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Best tools for physical archiving.

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  • Best tools for physical archiving.

    I am just starting to implement GTD and as a result I am currently going through heaps of back-logged stuff. I have just come across a heap of folders full of reference material for work that are definitely worth keeping but don't fit into my filing cabinet.

    They are currently in a spiral bound plastic leaf folder but to me this seems like a clunky way of keeping them and I don't really have much storage space as I am a student working from a VERY small bedroom!

    I guess if I took the papers out of the folder they would fit into the filing cabinet okay, but eventually I am going to have too much stuff to fit in there... What are some of your preferred methods of dealing with all this type of stuff?

  • #2
    I guess your choices are to a) throw it out, or b) keep it. If you don't have space, you might have to make some tough choices. If you decide to keep it, compacting somehow would make sense. Are the notebooks full of writing? If there are wasted pages, you could rip/cut them out, along with the plastic dividers. Maybe use stickies to mark the sections.

    For filing you could buy inexpensive banker's boxes - the stackable variety so that you can use a minimal amount of space.

    I guess you could pay to get them digitized - that would solve all your problems, but I don't know who does this, or the cost...


    • #3
      I second the banker's box recommendation. I've found the most efficient (and cheapest) way to archive paper material is in labelled manilla folders in banker's boxes.

      (You might also consider plastic file boxes -- a little more expensive.)

      But since space is at a premium for you, I would recommend digitizing your stuff. Loose leaf papers can be scanned in bulk if you have a scanner with a feeder. I myself use a digital camera -- a surprisingly fast way to capture stuff -- if a little bit hard on your back.
      Last edited by madalu; 05-19-2007, 06:38 AM.


      • #4
        I do really need to keep them because at some stage I will need to review it all. I can get hold of some plastic file boxes for free and I did consider that but wanted to get some confirmation first. The scanning option is a great suggestion for saving space, I had never thought of that, however without access to a feeding scanner could take me a hell of a long time, and I think that would put me off the archiving process.

        Another rather dumb question... If I were to use the plastic file boxes, how exactly do they work? I have never used nor seen them before, but when I started GTD I noticed my Family have a heap of them sitting unused in their study and I immediately thought of possible applications!

        So far I have found that you come across some tools or methods that just don't click with you and you need to explore a lot of options at times before you come across a favourite. So if anyone's got other methods let me know, otherwise I will probably use the plastic file boxes once I know what to do with them!


        • #5
          okay to be a pack rat...

          about courses and credentials. About 15 years after completing some courses, I had to provide copies of the syllabi, the names and editions of books used, and the names and credentials of the professors. I even had to get the CVs of professors who had passed away, so in one case I had to track down where the fellow had most recently taught before he passed away and in another I had to contact his surviving spouse. This was before the internet. I had to send in about a 25" stack of documents proving I had taken the adequate courses. This was so that I could be admitted to an exam. [I had saved all this only because I had overheard a conversation on which someone had taken his course in Canada and did not save the materials and neve couyld get fully credentialed in the US. So, I would compact these items and label carefully with the year, the course number, the institution, dept, etc. If you have the unviersity's course bulletin that describes the course sequences that can be useful too because a 101 at one school may hace a pre-requiste that makes it comparable to a higher level course elsewhere. Also, keep any papers you ahve written or lab write ups you have made. Most covers and dividers are too cumbersome, so I would replace with string unless you will need to dip into the material. An average class will result in 2-4" of paper that you should keep for a while. As for text books, photocopy the pages that have the ISBN# and edition, and the table of contents and put this with the course material. Keeping the text books are a real judgement call. I feel that one you have used a text book you can find information in it so readily so you might keep it as a reference while you are still studying or working in that area but eventually about 20% of the information will be superceded, .more in areas like biology and less in math and languages. The older text books are often written and organized better, but may be incomplete.


          • #6
            So just for clarity, in my case I would take all the sheets out of the plastic folder, bind them in some way and put them straight into the plastic files?

            I like the idea about copying the inside pages of text books, at the moment I still have a lot of use for them but I guess there are going to be times when you might need to cull. It would also work for keeping on track of books loaned out from the library which would really help me out. Thanks for the tips!


            • #7
              If you didn't have access to the plastic boxes, I was going to recommend using the boxes that reams of paper come in. They should be FREE from any place that uses large amounts of paper: Kinkos, the University itself, large companies.


              • #8

                I have paperport software and a 50 page loading scanner. I just pop different categories of projects into the scanner. Everything gets nicely organized as PDFs in the Paperport Software.


                • #9
                  Yes, unfortunately I don't have anything quite as magnificent as that, but my parents have just bought a feeding scanner with Paperport, so I might have to pay them some loving visits


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Shiny View Post
                    ...t, but my parents have just bought a feeding scanner with Paperport, so I might have to pay them some loving visits
                    This price sounds quite reasonable.

                    Maybe in their study or garage is some room for long term storage of boxes.