Monday, March 18, 2013

Simplify - Plan and Scan

Simplifying is well underway.  On Saturday we took a huge step and sold a TON of stuff at a multi-family yard sale.  Any blogger worth her salt would've taken photos of the stockpile or the car packed up like a giant Jenga tower but I was too hot, sweaty and frankly over it.  "Surry!"

We've done mild purges at other yard sales but this one had the distinction of including most of my husband's tools and "man things".  It was hard to watch.  Many of the items were purchased while we restored and renovated "the beast" in Wilmington.  Strangely, even I felt some emotional attachment to a few of items.. the knee pads I wore for a year while hand refinishing the floors, my level, sanding blocks that smoothed my old kitchen cabinets and the wedgy-thing I used to lift at least 1000 carpet nails.  All of them went for next to nothing but I was happy to see them find new life.

In addition to the Vitamix that must be mentioned in every post we have another new addition to the family.  Meet my Fujitsu ScanSnap!  "Fuji" for short.

Fuji McHugh
The Scan Snap (for Mac) is helping me meet my simplification goals by scanning everything in my 15 boxes of files.  We are going totally digital and the boxes we've toted for 12 years are slowly starting to dwindle. The cost of this scanner is ridiculous (much like the Vitamix) but here's why it's awesome:

1.  It's small, sleek and darned-near stylish.  It doesn't bug me that it's on the desk.
2.  It's lightning fast.  I scanned a 10 page magazine article, both sides simultaneously in under 10 seconds.
3.  It never ever jams or takes two pieces at a time.  I've scanned everything from business cards to legal size paper.
4.  The software is perfect.  I scan something and a little box comes up and asks me where to put it on my iMac. Photo? Documents? Email it? Share it?  Zero problems with it so far.

Of course, going digital requires finally getting serious about backing up my computer and making our information safe and secure.  I'd like to admit right now that due to not backing up, I've lost my iTunes THREE times in the last 10 years.  No way to replace the music... just gone. Hundreds and hundreds of dollars completely down the drain and completely my fault.  No more!  I've done the following:

1.  Signed up for Life Lock to protect our identification and our credit reports.
2.  Bought a large external hard-drive to run Mac's "Time Machine" program continually.  My computer is continually backing up here at the house.  I chose a My Passport for Mac at 1 TB of storage.  More than I need but who cares?
3.  After MUCH deliberation and research galore, I chose Crash Plan for online backup of our computer.  This was a long process and I won't bore you with the whole dilemma but I read more techno-nerd articles than you can imagine.  The biggest complaint about online backup is that it slows the computer down or doesn't work quite right with Mac.  Crash Plan runs perfectly in the background and hasn't slowed my computer a bit.  The initial backup to their site took about 15 days but now it backs up every hour by searching for changes I've made and updating only those items.  Meaning, if I ever crash our information is current to the moment and I never have to "remember" to back up.  Because I will never remember to back up.  Best to know who you are, admit it, and find services that compliment your weaknesses.  There is always someone who 'does that'.  Find them.

Finally, before I signed up I called to test their customer service and was helped in an instant by someone who spoke perfect English.  This is the last place you want to mess with a company that has poor customer service.

So far, I highly recommend going digital with the papers of your life.  I also highly recommend selling or donating everything you haven't touched in the last 6 months - except your Christmas tree :)

There is a sense of freedom and calmness that washes over me when I slide a closet door to find it completely empty or open the drawer of a barren dresser.  We're cutting ties to all that holds us down and back... one little string at a time!    

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