drawers, because half of the files in the drawer were in hanging folders and the others were in the front of the drawer without hanging folders. Every time I have needed to access a file in this drawer, particularly among the folders that weren't hanging, I had difficulty and broken fingernails. Putting the files into the hanging folders seemed to be neater and to make it easier to manipulate the files in the drawer.

But adding all those hanging folders made the drawer tighter. I had to find something to purge, and sure enough, I found an old file of all my daughter's checking and credit card statements for the last 6 years. Bingo! I took these out, among others and cleaned out the drawer considerably.

Now I have about 6 inches of papers to shred, 8 pages at a time.

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