Scan Baby Scan!

Scan it or take a picture of it.

I was having a Facebook conversation about minimalism with a fellow TCK who now resides in the US. She asked me what I did with photos, my kids’ school work, and other such items. My response was simple: “Scan Baby Scan!” But this requires more than just a pithy response now, doesn’t it?

The Minimalists inspired much of this with their idea of a scanning party. But this looks different for all people, so here is how mine went.

I started out with the piles and piles of thousands of photos. A good scanner is pivotal in these cases, as throwing these in manually is a pain. Here you have two options:

  1. There are businesses you can find on the internet who will do it all for you. All you need to do is send them all your pics in a box, and they will scan these at your desired resolution and ship them back to you on a USB stick or DVD-Rom (people apparently still use these archaic plastic circles).
  2. Buy or borrow a scanner with a feeder. Not very expensive anymore, and even cheaper if you have a friend who is willing to loan you theirs (in return, you can offer them drinks somewhere, which is a win-win-win situation as you can thank them by taking them out, and you can spend quality time with a friend which is what keeps us alive anyways, right?).

So in my case, I had a pretty good scanner with an ADF. I discarded all the bad pictures (I still had some that prominently featured my thumb from way back when). Then I discarded duplicates, etc. What was left I scanned. I did keep about 20 originals; pics of my parents in black and white, etc.

Then I got into my daughters’ student work. This went easier than I thought. Not only did I scan these, but I also uploaded them to their personal Google Drives, while also maintaining a copy on my external hard drive. Remember, redundancy is wisdom.

Finally, I got to legal documents and old statements. Everything. Got. Scanned. Lovely stuff, honestly. Of course, I kept physical copies of the most important things, such as birth certificates, legal documents, and some tax statements (although tax statements can be reprinted, thus I have no clue as to why I am still holding on to these).

I then built a fire inside one of those nifty IKEA metal trash cans in my lanai (screened-in Florida back porch) and started tossing everything in. For an entire weekend. The fire never went out. By the end of it all, I had scanned and burned thousands of photos, homework assignments, and electric bills (among other documents).

I cannot begin to tell you how liberating the entire experience was. I felt lighter and I looked at photos I had forgotten I even had. My daughter later changed our AppleTV screensaver to about 200 of these photos, and now we see them cycling on our TV, thus savoring them more than we ever had when they were sitting in a box in physical form.

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