Should I go paperless?
I have countless pieces of paper in my flat. Most of them …
- take up valuable physical space
- take up valuable mental space (keeping track of them; seeing them)
- I’m only vaguely aware of
- I don’t know the location of (even if I know they’re there somewhere)
- are probably not needed, but kept “just in case”
- are useless even if needed, because I can’t find them at the time
- will get lost at some point in the future
- I don’t need in physical form
I hope to solve all of these by scanning, shredding, then disposing of them. I’m scanning them with Google Drive, then shredding them.
What are the downsides of this? I lose a few things …
- Legal weight. My tenancy agreement, say. This only applies to ~1% of my documents. If in doubt, I’ll keep the physical copy.
- Fidelity. Particularly when scanned with a phone. This is important for old drawings, paintings, etc. Keep the great ones; otherwise, grin and bear it.
- Sentiment. I have many old birthday cards which I’m attached to. Grimace, scan, shred. They gotta go.
- Independence. By putting everything on the cloud, I become dependent on that service. I chose Google Drive because I’m already (scarily) dependent on Google services (putting all my eggs in one basket), Google is unlikely to be shut down, and their services are free (I won’t accidentally delete everything by missing a direct debit). I must remind myself that I’m more likely to lose things in my flat than I am likely to lose them on my Google account.
- Privacy. Giving everything to Google is less private than holding it in my flat. In short, I don’t care very much about that. The things which aren’t private (e.g. drawings), I might later put in a GitHub repo.
I think these are prices worth paying. I’m starting today. When I’m done (maybe in a few weeks), I’ll upload a photo of the remaining docs. I expect it to be a single small A4 document holder.